#PagesOverProfit: Stop the BOP from Restricting Access to Books in Prisons.

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People in prison need books, letters, and emails to learn new skills, stay in contact with family, and prepare themselves for reentering society. It’s one of the most key parts of rehabilitation. That's why it's so concerning that the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is considering a policy to severely restrict books at federal prisons.

The new policy would ban all books sent to prisons from vendors like Amazon or Barnes & Noble, one of the most popular ways that inmates receive books: "Books from a publisher, bookstore, book club, or friends and family will no longer be accepted through the mail.” Incarcerated people would be required to submit electronic requests to staff, specifying the book title, author, edition, and International Standard Book Number. They are charged the retail price plus a 30% markup in addition to shipping costs. Money should not be a prerequisite to read!

These restrictions were already put in place in four federal prisons but thankfully, under pressure from families and inquiries from the Washington Post, federal prison officials rescinded memos from those prisons on May 3 and said the policy is now under review.

Lets make sure this policy stays reversed and is not implemented system wide. Please sign this petition to the BOP demanding prisoners have access to books.

I grew up with my father in federal prison. I became an author, writing about that experience, and I know how important reading and education is not just for people in prison, but for their families. Reading has the power to uplift and empower men, women, and children impacted by mass incarceration and preventing these families from sending books and cards to their loved ones is not just counterproductive, it’s cruel.

Why would the BOP take away the most powerful mechanism that can improve the lives of incarcerated persons? A 2013 RAND Corporation study showed that prison education was associated with an over 40% reduction in recidivism.  Being able to receive books and other literature while incarcerated tremendously increases the chances of success upon release.

Sign this petition to let the BOP know that we need #PagesoverProfit!