Behind Dangerous Minds

The Story Behind the Story. Listen to Audio Clip about why the reporter chose this story.

Ever wondered why what goes in a story ends up in a story? WWhat happens to all those terrific details that simply have no room to live in the space-constrained world of print? What gets cut and what doesn't?

Click below to hear the story behind the story-- a reporter's version of a director's cut.

  • Letters
  • The Letters: When elements are off limits.(4:34 min. 4.18 MB/MP3)
  • Cutting
  • What to Cut: When 30 column inches of story becomes 14 inches in print. (3:42 min. 3.39 MB/MP3)

Local book group needs people and money

<<< As of mid-March, Bret Bostock said the group sent out 360 packages and more than 1100 books since mid-December of last year.

Bostock, a 30 year-old graphics design student at Santa Fe Community College, said the organization sends books to every state in the country except Oregon since the state’s prisons refuse their shipments.

“Oregon won’t accept our books,” Bostock said. “They send them back.”

He said this was a mystery they were trying to solve and that every package that comes back to them is important. Not only does the group have to pay the return postage, they want that package back to try to determine if the reject was a packing issue or a rejection from the prison. One rejection from a prison could mean more rejections.

Bostock explained that prisons only accept book shipments from bookstores. For that reason, Books for Prisoners works with a non-profit music store the Wayward Council Record Shop at 807 W. University Ave. and ships out using their name. Their partnership doesn’t end there.

Most of their book donations come from a drop off box at Wayward Council. The record shop sells Books for Prisoners hardback book donations making money for their shipping costs which average about $100 a week.

Bostock pinpointed that more than 50 percent of Books for Prisoners shipments go to Texas because of the state’s huge prison population. He said group he’d tried to shift some of the letters coming into Gainesville to a Texas volunteer program called Inside Books but that group is even further behind than Books for Prisoners in meeting their requests.

“We try to prioritize letters from Florida prisons,” Bostock said. “But the main thing is focusing on catching up and not being four months behind.”

In March, volunteers were filling requests made in November which is slightly longer average for prisoner book programs.

Beyond books, Bostock said the group needs two key elements, people and money.

Campus drop off boxes are located in the Women’s Studies Department and the Student Guild at the Law School. For more information, contact information: gainesville_books_for_prisoners@yahoo.com Phone is 373-7102 and P.O. Box 12164, Gainesville, FL, 32604.

Cher Phillips | Copyright © April 2005