Books to Prisoners KW is a WPIRG action group which works to support those affected by the Canadian (in)justice system. Most of our activities are dedicated towards breaking the isolation of prisoners in local jails. This includes sending donated books to provincial prison libraries, sending books directly to prisoners upon request, as well as writing letters and connecting prisoners with pen pals. We host a variety of events ranging from letter-writing nights to information sessions to movie nights.
Books to Prisoners overview:
Books to Prisoners is an umbrella term for several projects and organizations that mail free reading material to prison inmates. The first Books to Prisoners project was founded in Seattle, Washington, USA in 1973. There are approximately twenty similar projects in the United States and Canada. In keeping with the anarchist cultural roots of the project there is no centralized organization, and each group runs autonomously.
These projects accept donations of books from bookstores and individuals. Each project solicits letters from prisoners requesting books, usually by genre or by naming a preferred author. Project volunteers read the letters, and reply with a few books taken from the project’s collection. There is no cost to prisoners.
Generally, volunteers answer letters, mail packages and complete administrative work. Many of the projects are affiliated with a local independent bookstore in their home city, which provides a drop-off place for donations, and sometimes a small supply of books as well. Postage for mailing the books is a major expense that must be met through donations.
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