Saturday, January 18, 2014

Free Books for Prison Inmates

“Ten guards and the warden couldn’t have torn me out of those books … I have often reflected upon the new vistas that reading opened to me. I knew right there in prison that reading had changed forever the course of my life”.  -- Malcolm X

While families send packages to prisoners with food and sundries, organizations exist to send free books to prisoners.  In these days of public spending cutbacks, they offer individual prisoners the chance to get reading materials and some useful recreation for the mind.   If your loved one is in prison, here are some programs that can help them get free reading material.  While they have websites, most have to be contacted and your order put through the mail, rather than by phone or the internet.

The Prison Book Program has been in business for over 40 years, with all sorts of books sent around the country, although they make a special mission to send dictionaries and legal material.  There are several states (California, Texas, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada or Texas), they do not serve.  See their contact page for more information.

BTW, the Inside Book Project is an Austin-based outfit especially for Texas prisoners.

Prisoners Literature Project also provides books to prisoners.  They can't send heavy books, and only take requests by mail, but if you have some topics that you like your best bet is to send it as a general subject request. 

Books Through Bars serves prisoners in some of the northeast states (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia).

Books Through Bars also has a listing of other free prisoner book programs.  If none of these other programs are a help, check out this list.

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