Words Stretching Beyond Bars & Walls, Since 1994
For over 25 years, the Women’s Prison Book Project (WPBP) has provided women and transgender persons in prison with free reading materials covering a wide range of topics from law and education (dictionaries, GED, etc.) to fiction, politics, history, and women’s health. We are an all-volunteer, grassroots organization. We build connections with those behind the walls, and educate those of us on the outside about the realities of prison and the justice system.
During this pandemic, no population has been hit harder than the incarcerated. With lockdowns, isolation and heightened uncertainty inside prison, our services are in demand more than ever. WPBP is ready to meet this moment, but we need your help.
When the pandemic first reached Minnesota, WPBP took a hiatus from in-person mailings. Instead, volunteers wrote to our customers to let them know we still cared. We heard back in droves. Here is just one letter, from Synthia:
Since the Covid-19 has hit, everything in our facility has turned into chaos. [...] It’s scary experiencing a pandemic especially behind these walls. We don’t have access to receiving new reading or learning materials. That’s why I am so grateful and appreciative of your services. [...] Receiving Oliver’s [volunteer] letter was very comforting and was received in a time of need. I was feeling alone and full of worry of the unknown.
Synthia, June 2020
Motivated by what we were hearing, we began to hold small volunteer mailings outdoors. Working at twice our normal pace to capitalize on the remaining good weather, we caught up with our backlog of requests and provided books to more than 1800 women -- in ten short weeks.
We are now looking ahead to winter. To hold safe volunteer mailings indoors, we moved into a roomier space with better ventilation. Our ability to make this huge change, in the middle of a pandemic and uncertain economy, is only possible because of past donations by people like you.
Now, we're asking for your financial support. $40 sends books to ten women; $400 covers a week of postage; $1500 can purchase a month's worth of priority books we don't receive through donations -- addiction/recovery workbooks, legal self-help, GED prep and more.
Thank you for your past support, and for your continued support in these uncertain times. Without you, WPBP simply would not exist!