Books to Prisoners will use these funds to purchase and mail books to incarcerated individuals who request materials on forming and maintaining a business or nonprofit.
In a sample of incoming prisoner requests in 2013, we found that slightly more than 10% of letters—approximately 1,200 letters each year—contained a request for materials on entrepreneurship and related materials, including business finance and nonprofit grant-writing and work. Unfortunately, as Books to Prisoners is reliant upon books donated by community members, this sample also revealed that we received enough donated materials to fulfill fewer than 30% of these requests successfully. Many of the donations of books about business concerned the biographies of successful business leaders or were very outdated, indicating a significant need for more appropriate books.
This grant will be used to purchase books to fulfill three months of requests. Given our sample, we anticipate that approximately 300 individuals will request books in these categories. The grant will purchase for 50 grant writing books, 50 books about working at a nonprofit, 50 books about nonprofit accounting and financing, and 150 books on entrepreneurship. It will also purchase the shipping materials for all 300 packages and the costs of printing feedback requests for inclusion in each package of books. We will supply the postage for each package from our general operating funds.
This contribution will benefit individual prisoners by assisting the attainment of goals related to successful entrepreneurship and related vocational goals. This will further benefit the communities to which prisoners return by potentially increasing the local economic activity and decreasing the rates of recidivism as formerly incarcerated persons obtain and maintain careers. These expectations are backed by studies that consistently demonstrate that educational and vocational training in prison are cost-effective measures for reducing recidivism and for increasing post-release employment. One such study, released in 2013 by the Rand Corporation, revealed a 43% lower rate of recidivating and 13% higher employment rates among inmates who participated in such training.