Bookmates 4 Inmates

There are 7 Acts of Mercy.

Most people know:
 
§  Feed the Hungry
§  Give drink to the Thirsty
§  Shelter the Homeless
§  Clothe the Naked
§  Visit the Sick
§  Bury the Dead
 
There is one more act of mercy, that many people simply put out of our minds; comforting the imprisoned. 
 
The founder of Bookmates4Inmates  began writing inmates to provide friendship, and encouragement.  He soon became aware that the need far exceeded one person’s abilities.  What was discovered is that when an offender was sent a book; that book would get passed to another offender, and then another. One book provided entertainment and comfort to many inmates.  Like a single pebble tossed into a pond, the ripples continued to expand.  Thus, Bookmates4Inmates was created.

How it works
 
Bookmates4Inmates started on October 15, 2018.  Since then we have sent out over 700 new books.  Our program is interactive.  Based on information obtained from the application, the first book is sent to the inmate.  All books must be sent from a 3rd party supplier,  we use Amazon.  Concurrently, a book review form is mailed to the inmate.  When that book review is completed and returned, the inmate is allowed to request another book, and the process begins again.  If a book review isn’t received, the process ends.  If you want to know what inmates think of a particular book or author, visit our website. 
 
At this time, Bookmates4Inmates serves only women in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ).  This decision was initially made as a beta test.  It soon became obvious that with limited resources, it was best to focus on this segment of the population of inmates.  Hopefully this will change as time and resources dictate.  This is an ongoing campaign.

One new book sent to an inmate gets passed around so that other inmates get to enjoy.  Eventually many books get put into the prison facility library. A book which cost less than $20, which is read by 100 inmates breaks down to less than 25 cents per person.  They truly are gifts which keep on giving.

Bookmates4Inmates is blessed to have supporters on the inside.  Inmates that have the ability to report to us by phone.  We call these lovely women, our Book Whisperers.  They continue to be a valuable resource, but were indispensable in the beginning.  They were able to identify confusion in the applications and process.
 
Website

At the time the idea of Bookmates4Inmates was being conceived, the founder was communicating with several inmates and discovered the great need to have contact with the “free” world.  

Bookmates4Inmates.com  offers free pen pal profiles so that inmates may connect with people who appreciate the same book genre and authors.   Many incarcerated have been abandoned by family and friends.  They receive little personal mail, no visitors and many have no access to even a photo of themselves which we are willing to post on their profile page.  We have posted over 300 FREE profiles on our website.  
 
FAQ
 
Why does Bookmates4Inmates…
 
…Send only new books to inmates?
The purpose of Bookmates4Inmates is not only to provide books to inmates, it’s to provide comfort and encouragement to those who may not have anyone else from the outside active in their daily life. Receiving a book lets an inmate know someone is aware of their existence and cares about them.
 
…send to individual inmates, instead of the facility library? 
One poignant story was shared through one of our Book Whisperers.  One young woman received a new book and she started crying.  When asked why she was crying; she said, “I’ve never received a book where I was the first one to get to read it.”  A little thing we take for granted, like a new book, is more precious than gold when you are incarcerated.
 
How does Bookmates4Inmates plan to use donations?
 
Books for inmates, office supplies, paper, envelopes, ink and especially postage.
 
A few comments to Bookmates4Inmates from those incarcerated
 
“Throughout my incarceration, books have always played a big part in my life.  I’ve been a librarian and now I am a Braille transcriber, creating books for the blind.”  B.H.   Mountain View
 
“Thank you so much for the new book!  I was definitely ecstatic.”   L.D.   Hilltop Unit
 
“I not only recommend this book to my friends, it’s being passed around my dorm right now and stealing hearts along with it.”  S.C.   Mountain View Unit
 
“When I read books it helps take me away from this place and puts me in that world and their lives.  The books I read touch me and I can feel what they feel and are going through. I really enjoy reading, it is relaxing. Thank you for what you are doing, it means a lot.”   V.K.   Murray Unit
 
“It was very uplifting and encouraging.  I will read it twice.”   L.W.   Mountain View Unit
 
“This book is very good…. It is now in our library.” M.M.  Mountain View Unit
 
“By the way, thank you for all you do!  It is very much appreciated.  This is awesome!”   A.M.  Hilltop Unit
 
“Thank you kindly for the books.  You really don’t know how much they are appreciated.  May God Bless ya and keep you.  May God shine His face upon you wherever you go.”   A.G.   Marlin Unit
 
“Thank you !  Thank you !  You’re in my prayers all the time!”   M.M.  Mountain View Unit
 
“Thank you Bookmates4inmates.  I love your new site and opportunity to get involved in something I love to do – read books!   Please send more soon.”   L.G.  Mountain View Unit
 
“I will certainly pass this book around for others.”  L.W.   Mountain View Unit
 
“Thank you for the smiles”   S.C.  Mountain View Unit
 
“Thank you so much.   God Bless and Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.  You are a true blessing to us women.  ‘God is able to bless you abundantly so that in all things at all times having all you need you abound in every good work.’  2 Corinthians 9:8.”   M.M.  Crain Unit
 
“I am quite impressed with this resource.  It has been so helpful in assisting me to prepare my Doctoral dissertation.”   E.M.   Hilltop Unit
 
“P.S. Thank you so much for everything you do!”  H.C.   Murray Unit
 
“Thank you all so very much.  Your company is awesome for doing this for us.”   T.D.   Murray Unit
 
“Thank you so much for your generous ministry.”   H.T.   Mountain View Unit
 
“Thank you for the chance to READ.  It’s a 2nd heartbeat.  Especially to those incarcerated.  God bless you all.”   E.H.  Murray Unit
 
“I love the bookmarks too!”   V.K.   Murray Unit
 
“Thank you for making me a part of Bookmates4inmates.”  C.B.   Crain Unit
 
“Thank you for the bookmarks and books.  May God bless you for blessing us.”   M.M.  Crain Unit
 
“Thank you!  Thank you! Thank you!”   L.K.   Crain Unit
 
“Thank you so much.  Receiving, reading and rating books is so much fun.  This is truly a blessing and I’m grateful.”  K.M.   Mountain View Unit

Will you please consider helping us encourage others through the gift of books?  We are also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Please follow us as our journey continues.

Donations

  • Erica Ware 
    • $25 
    • 7 mos
  • Heather Stokes 
    • $100 
    • 7 mos

Organizer 

Rick Stokes 
Organizer
Palm Springs, CA
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