Books are important to prisoners for many reasons. Some use them for a needed escape from the drudgery of their existence. Others find solace and safety in the worlds books create for them. Others use them for research as they continue their educations or prepare for release. Books are a conduit to a better life through education. After all, the one thing a person cannot take away from another person is their education. It is through education and preparedness that we will successfully reintegrate into society. It is through education that we will help our families, ourselves, and eventually, society. Remember, we are still your neighbors, families, and co-workers. When we return home we will continue to be all these things. These books that are donated to us do not ensure success but serve as an additional bulwark against failure.
Besides major religious texts, the book that can most affect an inmate, any inmate, is a good dictionary. The reason is simple. Communication is the most important tool in our arsenal. In dealing with society, our families, or each other, we depend on our use of language to affect change, steer our children, avoid strife and distress, to seek work or a better life. A good dictionary is the basic building block in any education and a requisite for a good one. I do not possess one here [in prison], but I yearn for an excellent dictionary! The worlds one can explore in language are the basic building blocks of conflict resolution. Whether at work, school, prison, or the world stage, we all share basic diplomatic gifts dependent on our abilities to communicate. The biggest failing of prisons is their failure to educate.
I appeal to [the Prison Book Program] to continue donating and sending books to inmates. In your own way you do more to rebuild society and families than all the prisons in the world. There are no bars in our minds, only in the hearts of men. Thank you.
Financial donations are the single factor that limits the number of people we can serve. Just $3 is the average cost of mailing a package of carefully selected books from our library!
Prison Book Program
c/o Lucy Parsons Bookstore
1306 Hancock Street
Quincy, MA 02169