Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Freedom From The Cage

The Inside Books Project is an awesome non-profit donating free books to correctional institutions in the state of Texas. Did you know Texas houses over 160,000 inmates? That's a lot of offenders who need some educational materials, not to mention the freedom and mental stimulation that comes from reading. Prison libraries are a haphazard collection of heavily censored materials, and most books are pulp fiction or religious in nature. Says Inside Books, "Many facilities have little or nothing to offer in important areas like African-American and Mexican-American history, GED and other standardized test training, coping with specific medical conditions, and art/craft instruction."

Inside Books also states, "If prisons were meant for purposes of rehabilitation, that goal has long since been lost to dehumanization and punishment. IBP is, at times, the only connection prisoners have to educational opportunities and communication with the outside...Until we are no longer separated by concrete and barb wire, IBP envisions itself as a gateway between prisoners and the outside community, where both can enrich their lives, empower, strengthen, and educate."

How to help:

If you live in Texas: Come to one of the volunteer sessions (based in Austin) to help answer book requests and mail packages. We currently hold volunteer nights Thursday and Sundays from 8-11pm at Space 12. You can also become a book donation site!

Outside of Texas: They are always in need of donations of both books and money. Office supplies are also taken! You can donate via PayPal here. All donations are tax-deductible.

Most commonly requested books include:

  • Dictionaries (English, Spanish-English, and Law)
  • Thesauri
  • Almanacs
  • Texas Criminal Law
  • Native American / Latino / African and African-American history, politics, culture
  • GED or Basic Education Materials
  • Foreign Language (Spanish)
  • How-to books (art, carpentry, any trades, business, etc.)
  • Westerns
  • Mythology
  • Wicca
  • Up-to-date science books, especially math

Don't bogart the Wicca books!

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