about us

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, publisher, online retailer or a program like ours. We serve over 10,000 prisoners each year. 

The reading interests of the people we serve mirror the general population with a few exceptions.. They say that books offer escape, entertainment, and practical information. 

We’ve also made special efforts to offer several 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 buy more than 2000/year wholesale.
  • GED study guides 

Many prisoners have written to us to say why books are so important to them.  See the essays section of our blog to hear what they had to say. We also ask prisoners what they thought of the books they read. Their responses are quite interesting. Visit the book reviews section of our blog, to see what they had to say. 


Prison Book Program mails books to people in prison to support their educational, vocational and personal development and to help them avoid returning to prison after their release. We also aim to provide a quality volunteer experience that introduces citizens to issues surrounding the American prison system and the role of education in reforming it.


Here at Prison Book Program, we want to create an environment that is fun, informative, and above all, respectful. As an organization, we recognize and promote respect for:

Reading – Providing free books fosters improved reading and literacy skills — a most basic human skill.
Education – Literacy enables prisoners to further their education, which reduces recidivism.
Space – We take excellent care of the space provided to us by the historic United First Parish Church of Quincy.
Prisoners – We strive to provide a view of the realities of the prison experience through the letters, poetry and art of our patrons.
Each Other – PBP fosters a respectful and supportive environment in order to ensure positive volunteer experiences.
Circumstances – We make no judgments about the past actions of our prisoner patrons, but rather respect and applaud their self-improvement efforts.
Time – PBP operates exclusively on the efforts of volunteers, and we respect our volunteers’ time, which is well-spent advancing the mission of the organization.