Founded in 1999, DC Books to Prisons provides free books to individual prisoners. We also develop and support prison libraries. Our work is done solely by concerned volunteers using donated time and resources. DC Books to Prisons is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

In 2009, the program expanded to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where four to five volunteers raise funds, collect books, and meet in donated space to answer prisoners' requests.

Yearly, between the two sites, we send more than 7,000 packages to prisoners with around 250 from Alabama and the rest from DC. These packages go to prisoners in over 600 prisons in the United States. We serve 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.

Why We Are Needed

The U.S. has less than five percent of the world’s population, yet more than 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. Nearly one percent of American adults are incarcerated; the highest rate in the world. However, many prisoners have little access to books or educational material. Usually, prisoners are not allowed to receive books from friends or family. While some prisons have libraries, many do not. Of prisons that do, access and selection can be extremely limited. Programs like ours are one of the few options available to prisoners seeking books.

There are a number of similar projects throughout the country, so if you are looking to get involved but are not in the DC area, check out this website for a group near you.