Letter to Editor - December 2000

[Editor’s Note: Previously published in The Prison Mirror, October 2001.]

Before I start, I want to say that the library and library staff at the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Stillwater are excellent.

Now, here’s my gripe: There are dozens of books on every culture, just as there should be because of our population.

I’m mentally impaired and not scared to admit it. So is 16% or more of this prison’s population. We’re talking more than 200 inmates.

I tried to find some informative books on mental illness (MI) in the prison library, but was disappointed. There are books on sports, artwork, and all kinds of other subjects, but none on the mentally ill. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was one of the MI novels I found. Why aren’t there any autobiographies that deal with this subject? Abe Lincoln wasn’t just a president, but a mentally ill person. Can the library please accommodate the 200-plus mentally ill inmates here?

I’m not even going to bother with an ADA grievance. I’m about public awareness. I want this in the [prison] paper.

I want to know why the [prison] paper doesn’t accommodate the huge number of MI inmates by printing MI stuff.  MI affects a mixture of cultures and is a culture of its own. Please be considerate, giving respectful accommodation to this ignored culture. I’ll volunteer to be an inmate rep on MI issues.

Chris Krych

Stillwater, MN