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Prison Library Project

Empowering Incarcerated Readers Across the Nation through Literature

The Claremont Forum’s Prison Library Project (PLP) is a volunteer-led program that aims to provide books and educational materials to incarcerated individuals. Our mission is to address the significant issue of inadequate literacy skills and limited access to reading materials among incarcerated men and women across the country. Since our program's inception in 1992, we have sent over half a million books to prisons throughout the US.

At our core, we firmly hold the belief that open access to reading is a fundamental human right, and books act as potent channels for enlightenment, pleasure, and profound personal growth. Furthermore, our unwavering commitment lies in mitigating the dehumanizing and isolating consequences of incarceration, offering our readers a sense of belonging within a compassionate and supportive community.

About the PLP

History

The Prison Library Project was founded in 1973 by Ram Dass and Bo Lozoff in Durham, North Carolina and relocated to Claremont in 1986 under the stewardship of Rick Moore.

Volunteers continued to build the project, establishing as a 501(c)(3) organization in 1992. Now in the Claremont Forum’s Bookshop in the Citrus Packing House, the project has grown into a major service project supported by hundreds of volunteers.

What We Do

The PLP receives more than 300 letters a week from inmates in 600 state and federal prisons and detention centers throughout the United States.

We mail over 10,000 packages of books each year to individual inmates. We also send boxes of books to prison librarians, educators, and chaplains.

PLP Postage Drive

We need $20,000 to cover postage for the year!

About the 
Postage Drive

The PLP Postage Drive is an ongoing campaign for postage to send books to incarcerated readers nationwide.

 

All postage donations will go directly into our Stamps.com postage meter. The funds will remain in the postage meter until used, and they cannot be transferred elsewhere.

 

Help us load our postage meter for the next 12 months!

Volunteer

Individual

Join us at the Bookshop! We have a flexible schedule and would love to have you volunteer with us!

Learn More

Groups

Is your group looking for a volunteer opportunity? Let us know - we love groups!

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Service Learning

We have opportunities for internships and can help you complete service hours.

Learn More
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Dictionary Program

Why Are Dictionaries So Important?

 

Dictionaries represent up to 25% of the requests we receive, and we send out approximately 200 dictionaries per month at a cost of roughly $1,000 (plus postage). However, we must purchase NEW dictionaries because, in most states, prisoners are not allowed to receive used dictionaries. Sadly, we are not currently able to respond to all requests for dictionaries, because of the expense to purchase new ones.

Dictionaries are a vital resource for inmates completing educational programs while incarcerated. We know that inmates who complete their education have a 43% lower rate of recidivism. ¹ The PLP believes in supporting these men and women with much-needed tools to improve their chance of success.

¹ Literacy Behind Prison Walls - National Center for Education Statistics

I am serving three life sentences. Many people would view the effort to send someone like me a book as a waste of time. I have no future. But, books are essential to my life. I am so grateful that you understand. Books keep me focused and on a positive path. 

Jamison W., Waverly VA

How Do We Put Your Donations to Work?

Every donation supports the Prison Library Project. Below are our priority project allocations:

Resource List

We connect inmates with other prison book programs. We also print a nationwide resource list that links inmates to other health, wellness, education, legal, and social services.

Postage

Our primary use for financial donations is to purchase postage. We were able to allocate $2000 or more for monthly postage in 2022. 

Educational Resources

Each year, we purchase hundreds of dictionaries, Spanish-English dictionaries and other ESL resources, GED study guides, and more. In order to support prisoners as they work through educational programs or work to develop their own literacy skills.

Books

We have been able to purchase other books that are unique to the experiences of those incarcerated. We are always looking for titles that uplift, encourage, and support those in prison.

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