What attracted you about Books to Prisoners specifically?
There was a large list I was looking at, but I was attracted to BTP because I so believe that our prison system should be about rehabilitation, and this seemed like one concrete piece of that that I could contribute to.
As a volunteer, you spend a lot of time reading prisoners’ letters – are there any that stick out to you?
I wouldn’t say one in particular. But what impresses me about the letters is how thankful they are – most people spend their entire first paragraph thanking Books to Prisoners. And there are such a wide range of interests. And such an array of beautiful handwriting!
Is there anything that prisoners request that surprised you?
Dictionaries. I didn’t expect that.
Has your experience at Books to Prisoners impacted how you think about the correctional system?
Not really. I’m surprised that there are so many restrictions and I don’t know why prisons aren’t more open to books. That’s changed my view a little of prisons themselves; I assumed they would value books coming in. And I think they should.
As an organization centered on books, we’re always interested to know if you have any favorite books, authors, or genres?
I’m a sucker for self-help. I’m in the medical field. I just read You Are a Badass and I loved it – so funny!
The very first book I ever read from cover to cover, it was called Little Vick. I checked it out from the library and hid it under my bed – I lied to my parents and told them I returned it to the library.
Any words for people thinking of volunteering?
I think they should because it’s eye-opening, and it’s a really casual environment, a fun group of people, and the hours are great!