Why Send Books to Prisoners?

Why Send Books to Prisoners?

Education is one of the few methods proven to reduce the likelihood of a prisoner returning to prison after release. Find Out More >>

Thank You Volunteers!

Thank You Volunteers!

Hundreds of people volunteer their time at Prison Book every year and do everything from sort the mail to post office runs. People come on their own and in groups. Thanks to everyone! Find Out More >>


Prisoner Book Survey & the UK Ban on Mailing Books to Prisoners

Recently the United Kingdom banned the mailing of books to prisoners from the outside in an effort to cut down on the “perks and privileges” available to them.  In a protest organized by English PEN and The Howard League for Penal Reform, British authors have sent the Secretary of State for Justice, Chris Grayling, protest postcards with the name of the book they would most like to send to a prisoner – if they still could.

We thought we would contribute some of our own “favorite books” and what they mean — except these are prisoners’ favorite books.  These are the results of a survey that asked prisoners about books and the role they play in their lives. Their responses show that books are far from a perk or a privilege.

Poem – Dog Eared Freedom

Dog Eared Freedom
by Don Brown

I gave away my freedom
When I chose to do my crime.
I will not commit another
By locking up my mind.

I can choose to grow in here,
Like a mushroom in the dark.
I can turn my tiny cell
Into Shakespeare in the Park.

When I start feeling angry
And frustrated with myself,
I know help is never further
Than the books living on my shelf.

There is no dust up on these tomes
And their number is always changing;
From Langston Hughes to Stephen King,
Their topics are wide ranging.

I do not “escape” inside those words;
Escapees must forever run away.
Instead I visit them in their homes
And listen to all they say.

I am very fond of most of them;
A few tell me naught but lies,
But even the most dishonest ones
Often open up my eyes.

I cry for those who cannot read
And the prison sure won’t teach them.
I wish I knew the perfect way
To see hungry minds and reach them.

Stories hold so many treasures
And a poem can heal your heart.
Words take us down so many paths
And books are where they start.

Thank You – People Are Lining Up For Sudoku

SudokuDear Sir or Madam:
Just a short note to thank you for the books you and your organization have sent, (i.e. Websters Dictionary; Websters thesaurus; and Sudoku puzzle book).  The thesaurus and dictionary have been put to immediate use and there’s a line of individuals lining up to try their hand at Sudoku!  Just thought you’d like to know.  🙂
Thanks again for thinking of those of us who are incarcerated, it truly means a lot!
A prisoner from Florida

Thank You – You are our hero and we love you Sister Parsons

Bear Drawing

“Thanks to you for being there for us in prison. You are our “Hero” and we love you “Sister Parsons” Love always, a friend for Life.”

A prisoner recently sent us this drawing along with this nice note. “I want to thank you and your crew for the books because without you guys l lot of us in here would be lost or dead by now! Because of the books that you send us give us hope and a new view on life and love. So thanks and may God bless you always, amen!”

Thank You – PBP Gave Me the Courage to Take and Pass My GED


Dear Lucy Parsons Center:

I would like to thank each and every one at the center for giving me the courage to take and pass my GED in 2009.

I have taken up numerous vocational trades: brick block and stone masonry, automotive technology, horticulture, and I am now working on computer coding. I would have never been able to accomplish these goals in my life without the tools (books) that were donated by your organization. Thank you very much.

<a prisoner from Georgia>