Women’s Discussion Group Student Club donates books to Women’s Prison Book Project

Club President Orion Barber, VP Dawn Shefler

Club President Orion Barber, VP Dawn Shefler

In celebration of literacy and supporting women’s issues, SUNY Broome’s Women’s Discussion Group, the sole student group focusing on women’s issues, donated 64 books to the Women’s Prison Book Project on May 18, 2018.

Faculty Adviser, Professor I.J. Byrnes of the Philosophy Program, noted that the project was inspired by reading Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman, a nonfiction memoir by the author who spent a year in prison on drug charges.

Club President Orion Barber, VP Dawn Shefler, VP Marly Cherilus and Faculty Adviser Professor I.J. Byrnes decided to support this literary and rehabilitative project in light of the skyrocketing increase of the number of women behind bars since the 1980s, the problems faced by the children of single women in jail, and the correlation of imprisonment with mental health and addiction issues among women inmates.

Chapter President Barber said, “Ensuring continued literacy for the incarcerated is a vital issue of equity in their rehabilitation and preparation to re-enter society.”

VP Shefler noted, “Books are a wonderful way to explore one’s interests and values. Reading can help a person envision multiple versions of the future and figure out which one is the right path to follow. I can think of few populations so in need of the opportunity for personal discovery as the prison population, so I am pleased to assist in providing them a catalyst.”

VP Cherilus commented, “I am so elated to be apart of the Women’s Prison book Project. I believe that literacy opens doors to many different portals of knowledge.”

The SUNY Broome Women’s Discussion Group would like to acknowledge and thank the book donors involved in this project:

Professor I.J. Byrnes

President Orion Barber

VP Dawn Shefler

Nikkie Shefler

The SUNY Broome Women’s Discussion Group would also like to thank the following campus  and community members for their help and support with this project:

Talia Horowitz

Sandy Springstead

Cheryl Sullivan

Dean and Associate VP Michael Kinney

Ryan Dempsey

David Capodaglia