National Prisoner Resource List (NPRL)

This list provides information about places where people who are incarcerated and their families can find:

  • Support
  • Advocacy
  • Health care information (including HIV protection)
  • Outlets for their creativity
  • Lifelines to the outside community

We often hear from people that a resource on the National Prisoner Resource List (NPRL) helped them get the services they needed or simply made them feel less hopeless because they found someplace to turn for support.

The NPRL is sent to people in prisons and jails upon request. There is no charge for it. It is also available here for families and friends to print and mail to their loved ones.

For suggestions about additions or other feedback, please contact  

Resource Lists from other groups

Frequently Asked Questions: Our Services for People in Prison

People in prison can write us a letter (via postal mail) and ask for books. The letter should include their name, address, and inmate ID number. It is best to request genres of books rather than specific titles. We also have an online book request form that can be used by people inside or their family and friends.

We encourage readers to request genres instead of specific titles. The books in our library vary widely depending on who donates them. We cannot guarantee that we have a specific title in stock. 

Prison Book Program now has an online book request form where you can request books on behalf of your loved one. 

Currently, we serve federal facilities in all 50 states. As of July 2024, the only state facilities we do not serve are in Michigan, Texas, and California. 

Even if we serve your jurisdiction, there are always individual facilities that simply will not accept books from our program. 

Most people say they heard about us through word of mouth. We are also actively trying to publicize our services more broadly.

All kinds of books. We find that with a few exceptions, the reading interests of folks in prison mimic those of the general public. Dictionaries are our most popular request – by far. We send out more than 3,500 per year. Other popular titles include thesauruses, small business startup, drawing, exercise, fiction of all kinds, religion and much more.

People in prison use them for various reasons – writing letters to family, writing legal appeals, or just trying to understand unfamiliar words in the other books we send. Many people enter prison with limited reading skills and use their time to change that. Frustrated by his inability to express himself, Malcolm X famously educated himself by copying every word in the dictionary and then using his expanded vocabulary to read most of the books in the library at MCI-Norfolk, where he was incarcerated from 1948-1952.

Our selection of books depends on what people donate. Topics available vary widely. We also buy dictionaries, thesauri, GED study guides, and other high-demand books as we can afford them.

In addition to books, we have a self-published legal reference, a resource list of organizations that help people in prison, and a few other booklets that cover topics that prisoners frequently request.

Most books are donated by individuals just like you. Occasionally, publishers and authors donate extra copies of their books. We also buy dictionaries, thesauri, and GED study guides in bulk. Many generous people donate new books through our online wish lists too. 

You can request a book on behalf of your loved one, but you cannot provide it. We will not fill requests from people who want to provide the book and have us send it to their designated person. If someone wants to send a specific title to a specific person, the book must come from a retailer, publisher or bookstore.