New Volunteers: Orientation this Sunday, November 30

Concerned about prison issues and want to get involved? Intrigued by the chance to make a concrete, personal difference in the lives of prisoners?

Join us for our next orientation session, led by one of our experienced volunteers—Sunday, November 30, 1–2pm, right before our regular 2–5pm work session. Get the details here.

If you can’t make it this week, plan now to join us for our next orientation. These monthly events usually take place the last Sunday of the month, but to better accommodate holiday travel and such, our next orientation will be Sunday, January 4. This might even tie in nicely to a New Year’s resolution or two. Volunteer? Meet new people? Save the world (or at least one small part of it)?

If you’re not often available on Sunday, check out other ways to get involved and help give women in prison the self-empowerment, education and entertainment that reading provides.

Maya Schenwar’s book, “Locked Down, Locked Out”, is out today!

Locked Down Locked Out cover

We’re delighted to share this message from Maya, a good friend of Chicago Books to Women in Prison:

Hope you are all having a wonderful fall. As many of you know, for the last couple of years, I have been writing a book. And now, bizarrely, it actually exists! It’s called Locked Down, Locked Out: Why Prison Doesn’t Work and How We Can Do Better, and it is out TODAY (coincidentally, my birthday)!

If you buy it today or anytime during the coming week, I’ll be donating my royalties to Marissa Alexander’s Legal Defense Fund. (Marissa is a Florida survivor of domestic violence who is facing 60 years in prison for firing a warning shot at the wall, to defend herself against her abusive husband.)

So, I have a couple of birthday wishes. I’m hoping you can take these steps, in exchange for my undying love and admiration, which you already have, but still:

1. Buy the book!

You can do that here: amazon.com/Locked-Down-Out-Prison-Doesnt/dp/1626562695
Or here: powells.com/biblio/9781626562691
Or here: womenandchildrenfirst.com/book/9781626562691

2. Spread the word! Email, tweet, Facebook, blog, etc.!
Here’s an image to assist with that.

Locked Down Locked Out

Thanks so much, everyone!

Love,
Maya

P.S.: Some nice things people said about the book:

“This book has the power to transform hearts and minds…. I turned the last page feeling nothing less than inspired.” —Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

“Maya Schenwar’s stories about prisoners, their families (including her own), and the thoroughly broken punishment system are rescued from any pessimism such narratives might inspire by the author’s brilliant juxtaposition of abolitionist imaginaries and radical political practices.” —Angela Y. Davis, author of Are Prisons Obsolete?

“This moving book makes a very important intervention into both the popular understanding and the political discussions about the devastating impact of mass imprisonment. In her riveting descriptions of what happens to individuals and families caught in the long reach of the prison nation, Schenwar makes a compelling case for prison abolition and reinvestment in communities. This book will change both what we understand about injustice and how we work for more logical and effective solutions.” —Beth E. Richie, author of Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America’s Prison Nation

New Volunteers: Orientation this Sunday, October 26

It’s easy to make a difference in a concrete, personal way in the lives of incarcerated women looking for the self-empowerment, education and entertainment that reading provides.

Join us for our next orientation session, led by one of our experienced volunteers. It takes place the last Sunday of each month, 1–2pm, right before our regular 2–5pm work session. Get the details here.

If you can’t make it this week, plan now to join us for the November 30 orientation. Not available on Sundays? There are lots of other ways to get involved and help get books in the hands of women in prison. We hope to see you soon!

“I, Junkie”—a Correction and the Poem

In 2007 we published Bound Struggles #6, our occasional anthology of writing by prisoners, including two poems submitted by Elizabeth Cardona titled “Junkie” and “Prisoner”. Recently we learned of a poem by Jeffrey Bardo, “I, Junkie”, that appeared in the 2005 Journal of the Prison Arts Program, published by Community Partners in Action, a Connecticut organization. (See below for the cover of this edition and the page on which his poem appeared.) In comparing “Junkie” and “Prisoner” with Mr. Bardo’s poem, it is clear that his work was plagiarized.

IJunkiePhotos

We are glad to give Mr. Bardo the credit he deserves and to publish his poem. Continue reading ‘“I, Junkie”—a Correction and the Poem’

Sunday, October 19—Books Behind Bars at Uncharted Books

Learn more about what we do and the difference it makes to the women we serve. We love Uncharted Books—they’ve been a good friend by helping us get hard-to-find books—and we appreciate Tanner’s support. Join us for:

Books Behind Bars
Hosted by Uncharted Books

Sunday, October 19, 6 p.m.
2620 N. Milwaukee (Kedzie & Milwaukee) in Logan Square
Light refreshments served

  • Hear guest speaker Reynolds Wintersmith—whose sentence was recently commuted by Presidential pardon after serving 20 years—on his experience and the importance of books for him in prison
  • Browse at Uncharted and buy books requested by the women we serve
  • Learn from our volunteers all the ways you can help provide books to people in prisons

Download event flyer

New Volunteers: Orientation this Sunday, September 28

If you’ve been thinking about getting involved, now’s the time. Join us for our next orientation session, led by one of our experienced volunteers. It takes place the last Sunday of each month, 1–2pm, right before our regular 2–5pm work session. Get the details here.
If you can’t make it this week, plan now to join us for the October 26 orientation. Not available on Sundays? There are lots of other ways to get involved and help get books in the hands of women in prison. We hope to see you soon!

“The End of Juvenile Prison” — Book Talk & Discussion — Sat., Sept. 13 in Evanston

Burning_Down_the_House

In her new book, Burning Down the House: The End of Juvenile Prison, award-winning journalist and advocate Nell Bernstein presents a critical look at the juvenile justice system. Continue reading ‘“The End of Juvenile Prison” — Book Talk & Discussion — Sat., Sept. 13 in Evanston’

Poem from Florida

Forgotten and Alone in Prison

Here I am locked up again,
with no family or loved ones near.
All that’s left inside of me
is the sadness and fear.
I pray to God for salvation and
to lead me in his precious grace.
As I beg him to show me mercy
as tears roll down my face.
As I lay here in my cell sitting on my bed,
I shed another tear, because I feel
I’ve been forgotten
by those I love so dear to me. Continue reading ‘Poem from Florida’

Letter from Florida

To the Book Angels —

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I recently received a package of books and they were wonderful. I live in an open quad with 70 other women and 10 Greyhounds (we do rehab training for retired racing Greyhounds to help with their adoptions) and everyone gets excited when we receive books. Everyone is usually good about sharing, as it is hard for some to get to the compound library. The latest editions were all from popular authors so they are making the rounds.

Once again I’m gong to request any of the latest bestsellers. Other popular titles have been requested too. Please send authors like Nora Roberts, Fern Michaels, Danielle Steele, Susan Monk, Meg Cabot, Southern authors, Patterson and Grisham, any vampire books and cookbooks. Believe me, any sent will be shared and enjoyed.

Sincerely,
Cathy C.

Special Requests and How You Can Help

See our Amazon Wish List for hard-to-find books that are often requested
The next time you place an order, why not select one (or more!) of the books on the list for us? This will help you meet the $35 minimum for free shipping and it’s easy to have the books for prisoners sent directly to us.

Check out our most recent special requests
Here are just a few of the hard-to-find books we could use right now. (Some are also on the wish list. Some may be on your shelves or in that box in the corner of your basement.) We’ll be updating this list as needed, but for starters: Continue reading ‘Special Requests and How You Can Help’


Help us fill special requests

Learn what we're looking for now (updated 11/24/14)

• Check out our Amazon Wish List

Donate quickly and easily

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