Wisconsin Books to Prisoners (WBTP) is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization whose mission is to foster a love of reading behind bars, encourage the pursuit of knowledge and self-empowerment, and to help break the cycle of recidivism.
Who We Are
Active since 2006, WBTP is a project of A Room of One’s Own, an independent bookstore in Madison. The store offers a wide selection of current and classic fiction, nonfiction, and periodicals.
WBTP is also supported by Half Price Books, located on Madison’s east side, which offers a wide selection of new and used books that shoppers can choose to donate to WBTP.
In addition, Voyageur Book Shop, a used book store focused on providing the best selection of used books at a convenient location in Milwaukee, provides support to WBTP.
What We Do
Volunteers meet weekly to read letters from Wisconsin prisoners, select books from the WBTP library, prepare packages, and mail them.
Why We Do It
Incarcerated people face significant barriers to being able to access books and information. Prison libraries are often antiquated and poorly funded, and educational and vocational programs for prisoners are nearly non-existent. WBTP volunteers love to read and want to ensure the same freedom for those living behind bars. We believe that books are tools for learning and can open minds to new ideas and possibilities.
How You Can Help
Interested in volunteering? We are currently accepting applications from those who can commit to at least a year of service. Please tell us a little about yourself and your interest in this project when you email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And of course, we welcome financial contributions.
We are grateful for all your support.
News & Events
Wisconsin’s Prison, Jail Populations Plummet During Pandemic
by Corrinne Hess
Wisconsin Public Radio
The COVID-19 pandemic caused the inmate population at Wisconsin’s local jails to decline by more than one-third in 2020, according to a new report by the Wisconsin Policy Forum.
The Prison ‘Old-Timers’ Who Gave Me Life
by Darnell Epps
The New York Times
Aging inmates, some serving life sentences, helped author Darnell Epps turn his life around. He believes they could do even more good on the outside.
by Michelle Alexander
The New York Times
Recent criminal justice reforms contain the seeds of a frightening system of “e-carceration.” This article is an addendum to Michelle Alexander’s 2010 eye-opening book The New Jim Crow.