The Cook County Jail estimates that 65% of inmates are functionally illiterate, but a new a program aims to change that.
For years Sheriff Tom Dart has been trying to come up with solutions to ease overcrowding and lower the recidivism rate at the jail. He thinks providing a reading program and a larger educational approach will help.
For the first time the jail will have a library program with rows of books available for inmates to check out.
In the past, prisoners interested in reading had to rely on gifts of books from employees or families. The jail’s director of inmate services thinks this program can make a difference.
The jail is also adding educational programing and removing tabloid talk shows from its televisions.
Sheriff Dart has partnered with Jail Education Solutions to develop interactive educational and self-help programing.
The jail plans to roll out that portion of the program in the coming weeks.