In 2012, BRAID was formed with the express intent of expanding book-donation services to prison libraries and detention facilities that house Native American juveniles around the country. Although it is difficult to quantify, the need for educational material in juvenile detention facilities is vast, according to the Indian Law & Order Commission’s report A Roadmap for Making Native America Safer, which was presented to Congress last November. Click here to learn more about the event. Due to the complexities of tribal, federal, and state jurisdiction, some American Indian juveniles are housed in federal facilities intended for adults for which there are few age- and culture-appropriate reading materials (159). The Roadmap details not only the unavailability of reliable statistics regarding the incarceration of Native youth, but also the lack of educational services available to tribal juveniles detained in BIA-operated facilities (164–167). It cites the Ute Tribe’s director of social services, who says: “I asked about education in our juvenile facility there [a regional Federal facility in Towaoc, Colorado]. . . . There is no program. We do not have an educational program. . . . So we house them [the juveniles], they just sit there” (167).

A thorough Internet search undertaken by the Publications Manager and the Center librarian have uncovered no prison book-donation programs dedicated to American Indian juveniles in detention. Upon outreach to prison librarians and liaisons for federal juvenile institutions, we have encountered much enthusiasm and an expression of great need. As one example, Dave Williams, the Assistant Director of Hualapai Juvenile Detention and Rehabilitation Center in Peach Springs, AZ, stated in an email: “The BIA does not provide Educational funding to us. We manage to run a educational program though at times we have to be inspirational to fund it. Every little bit helps.” We have received numerous handwritten letters of thanks from prisoners around the country and hope to expand the program to reach every detention facility in the country that houses American Indians.



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