A local jail is no longer accepting used book donations for their prisoners due to a growing drug smuggling problem problem, according to jail officials.
Joe Solomon, the owner of Homeward Bound Books, was shocked to learn that the South Central Regional Jail is no longer accepting used book donations.
“A few weeks ago we put together a package to donate and we were turned away and it shocked us,” the used book store owner told 13 News.
Solomon says his store has been donating their extra inventory to the jail for years. That was until last week.
According to jail officials, South Central now only accepts books directly shipped from publisher because of a recent increase in drug smuggling through used books.
In a statement, jail officials told 13 News:
“All of West Virginia’s regional jails have adopted a longstanding policy of the state’s prisons, and now accept books only when shipped directly from publishers. Attempts to smuggle drugs into the jails by hiding them within books forced the change. The jails had even intercepted drugs concealed within books that had been mailed from bookstores; individuals had apparently hidden drugs in these books before bringing them to the cashier with the request that they be shipped.”
According to the jail, a King James Bible containing 2 grams of cocaine and 5 grams of meth was purchased and shipped from a WV bookstore last month. In January, another Bible, this time containing 20 suboxone strips, arrived at the jail as well.
According to Solomon, none of the contraband books came from Solomon’s store.
“I called and asked if any of our books contained drugs and they told us no,” he said. “I just think it is really sad because good books help people grow.”
Solomon added, “I hope we can make some sort of partnership work in the future. We loved helping them get books and we would ultimately love to see that continue in some capacity.”