Michael Tafolla says the books he read in prison helped him understand how he had landed there in the first place. He remembers one especially eye-opening title: Illegal: Reflections of an Undocumented Immigrant.
"The main topic of this book is how a human being is reduced to an action that's perceived by others to be wrong," Tafolla says. "And therefore he is not a human being, but he is a walking, talking, breathing crime act."
Tafolla was released from Danville Correctional Center in 2018. Not long after, in January 2019, officials at the Illinois prison censored Illegal and about 200 other books, removing them from the library of a college-in-prison program.