Prison Book Program

Impact: 220 prisoners will receive GED test preparation materials and dictionaries so they can earn a GED and have viable options for work when they are released.

The Prison Book Program (PBP) has a noble goal, support prisoners that genuinely want to change their lives. Prisoners have limited access to educational materials, and PBP provides them with free books for personal development during incarceration. They do so because education is a powerful tool that reduces the likelihood that a prisoner will return to the prison system.

According to the Department of Justice, 77% of prisoners have not received a high school diploma. Yet GEDs are necessary for almost any job, and a New York Department of Corrections study showed that prisoners who earn their GED are up to 14% less likely to return to prison within the next three years.

GED study guides and dictionaries are two of the most popular requests PBP receives. Since PBP relies almost entirely on donated books,

and since GED study guides and dictionaries are often in low supply, meeting the demand for these self-education books is an ongoing challenge. That’s where this PBP LEAP grant comes in.

The grant will provide GED test-preparation materials and dictionaries to 220 prisoners selected by the PBP. Six months after sending the GED study books, PBP will send a follow-up questionnaire regarding the prisoners’ progress towards their GED. To help ensure a higher-than-normal response rate, we will offer to prioritize the next book request of each respondent. In some cases, completed follow-up questionnaires will indicate successful completion of all five GED tests; for others it will indicate progress toward completion, such as upcoming test dates or a list of which assessments have been successfully completed thus far.

You might be surprised to learn how much and how often prisoners respond to and follow up with the Prison Book Program.