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Free Book Program

Since 2006, every week we have gotten together to open prisoners’ letters, read their requests, and search through our library to find the books they want. We send a wide range of texts, ranging from dictionaries and GED study guides to Grisham novels, Greek philosophy to radical history.

Zine Catalog

In addition to books, we also make available thousands of “zines,” small booklets on contemporary political subjects like race, gender, direct action, anarchism, popular history, and anti-prison struggles. As we are able to provide multiple copies of these, prisoners are able to form study groups and themselves engage other prisoners in these topics. Study groups like these have popped up in a number of prisons throughout the South. Ideally, these groups can be a catalyst for prisoner organizing on the inside, as well as function as a form of dialogue between radicals on both sides of the prison walls. Latest Zine Catalog here: zinecatalog2013

Prison Abolitionist Reading Group

In the Spring of 2009, collective members began meeting to plan out a regular prison abolitionist reading group for anyone who is working with our group, or is working with prisoners in some other fashion, or who has done time themselves. Prisoners we correspond with have also started getting involved, reading the same texts and sharing thoughts via the mail. This group currently meets once a month, and covers topics such as mental health in prisons, histories of prison rebellions and organizing, social theory as related to the prison-industrial complex, the economic elements of the prison-industrial complex, and many others. To find out about the next reading group time, email us at prisonbooks@gmail.com.

Prisoner Publication

Starting in 2007 our collective has published prisoners’ art, writing, and poetry, as well as interviews with and essays by political prisoners in our regular publication Words of Fire. This publication is a way for prisoners to reach each other and share ideas, as they are sent to dozens of facilities throughout the South. We printed our sixth edition in fall of 2010. We published our seventh edition in spring 2013 (print-ready version of WOF 7, and WOF 7 Web Version)

Political Prisoner Posters

Starting in February 2010 we have hosted a monthly birthday card writing night to send words of solidarity and support to political prisoners celebrating a birthday that month. Additionally we nationally distribute posters featuring these prisoners to over 130 different groups and individuals, many of whom have used the posters as a resource to start their own card writing night. To view past posters, just click on the corresponding month:

23 Comments leave one →
  1. April 2, 2011 2:52 pm

    Marie Mason’s birthday is Jan 26th (not 25th), 1962.

  2. Tashima Berry for Lawrence Smith permalink
    July 18, 2011 11:27 pm

    I would like to get books for my brother that in prison. He is interested in suspense and Philosophy books. His name is: Lawrence Smith TDCJ#1594573
    His location is Clements Unit, 9601 Spur 591 Amarillo, TX 79107

    • August 8, 2011 5:35 am

      Unfortunately we cant send to TX prisons; we only do MS, AL and NC. BUt you can find the address of a similar group in Texas (austin i believe) that will, by just searching for texas or austin books to prisoners…it should come up. good luck!

    • Ann permalink
      March 9, 2013 4:23 am

      I have just found this site, but FYI on USED BOOKS FOR SALE at Goodwillbooks.com sell a huge amount of books for 1cent. Yep but then more that to ship it I bought from them for years and then they stopped as some prisons send them back. I had to confront them in email several times and then they started sending them to about 4 different prisons. Of course I have to put on a certain box that remove any DVDs or CDs before shipping. Don’t
      let them pick on you, when they rejected sending them I typed a message about how my son looked forward to these books and I thought helping others to be better was part of their mission.

  3. John Desmond permalink
    October 9, 2011 11:38 pm

    I am trying to get books sent to a penfriend of mine and other inmates who are on Deathrow in Parchman, Mississippi. Please can you advise me how to go about this.

    • October 10, 2011 2:12 pm

      Hey John,

      Just have them write to us at 405 w. franklin st. chapel hill nc 27516 with whatever kinds of books they want, and we will get it to them!

  4. John Desmond permalink
    October 10, 2011 6:34 pm

    Can I just let you know the kind of books he wants as he has already written to me with this information? i.e. fantasy, western or espionage genres. The rules are probably familiar to you: 3 new or used paperback books per package and the sender’s name and address clearly written on the front.
    His name is Roger Gillett # 133700, Unit 29 – J, Parchman, Mississippi 38738.

    Many thanks!

  5. John Desmond permalink
    October 15, 2011 5:34 pm

    I am not sure if you got my last message but are you able to send the kind of books I mentioned to my prison penpal?

    Thanks, John.

  6. Melanie E. permalink
    April 27, 2012 5:40 am

    aaaaaaI tried to find a spot to request a book but guess i will do it here. Jessie M Brooks II AIS # 2229517 Dorm B2 Bed 78 B Elmore Correctional Facility 3520 Marion Spillway Rd Elmore, AL 36025 Thank you!!!!!!!

  7. john permalink
    July 12, 2012 3:36 am

    I’m trying to locate past copies of your words of fire zine publications because now that i have been released i would like to get some of those copies of past zines that i have drawn in….thanks

  8. Ethan lewis permalink
    August 23, 2012 3:05 pm

    I run a program from Syracuse NY called books not bombs. We are looking for places to donate our large collection of books and we are wondering about your specific program and needs. We have sent books to prisons before and found it very rewarding.

    Thank you,
    Ethan Lewis

  9. November 11, 2012 5:25 pm

    My good friend’s son is in prison in NC…..Without giving his address/opus number which for privacy reasons may not be right, can you reply to me how he can address you for books to be sent to him? I presently wanted to send “The Black Cross” by GREG ILES. I can’t send it myself, which you already know. My email: vcone50@gmail.com. Thank you so much for any information you can give to help me (and my inmate) with this.

  10. Michelle Steaks permalink
    August 22, 2013 5:16 am

    Hi, I’m interested and getting some books shipped to a Mississippi prison that my brother is in right now he’s looking for books dealing with money management, investments, financial planning, etc also if you have any books dealing with business ideas, business ventures large or small doesn’t matter thanks in advance

  11. Amber Hunter permalink
    February 19, 2014 5:06 am

    I have a friend who is currently in prison and he has written some amazing books
    that we are trying to get published but arent having any luck because once people find out hes incarcerated they
    lose interest..but they are greatly misstaken because he has a god given
    gift for writing…I just really need some
    help to help get him published can you please respond back to this message or
    email me thank you

  12. Yana permalink
    June 13, 2014 2:18 am

    Interested in signing up my uncle for legal notification/political how do I do that?

Trackbacks

  1. Prison Books Collective has a shiny new website | Birds Before The Storm
  2. February’s Political Prisoner birthdays – write a letter! | Revolution by the Book : The AK Press Blog
  3. February’s Political Prisoner birthdays – write a letter! | PRISON RADIO
  4. “From the top to the bottom” | Amplify Voices Inside
  5. Freeing Up Knowledge for the Incarcerated | Upful Vibes

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