Pittsburgh’s Book’Em was created in 2000 when its founder, Etta Cetera, decided to do something about the nearly non-existent educational opportunities that U.S. prisons afford their inmates. Under-stocked libraries and convoluted book request systems make it difficult for prisoners who are trying to self-educate. Cetera started Book’Em to increase prisoners’ access to books, and after years of overwhelming community support, Book’Em has served approximately 33,000 prisoners throughout the state of Pennsylvania.
image via Book’em
Whether prisoners read in order to improve their understanding of the world or simply just to pass time, books have always held a special role in correctional facilities. “We believe that educating individuals during incarceration is an integral part of rehabilitation,” Book’Em shares on their website. “By using the time in prison to prepare for re-entry into society, ex-offenders will have a greater chance at living a productive life and be less likely to revert to a criminal lifestyle.”
Book’Em’s volunteer program meets on Sundays in order to respond to prisoners’ letters, select books that suits each inmate’s needs, and prepares educational packages for mailing. On their website, Book’Em has listed a wide variety of genres that they are looking for people to donate. The list covers everything from religious texts to guides on how to start your own business. This list illustrates the diverse ways in which prisoners can use books to improve their standing in life.
If you have any interest in donating, follow this link!
Featured Image Via: Legalvoice.org