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Books Through Bars


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Located Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Books Through Bars is an all-volunteer non-profit organization. We believe systemic social, educational, and economic inequality leads to relentless cycles of crime and mass incarceration. 

Our work aims to reverse the devastating effects that injustice and incarceration has on individuals, families and communities.

Our work is three-fold:

  1. Books: We distribute free books and educational materials to prisoners in seven states. We send them to anyone who asks, as long as their prison accepts books.
  2. Knowledge: The educational materials we send—often to people who otherwise have little no access to them—support prisoner education. This leads to critical personal growth and promotes successful community re-integration. In addition, we conduct innovative programs that encourage the public to think critically and engage in creative dialogue about imprisonment and the criminal justice system.
  3. Change: Our work fosters transformation within and outside prison walls. We receive hundreds of letters each year from prisoners telling us how the books they received changed them for the better. Program attendees tell us they walk away newly enlightened about the complexities of the issues we’re trying to address and the hurdles incarcerated people face. Volunteers say working at BTB changed their views about justice, equality, and incarcerated people.

Our work has directly impacted thousands of lives.