How your old books are bringing new hope to women in prison

Volunteers prepare book bundles for shipping to individual inmates, per prison regulations. Postage is the organization's largest expense. (Patty Wetli / DNAinfo)

RAVENSWOOD — The library at the fictional Litchfield Penitentiary is so integral to the Netflix prison dramedy “Orange Is the New Black” — itself based on a prison memoir — that there are websites devoted to tracking the books the characters read and reference on the series.

That’s Hollywood.

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The reality is that prison libraries tend to be poorly stocked, and inmates’ access can be limited to as little as a half-hour a month, according to Vicki White, president of the volunteer-run Chicago Books To Women In Prison.

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