The Prison Books Collective is a Chapel Hill, NC-based anti-prison group that sends hundreds of books to prisoners in the South each month, maintains an extensive radical ‘zine catalog, widely distributes a monthly poster promoting political prisoner support, and publishes prisoners’ art and writing. We also work to raise awareness about the prison-industrial complex in our own community and connect with others seeking to abolish this brutally racist and repressive system. We are an official commercial distributor and publisher affiliated with Internationalist Books and Community Center.
Our collective formed in early Spring of 2006 with the purpose of getting reading materials into the “gulag archipelago” that is the US prison system. In geographic coordination with similar groups, we ended up reaching out primarily to prisoners in Mississippi, Alabama, and central and eastern North Carolina. Through this process, our group has become something of a lifeline for thousands upon thousands of people who otherwise are completely disconnected from any support base whatsoever. With the goals of providing vital political and self-educational resources to prisoners, as well as spreading a radical critique of the prison system on both sides of the wall, our group has expanded to include several different projects. These now include the free books program, our ‘zine catalog, ourWords of Fire publication of prisoners’ work, political prisoner birthday posters and our regular prison abolitionist reading group.