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The Domestic Violence Book Girl


Female inmate reading at Nebraska Correctional Facility for Women.

Cheers to the Queens Tribune for this article about social worker Michelle McGowan, an intern at the women’s prison at Riker’s Island who holds a support group for women jailed as a result of domestic violence.

McGowan began a reading program at the jail when she noticed reading was the highlight of the womens’ day because many suffer from mental illness or substance abuse or have no visitors. The book program also helped improve the reading skills of some of the women who are illiterate.

McGowan, who earned her master’s degree from Columbia University, organized a pen pal and donation program to bring more books into the jail and is affectionately called “the domestic violence book girl.”

“They look forward to me coming,” she said.

To find out more about the role of social workers in the criminal justice system read the National Association of Social Workers’ report, Criminal Justice Social Work in the United States: Adapting to New Challenges, by clicking here.


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