Books for Prisoners


For over twenty-five years, Wisdom’s Books for Prisoners Program has strived to provide the resources of Buddhism to incarcerated individuals. We have been in contact with more than two thousand prisoners, donating more than 12,000 books. In addition, we’ve also provided many thousands of books to various prison Dharma programs, including Liberation Prison Project, Prison Dharma Network, and Buddhist Peace Fellowship. Each week we receive letters from prisoners, requesting books or sharing touching stories of how they have benefited from the teachings on compassion, mindfulness, and liberation found in our books. Wisdom has an ongoing commitment to this program and to respond positively to all requests.

We are always moved by the expressions of gratitude that we receive from prisoners, some of which you can read below.

Prison Project - Buddha ArtworkWisdom receives many beautiful works of art made by prisoners. To the right is Shakyamuni Buddha (1999, Oil on Canvas, 14”x19”) by Chris.

“I am most grateful for the books you have provided me. My mother said recently that over the past five years she had seen the anger melt away from my letters. Much of this is due to your help.”

“You have helped me construct a meditation practice that has enabled me to turn off the crazy prison noise to be able to play with my mind pretty much everyday.”—J.T.

“I truly consider you all as embodiments of Avalokiteshvara-Kuan Yin—helping to pass on the Dharma so all beings can hear the voice of the World-Honored-One and find lasting peace and joy.”—L.D.

The books I have received from you have helped change the way I perceive my stay in prison and better deal with everyday problems.”—B.T

“Incarceration provides excellent opportunity for reflection ad meditation for any willing to follow the path. Those efforts have been rewarding to me. I am at peace with myself, my fellow man, have had no disciplinary incidents in the past five years, and now have one of the best and most responsible of prison jobs. When I was transferred to this institution, I had to leave most of my possessions behind at the previous institution. I donated the books you provided me to the Sangha at that place, where I hope they will prove as valuable to others as they were to me.”—B.V.

“Let me begin with a sincere thank you for your kindness and generosity over the past six years that I have been incarcerated. The books you have sent me were often my only connection to the sanity of the Dharma. They provided light and inspiration through some very difficult days.”—R.H.

“With body, speech and mind I prostrate to you and all who aspire to preserve the precious teachings through skillful means, to all the Compassionate Ones who struggle and suffer every moment that we may find our release from our three-tiered pain, without regard to their own benefit, and to those Ultimate Conquerors who have defeated all obstacles for our benefit.”—D.C.

Any and all support that you can offer to Wisdom will help us continue with our Books for Prisoners Program. Please click the Donate Now button below to make a donation. If you wish to mail a donation directly, please make the check out to Wisdom Books for Prisoners Program, and send it to our offices at 199 Elm Street, Somerville MA 02144. You can also make a donation over the phone by calling us at 617-776-7416, ext. 25.

We look forward to working with you towards the compassionate goals of this program.

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