Serving Decarcerated Populations

A guest post by Beverly Schwartzberg, Library Programs Consultant, California State Library

One of our most popular continuing education offerings in the past year was the webinar on Services to Decarcerated Populations, now available on CALL Academy. This training presents a great toolkit that can help libraries discover best practices for serving those transitioning from incarceration.

Two related items also deserve your attention.

Many decarcerated individuals face roadblocks due to their previous criminal history, but don’t know about the possibility of expungement–the process by which a record of criminal conviction is destroyed or sealed from state or federal record. Training partner WebJunction recently featured a brief instructional clip and resources from a public library in Maryland. There, staff responded to challenges faced by patrons using workforce development services and set up an expungement clinic, pairing patrons with a pro bono attorney who could assist with the process.

Decarcerated individuals may not know about their voting rights, either. Our friends at California Humanities invite you to Voting Rights for Incarcerated Californians, a free online program on Wed. 7/20 at 11 a.m., exploring the past, present and future of elections and civic life within California’s prison system. In November 2020, California voted to refranchise 50,000 parolees under Prop 17. This panel will discuss: What electoral powers are available within prisons today? How has this question been discussed throughout state history? What is the experience of inmates, and what’s ahead for California?