Kevin Still Hasn’t Received Books as Jail Refuses to Comply with Orders to Lift Book Ban


Jail continues to enforce a de facto book ban by holding all incoming books.

Last week, Kevin Olliff ended his hunger strike after orders came from above that Michael Waterworth must lift the book ban.

Now, the jail is seeking a loophole to continue to deny books to Kevin. As of today, Kevin has still not received any book sent to him since the ban was supposed to have been lifted.

Here is the update:

The jail has perpetuated (to the media and outsiders) the myth of a “jail library.” The library doesn’t exist. What the jail calls a library is a cart of books, which prisoners are given access to only once a week.

As of now, the jail is attempting to skirt orders to lift the book ban by placing all books sent into a room where they sit until a jail guard decides they want to put them on the book cart (which is then wheeled around to prisoner’s cells). The books are not being given to the prisoners they are sent to.

How is this any different than the ban? Functionally, its no different. Books sent to Kevin – instead of being placed in his personal property and given him upon his release – are placed in a room where the jail guards have the option of putting them on the book cart. Or not.

Kevin has not seen any books sent in since the ban was “lifted” over a week ago.

Who is responsible?

Currently this de facto book ban is “under review.” Michael Waterworth and the sheriffs office is pushing for the ban to remain. The “jail inspector” is opposing the ban.

A lie told in plain sight

For the two months of the original book ban, Michael Waterworth’s explanation to the media was that the (non-existant) library was “full.” Now that he has been ordered to lift the ban, he miraculously has found room for all the incoming books.

And he didn’t just find room for them, he suddenly has so much room that he can actually hold every book mailed in and not pass them along to the prisoners. The purported space limitations haven’t just been relieved, Waterworth suddenly has an unlimited amount of space to hold books, rather than give them to prisoners directly.

A violation of the book ban lift

This loophole to skirt the ban is a violation of both the spirit of the agreement – that Kevin would be allowed access to books – and the letter of the agreement – that he would be given books mailed in to him.

As it stands, books sent to Kevin have little-to-no chance of making it to him. The sadistic Michael Waterworth would rather the books collect dust in a room than be read.

Kevin’s response

Kevin is unsurprised, but intends to attack this betrayal vigorously. While this de facto book ban is “under review”, he will be going without books for 10 days waiting for a resolution. If there is no decision at that point, he will resume his hunger strike.

As part of the hunger strike, he will no longer negotiate with Waterworth or the sheriff’s department, and will only communicate with the jail inspector (who opposes the book ban).

We will send any updates as we learn of them.


Please send Kevin a letter of support :

Kevin Johnson #4565
Woodford County Jail
111 E Court St.
Eureka, IL 61530

Tyler Lang has been released!