What We Do

Prison Book Program is a grassroots organization that exists for one purpose—to send free books to prisoners. We’ve been doing it since 1972.

Books are crucial to the political, spiritual, and educational development of all people. Most prisons do not allow family and friends to send books into prisons; they must come from a bookstore or publisher. Our affiliation with the Lucy Parsons Bookstore and our many sources of books to serve incarcerated people allows us to serve several thousand prisoners every year. In a time of cuts in educational programs for prisons, we serve a vital purpose.

The books we send to prisoners span genres and subjects. The people we serve say that books offer escape, entertainment, and practical information. We’ve also made special efforts to offer two types of special practical books:

  • Basic legal information for prisoners offered as part of our Legal Primer. This book was volunteer-written for Prison Book Program.
  • Dictionaries. Because this is our most requested and useful item, we hold a special fundraiser once a year to purchase dictionaries in bulk.

Additionally, at times we have provided materials towards GED study.

Many prisoners have written to us to say why books are so important to them.  Click here to see what they have to say.  We have also been asking prisoners to tell us what they think of the books we send.  Click here to see their responses.