The Issue: Limited Educational Opportunities for Inmates
In the 2010–2011 academic year, state lawmakers cut the budget for Windham School District, which provides educational services for incarcerated adults, by more than a quarter from $130.6 million to $95 million, according to an article in the Amarillo Globe News. 77,500 inmates had been enrolled in classes with the district during the previous year, but the cut caused estimates for enrollment in 2011–2012 to drop by 16,750.
The Campaign: Sending Books to Inmates
For every $7 that this Grassroots campaign raises, Providence Books Through Bars, Inc. cover the mailing costs of sending two packets of books to inmates who have requested them. Each packet will contain up to 15 books depending on size and weight. By sending books to prisons, the organization aims to offer inmates a productive and educational activity, with the belief that education is one of the best ways to prevent recidivism.
Volunteers pack the books in two sessions every week and send them to inmates who request them by letter. They select the books from a library of donated volumes, inspect them, and enclose a short, personal note in the package.
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Providence Books Through Bars, Inc.
Books Through Bars, Inc. provides free reading materials for prisoners across the country. Every month, it receives more than 120 letters from prisoners requesting books. The organization responds by sending donated volumes from individuals, libraries, and community organizations, making selections based on the stated preferences of the inmate. Reading the books provides a productive activity for the inmates and can help them develop politically, spiritually, and academically during their time in prison.