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

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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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