An act of compassion and enlightenment
Books 2 Booked is a volunteer based peer-to-peer prison books program created in response to the conditions created within jails and prisons as a result of Covid 19. Due to the pandemic, inmates across the country have endured heightened risks of catching the virus, decreased visitation and phone privileges, and mandatory lockdown and isolation. All of which undoubtedly takes a toll on the mental health of an individual. Depression has long remained the most prevalent mental health disorder reported in prisons. This is heightened due to the imposed restrictions caused by the pandemic, increasing natural disasters, and protests in response to systemic oppression and continuous killing of unarmed Black men, women, and children.

We believe a simple act of compassion and empathy such as receiving a book from a stranger goes a long way during these times.

According to Dr David Lewis, a neuropsychologist at Mindlab International in Sussex, England, reading as little as six minutes a day can reduce stress levels by 60% by reducing your heart rate, easing muscle tension and altering your state of mind. Through personally speaking to prisoners who have been recipients of books, they have expressed how they have long lost contact with their loved ones on the outside and have felt forgotten, especially during these times.

Majority of prisoners incarcerated will be released at some point in their lifetime with very few acts of compassion shown to them. The goal of this program is to provide escapism through books and encourage mental through acts of compassion from strangers.

A huge goal for this program is to help these inmates explore their individuality and unmet interests by communicating with their loved ones to send books based on their personal paths and curiosities.

The Process

Through social media and word of mouth, we are able to connect directly with friends and loved ones of inmates to find out the individual interests and reading requests of inmates so that our handcrafted community can send brand new paperback books directly to those incarcerated. This is a touch we find many prison book programs don’t have the capacity to foster- individuality.

America makes up 5% of the World’s population but holds a quarter of the world’s prisoners.

We have grown a community of volunteers to buy and send books to the incarcerated in this peer-to-peer based book system. We assign an inmate’s information to a volunteer to send a new book straight from a digital vendor such as Amazon or Barnes and Noble’s website. By going through a vendor, all personal information of the sender is protected and never shared with the recipient.

1 in every 3 black boys, 1 in every 6 latinos, 1 in every 17 whites will go to jail or prison in their lifetime.

“Knowledge gives us our power back and books can be the weapons to truly fight a world made against us. I’ve been honored to send 8 books through Books2Booked and will continue to do so monthly for as long as possible.”

-Shyvonne S. 
Artist and Educator
“Research has shown that reading as little as six minutes a day can reduce stress levels by 60% by reducing your heart rate, easing muscle tension and altering your state of mind”

-Dr David Lewis
“I worked within the LA juvenile system for two years facilitating creative writing. It is so important that systems impacted folks know that there are so many people who care about them, think about them, and want them to be free. Thanks to Books2Booked for making an effort to provide art to people much in need of community support”

Hazel R.
Books2Booked Volunteer
“A lot of inmates don’t have outside support or funds to get books/magazines and our libraries are never stocked. Sad part is we stay on lockdown so much where we have no access to any reading material unless we have someone mailing us. These institutions don’t care about reform, they want us to remain uneducated and uninformed. We can’t change our circumstances but with books and knowledge we can change ourselves.”

-Book recipient at
FCI Pollock Federal Prison
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