|Beacon Correctional Facility|
|Beacon Correctional Facility is located about 60 miles north of New York City, and houses approximately 250 women in a minimum security environment. The inmate population is approximately 57% African-American, 26% Hispanic and 15% white. Beacon offers vocational programs in custodial maintenance and horticulture.
Beacon has a small, recently refurbished library, with a well-trained and committed inmate library staff. The administration at Beacon values the library and educational programs. With the assistance of the Counselor for Transitional Services, a pre-release guidance program, inmates have formed academic study groups. Open to inmates who have completed high school or hold a GED diploma, the study groups focus on skills needed to pass college entry exams or on course materials for college credit by examination. PREP provided textbooks for college level courses in sociology, counseling, astronomy, comparative religions, and algebra.
The Beacon library is developing a “Mom’s Corner” which will include books for mothers to read to their children when the children come to visit. Many inmates have limited reading skills but are embarrassed to be seen reading at a beginner's level; the “Mom’s Corner” provides a way for these inmates to read easy books without losing face, as they practice to read to their children.
Inmates at Beacon request books about horticulture and agriculture, as well as books about parenting, family ties, budgeting, job skills. “New Reader” books for adults and practice books for spelling, grammar, vocabulary and easy math are especially in demand.
In summer 2002, PREP provided a set of the World Book encyclopedia, 2000 edition, to Beacon to replace the library’s 20-year old set with missing volumes. In addition, since first visiting Beacon in June 2002, PREP provided approximately 300 volumes of general interest and academic textbooks to Beacon.