A number of charities exist to provide free books to prisoners throughout the United States, including Prison Book Program, Books to Prisoners, Beehive Books Behind Bars, Athens Books to Prisoners and the Appalachian Prison Book Project. Volunteers at these charities receive book requests from prisoners and mail requested books to them. If the prison library is inadequate, prisoners can mail book requests to the organizations that serve their prison.
Prison Book Program, which is based in Quincy, Massachusetts, has been delivering books to prisoners since 1972. The organization obtains its books from partner bookstores in adherence to prison regulations. It sends many kinds of books to inmates, including legal advice guides, recreational reading and educational materials. Its "We the People Legal Primer" was written by volunteers; prisoners often request this book because it explains the legal process and includes basic information, such as the meanings of legal terms and how to prepare for a court appearance. Materials that prepare prisoners to acquire a GED are also popular.
Books to Prisoners is a non-profit organization that was founded in the early 1970s. It operates a book donation program, delivering the books to inmates throughout the United States. It reports that the most popular books among prisoners are dictionaries, thesauruses and legal books, as well as books about African American and Native American culture and history. The organization also provides foreign language textbooks to prisoners, and supplies interested inmates with GED preparation materials.
Athens Books to Prisoners serves inmates in Ohio. This organization, which is run by volunteers, aims to help reduce loneliness and isolation among prisoners by providing them with books. It serves prisoners who are inadequately served by prison libraries and provides them with dictionaries, law books, thesauruses and blank writing journals.