Who we are
Asheville Prison Books is a volunteer-run collective which has distributed free literature to people incarcerted in the southeast since 1999. We currently distribute books to North and South Carolina.
What we do
Incarcerated people send us mail directly to request reading materials. Requests may be general, such as asking for a genre, or very specific, such as certain titles or authors. We have a library of mostly donated books to pull from and try to fulfill the requests as best we can. We then package the books up and mail them out.
Why we do it
We send books to folks who are locked up because it is one of the best ways we have found to reach through the bars and show solidarity with the people trapped behind them. As a project rooted in anti-authoritarian politics, Prison Books rejects the idea that incarcerated people are the enemy, and instead identifies prison itself as the enemy. Prison is a tool the State uses to uphold an unjust social and economic order based in large part on white supremacy; as such, we feel that finding ways to connect with, humanize and meet the every day needs of incarcerated people is a crucial part of challenging the existence and legitimacy of this repressive institution. If you're unfamiliar with critiques of the US prison system or would like to learn more, check out our list of books, videos, and audio on the subject.
How we use donations
Asheville Prison Books is completely volunteer operated. All donations go towards shipping and materials.
Write to us
Inmates can write to us at the following address to request books:
Asheville Prison Books Program
c/o Downtown Books and News
67 N. Lexington Ave.
Asheville, NC 28801
Please include your number and let us know about any book restrictions at your facility. We love to receive art as well. Let us know if you're comfortable with us posting it on our website (and how you'd like to be credited).