Prison Book Programs

Updated: Sep 5

There are other books-to-prisoners programs across the country. Each organization has their own rules and guidelines regarding where they can send books and what kinds of books their project supports.

ADVICE FOR CONTACTING ANY PRISON BOOK PROGRAM


Follow these guidelines and you will have a better chance of receiving a book.

  • Always print clearly. Include your full name, ID number and address. It is helpful if you include that information in your letter - not just on the envelope.

  • Write to the organization directly. Do not have someone request a book for you. Most of these organizations will only send books when requested directly by the inmate. Friends and family members cannot request a book on your behalf.

  • Let the organization know if your institution has unique restrictions (such as not accepting hardcover books) and double-check that they allow books to be sent from that specific organization.

  • Be general. Let them know the subjects were types of books that you are interested in. The vast majority of these organizations rely on donated books so they are often unable to fulfill specific requests.

  • Be patient. Volunteer organizations work hard to help inmates access books. It is typical for book programs to take several months to answer requests.

  • Unless the organization specifically provides law books, don't ask for legal guides or resources.

  • These organizations do not send books that are racist, sexist, homophobic, violent, etc.

  • Thank you notes are always appreciated. Let the volunteers know that their work makes a difference. Let them know if there were any difficulties receiving the book at your institution.

 

ACTIVE PRISON BOOK PROGRAMS

The organizations below are currently active and are sending books to prisoners. Help us keep our list up to date. Let us know if you have any corrections or information about any of the organizations below. Please follow this link to report a problem or email rachel@claremontforum.org. Note: we attempt to contact every organization on this list. An organization must have an active website or social media page in order to be included. We cannot guarantee that the organizations below will send you a book.


Alabama Books to Prisons Project

P.O. Box 130699 Birmingham, AL 35213

Run through the Burdock Book Collective, this program fulfills book requests and manages a pen pal program for people incarcerated in Texas and Alabama prisons. LGBTQA friendly: "As queers and allies ourselves, we aim to provide a space for personal expression and communication free from homophobia and transphobia."


Appalachian Prison Book Project

PO Box 601 | Morgantown, WV 26507

The Appalachian Prison Book Project (APBP) sends free books and provides educational opportunities to people incarcerated in the Appalachian region. We serve six states: Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. You can request by topic area or title, and they will do their best to find a good book for you.


Asheville Prison Books

67 N. Lexington c/o Downtown Books & News | Asheville, NC 28801

Sends free reading material to folks incarcerated in North Carolina and South Carolina, including county jails, detention centers, state prisons, and federal facilities. They do not have a catalogue, but try to match requests to books as best they can. Serves people in North Carolina and South Carolina only.


Athens Books to Prisoners

30 1st Street | Athens, OH 45701

Athens Books to Prisoners is a volunteer-run organization that sends free books to prisoners in Ohio only.


Big House Books

PO Box 55586 | Jackson, MS 39296

Sends books to Mississippians in prisons and juvenile detention centers. Every person has the right to educate oneself; lets make that a reality. Serves Mississippians only.


Books Behind Bars - New Jersey

PO Box 2611 | Wildwood, NJ 08260

A grassroots, volunteer-run prison abolition project that provides free books upon request to people incarcerated in New Jersey prisons.


Books Behind Bars - Virginia

Friends of the Jefferson-Madison Library Attn: Books Behind Bars | 1500 Gordon Ave. Charlottesville, VA 22903

Serves people incarcerated in Virginia only. Write with requests for up to three books per month. They will do their best to fulfill all requests, but cannot guarantee specific title availability.


Books Through Bars

4722 Baltimore Ave | Philadelphia, PA 19143

Free books across the Eastern Seaboard. Prisoners may request by topic (not exact title or author), and provide several areas of interest if possible. Sends to DE, MD, NJ, NY, PA & VA only.


Books to Prisoners (Seattle), also Spokane, Olympia and Portland OR

Books to Prisoners c/o Left Bank Books | 92 Pike Street, Box A | Seattle, WA 98101

Books to Prisoners has satellite locations in Olympia, Spokane, and Portland, Oregon. Each volunteer organization serves inmates across the country. Inmates should write to the main office at 92 Pike St., Box A | Seattle, WA 98101


Chicago Books to Women in Prison

c/o RFUMC 4511 N. Hermitage Ave. | Chicago, IL 60640

Serves: AZ, CA, CT, FL, IL, IN, KY, MS, MO, and OH


Connecticut Prison Book Connection

PO Box 946 Rocky Hill, CT | 06067-0946

Request books by subject and genre.


DC Books to Prisoners

PO Box 34190, Washington, DC 20043

Request books by subject and genre. Serves state and federal prisoners in 34 states, and federal prisoners in Arizona. With the exception of DC residents in federal prisons, we do not serve inmates in CT, FL, IL, MA, ME, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OR, PA, RI, VT, WA, or WI


Groundworks Books | Books for Prisoners at UCSD

0323 UCSD Old Student Center | La Jolla, CA 92037

Request subjects and genres of books.


Human Kindness Foundation ­c/o The Prison-Ashram Project

PO Box 61619 | Durham, NC 27715

HKF provides free spiritual books and newsletters to those who are incarcerated and to prison/jail staff members. Book titles include:

  • We’re All Doing Time, by Bo & Sita Lozoff (also available in Spanish)

  • Lineage & Other Stories, by Bo & Sita Lozoff

  • The Untethered Soul, by Michael Singer

  • Just Another Spiritual Book, by Bo & Sita Lozoff

  • Deep & Simple, by Bo Lozoff

  • Una Vida Sagrada, by Bo Lozoff

  • Finding Freedom: Writings from Death Row, by Jarvis Jay Masters

  • Nine Paths to Forgiveness: Understanding Ourselves and Others, by Chris Canfield

  • Finding God Within: Contemplative Prayer for Prisoners, by Chaplain Ray Leonardini (also available in Spanish)

  • When Things Fall Apart, by Pema Chödrön (also available in Spanish)

Inside Books Project

PO Box 301029 | Austin, TX 78703

Sends free books and literature to prisoners in Texas only. Also sends a very informative prisoner resource guide free to prisoners in all states. Send two stamps, or pre-addressed stamped envelope containing two stamps for a copy of their resource guide. Serves people in Texas prisons only.


Ithaca College Books Thru Bars

IC Books Thru Bars c/o Ithaca College Library, PO Box 113 Brooktondale, NY, 14817

Set within Ithaca College, this group works to send reading literature to incarcerated individuals as well as raise awareness of issues related to incarceration. Serves NY, NY, VT, MA, RI, CT, NJ, and PA. Include a request for a genre, author, or title and any mailing restrictions for you facility. Requests will be honored as best as possible. Be patient for response as they only pack and mail twice per semester.


LGBT Books to Prisoners

1202 Williamson St #1 c/o Social Justice Center Incubator | Madison, WI 53703

Volunteer-run organization that sends books and other educational materials, free of charge, to LGBT-identified people in prison across the US (except those in TX). Will send books in Spanish (enviar libros en Español). Sends up to two packages and books per year. Prefers requests by topic/genre, but can occasionally fulfill specific requests. Serves all states except Texas.


Liberation Lit

PO Box 45071 | Kansas City, MO 64171

Abolitionist group of volunteers sending books to individuals incarcerated in Missouri and Kansas only.


Lopez Books

PO Box 327 | Lopez Island, WA 98261

Books to prisoners program serving Washington and Alaska only. Send general requests by genre and/or topic.


Louisiana Books 2 Prisoners

3157 Gentilly Blvd. #141 | New Orleans, LA 70122

Louisiana Books 2 Prisoners currently serves the following states: Louisiana, Alabama, and Arkansas. Women and LA prisoners are prioritized.


Louisville Books to Prisoners

1512 Portland Ave. #1 c/o McQuixote Books and Coffee | Louisville, KY 40203

Ships free books directly to prisoners in Kentucky and Virginia only. Request reading material by prioritized subjects and list facility restrictions if known. Serves Kentucky and Virginia only


Midwest Books to Prisoners

1321 N Milwaukee Ave, PMB #460 | Chicago, IL 60622

Midwest Books to Prisoners is staffed by volunteers who collect book donations, read letters, pack packages and solicit donations. Books are sent to prisoners in the following states: IL, IN, IA, KS, MI, MN, MO, NE, OH, ND, SD & WI. Unfortunately, due to policy restrictions by MDOC and INDOC, we cannot send books to Minnesota or Indiana state prisons at this time.


Missouri Prison Books

C/O Subterranean Books | 6271 Delmar Blvd. | St. Louis, MO 63130

We can fill requests for books by topics (mysteries, drawing, religion) but not requests for specific book titles.


NYC Books through Bars

c/o Bluestockings Bookstore | 116 Suffolk Street | New York, NY 10002

Please note, we fill requests from all states except AL, FL, LA, MA, MI, MS, NC, PA, OH, and WI, with a priority for NY.


Pittsburgh Prison Book Project

PO BOX 71357 | Pittsburgh PA 15213

Send letter with your genre / subject requests, provides reading materials for inmates in Pennsylvania


Prison Book Program

c/o Lucy Parsons Bookstore | 1306 Hancock Street, Suite 100 | Quincy, MA 02169

We do not serve prisons in California, Texas, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada or Texas. In addition, we are not able to send to many individual prisons due to prison restrictions.


Prison Book Project c/o Open Books Bookstore

​1040 N. Guillemard St., Pensacola, FL 32501

Sends books to indigent inmates in Florida prisons.


Prisoners Literature Project/Bound Together Books

1369 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117 | 510-749-4160

Request books by subject and genre. Sends reading materials to all US States except MA.


Providence Books Thru Bars

5 Angell St. | Providence, RI 02906

Request books by subject and genre.


Read Between the Bars

c/o Daily Planet Publishing | P.O. Box 44014 | Tucson, AZ, 85733

Read Between the Bars is currently responding to requests for books from those incarcerated in Arizona federal detention centers.


Saxapahaw Prison Books

c/o Center for Social Justice | 1425 Russell St. | Orangeburg, SC 29115

Provides reading materials for inmates and South Carolina and Georgia.


UC Books to Prisoners

Box 515 Urbana IL 61803

The mission of Urbana-Champaign Books to Prisoners is to provide free books to people incarcerated in Illinois and to promote education about incarceration and prisons.


UC Davis Books to Prisoners

CSI Box #157, 1 Shields Ave., Davis, CA 95616

Provides books to inmates in California, Texas, Florida, Oregon, and all federal prisons.


Wisconsin Books to Prisoners

1202 Williamson St. #1 | Madison, WI 53703

Provides reading materials for inmates in Wisconsin.


Women’s Prison Book Project

3751 17 Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55407

Request books by subject and genre, a resource guide, and a newsletter. Women and trans people only.


FREE MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION


The Sun Magazine – is an award-winning, ad-free magazine of interviews, essays, fiction, poetry, and photography. They offer free subscriptions to incarcerated individuals. To request a free subscription write to:

The Sun Customer-Service Dept.

P.O. Box 323, Congers, NY 10920