Freedom Libraries Opened in Otisville Correctional Facility

Share This Post

National Non-Profit Freedom Reads Returns to Otisville Correctional Facility, Announces Opening of 200th Freedom Library Nationwide

The national non-profit Freedom Reads announced today the opening of an additional 13 Freedom Libraries at Otisville Correctional Facility in southeastern New York state. Freedom Reads previously opened three Freedom Libraries in August 2022. These additional 13 libraries mean that individuals in every cellblock at Otisville, as well as the staff, now have access to a Freedom Library. The opening yesterday featured a live performance of The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, adapted and developed by our partner Literature to Life from Junot Diaz's award-winning novel.

These libraries mark an ongoing partnership with the New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (NY DOCCS), which have welcomed Freedom Libraries in several facilities statewide, including the Mid-State, Albion, Woodbourne, and Groveland Correctional Facilities. As part of these openings, Freedom Reads celebrates the opening of its 200th Freedom Library nationwide. 

The Freedom Libraries, the brainchild of 2021 MacArthur Fellow and Yale Law School graduate Reginald Dwayne Betts, who was sentenced to nine years in prison at age 16, are spaces in prisons to encourage the full realization of self. The libraries are handcrafted out of wood and curved to contrast the straight lines and bars of prisons as well as to evoke Martin Luther King Jr.’s line about the “arc of the universe” bending “toward justice.” Centering beauty and dignity, the Freedom Libraries create a space in prisons that encourages community and the exploration of new possibilities.  

Betts’ nonprofit is a first-of-its-kind organization that empowers people through literature to imagine new possibilities for their lives. Books in the Freedom Library have been carefully curated through consultations with thousands of poets, novelists, philosophers, teachers, friends, and voracious readers, resulting in a collection of books that are not only beloved but indispensable. The libraries include contemporary poets, novelists, and essayists alongside classic works from Homer’s The Odyssey to the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass that remind us that the book has long been a freedom project. 

“We are grateful to the New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision for their continued support of Freedom Reads and our mission to inspire those incarcerated to imagine new possibilities for their lives,” said Reginald Dwayne Betts, Founder and CEO of Freedom Reads. “The 200th Freedom Library is a testament to the vital partnerships we have forged with state corrections departments around the country. It is fitting that we mark this milestone with NY DOCCS as they have been indispensable in our endeavor to ensure incarcerated New Yorkers have dedicated spaces for the type of creativity, community, and hope that we believe can transform lives. And thanks to the commitment of Freedom Reads' supporters to this significant investment in the lives of incarcerated people, the Freedom Libraries, each handcrafted with natural woods and holding a curated collection of 500 brand-new books, come at no cost to the prisons where we open them.”

New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Acting Commissioner Daniel F. Martuscello III said, “The Department is proud to help mark the opening of the 200th Freedom Library with the latest installation at Otisville Correctional Facility. The ability for staff and incarcerated individuals to easily access a wide range of literature within the facility is priceless. I thank Freedom Reads and Reginald Dwayne Betts for their partnership and look forward to continuing this meaningful work together.”

About Freedom Reads:

Founded by Reginald Dwayne Betts, who knows firsthand the dispiriting forces of prison, Freedom Reads works to empower people through literature to confront what prison does to the spirit. Supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and inspired by the recognition that freedom begins with a book, Freedom Reads supports the efforts of people in prison to transform their lives through increased access to books and writers. For more information about Freedom Reads and the Freedom Libraries project, please visit


For more information, please contact Megan Stencel at or (703)-490-8845.

Contact Information:
Megan Stencel
Account Executive

Original Source: Freedom Libraries Opened in Otisville Correctional Facility

Related Posts

VIP Minds CEO and Visionary Nora Abou Chakra Launches ‘Power Hearts,’ a Transformative Initiative Driving Social Change

CEOs revolutionizing philanthropy through inspiring charitable actions

Today marks the launch of "Power Hearts," an innovative initiative led by businesswoman and visionary Nora Abou Chakra. With each endeavor, Power Hearts embarks on a different mission, empowering CEOs to take direct action and make a tangible impact. Through immersive experiences and hands-on involvement, Power Hearts addresses pressing societal issues, fostering empathy and inspiring CEOs to become advocates for change within their organizations and communities.

Nora Abou Chakra, a respected entrepreneur known for her philanthropic endeavors, has once again demonstrated her commitment to driving social change with the launch of Power Hearts. Under this empowering initiative, CEOs from diverse industries come together to tackle pressing issues and create transformative solutions.

An example of these missions is hunger. Power Hearts combats hunger and alleviate the suffering of those affected by it. CEOs gather in a large-scale communal kitchen, where they actively participate in purchasing groceries and cooking meals for those in need.

The immersive experience provided by Power Hearts goes beyond the kitchen. CEOs physically hit the streets, personally distributing the freshly prepared meals to individuals experiencing hunger. This direct interaction with those in need further deepens their understanding of the issue, sparking a profound connection and a sense of shared humanity.

CEOs return to their organizations with a renewed perspective and a profound commitment to addressing the issue of hunger. They become ambassadors for change, leveraging their influence and resources to advocate for hunger relief initiatives within their respective communities and among their staff members.

Nora Abou Chakra, the driving force behind Power Hearts, expressed her enthusiasm for the initiative, stating, "Power Hearts aims to create a ripple effect of compassion and advocacy. By immersing CEOs in the realities of pressing social issues, we ignite a powerful drive for change that reverberates throughout their personal and professional spheres. Together, we can make a significant difference and create a more compassionate and equitable world."

Power Hearts represents Nora Abou Chakra's unwavering commitment to leveraging the influence and resources of business leaders for the greater good. By providing CEOs with transformative experiences, Power Hearts empowers them to become catalysts for change and advocates for social causes that resonate with their hearts.

For more information about Power Hearts and its upcoming initiatives, please visit or follow us on @power.hearts

Contact Information:
Stephanie Khalil
Executive Assistant to CEO

Original Source: VIP Minds CEO and Visionary Nora Abou Chakra Launches 'Power Hearts,' a Transformative Initiative Driving Social Change

NAACP Excellence in Teaching Award Winner Andee Nunn Releases Memoir, ‘Magic in Room 216’, on Cyber Monday

Profound Education and Inspirational Life Journey Enshrines Era of Inclusion DANBURY, Conn., November 27, 2023 (New...
green agriculture project
- Part of VUGA Media group -best seo company