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We send free books to prisoners in Texas.
At the Inside Books Project, we work with prisoners to create change, both in their lives and in the system that has incarcerated them. Books will be the agents of that change.
In 2005, over 150,000 people were incarcerated in the state of Texas. Out of 106 prison facilities, only 85 were equipped with libraries. 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. The Inside Books Project fills that gap, providing prisoners with free books in these and other subject areas. Last year, we sent over 18,000 books to individual prisoners--and we're growing fast.
By means of education, we aim to help prisoners make successful transitions into society. At the same time, we stand outside the state apparatus as an important independent source of resources, information, and ideas. A good book earns a reader's trust and provokes reflection and inquisitiveness that better equips the reader for life in and out of society. As an organization, we try to emulate that approach. By responding to the curiosity and needs of individual prisoners, we aim to minimize bureaucracy and engage each prisoner's mind outside of the context of a "correctional system."
A wide range of studies agree that in-prison education lowers rates of recidivism, or the likelihood of a prisoner committing another crime after his or her release. (See "Post Correctional Education and Recidivism".) The Inside Books Project serves unmet needs in the education of all Texas prisoners. If a prisoner cannot access a book, or cannot access any books, we alone provide an open door to a universe of information. Inmates share the information and resources they receive through our efforts, thus creating informal communities of literacy and learning. We are always seeking new ways to help these communities, and to fulfill our mission of change.
Inside Books is the only organization of its kind in the state of Texas. Please support our efforts on behalf of the prisoners and the people of this state.
- Michael Agresta
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