Currently, the prison library sector has no existing efforts to encourage and facilitate outcome measurement, which is why the Institutional Library Division of the Colorado State Library undertook the PRISM Planning Project. The one-year planning project was funded by IMLS’s Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian grant program and began in September 2018 with the objective of addressing a unique national challenge: determine how best to asses prison library contributions to offenders’ development of pro-social behaviors and information literacy and learning skills that help them stay occupied productively and out of trouble while incarcerated and maximize their chances of successful re-entry into the community.
The PRISM Planning Project developed a viable research design and makes planning and design documents, data collection instruments, and a review of the literature available to researchers that wish to study the question of prison library impact. Because U.S. incarceration and recidivism rates are so high and since there is promising evidence that prison libraries may play a significant role in promoting pro-social behaviors that contribute to successful re-entry and reduced recidivism, it is time for a large-scale study to assess these potential contributions. Because Colorado champions offender rehabilitation over punishment, it is an excellent state to model a first-of-its-kind study that can be replicated in other states throughout the nation.
- Grant proposal narrative_June 2018 (PDF)
- Planning project change request – approved_May 2019 (PDF)
- Survey_July 2020 (PDF)
- Research design_August 2020 (PDF)
- IRB exempt determination_September 2020 (PDF)
- Independent evaluation_September 2020 (PDF)
- Prison libraries literature review_September 2020 (PDF)
- Project summary_October 2020 (PDF)
For more information, email Institutional Library Development