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Old Book

Books Behind Bars

We have distributed over 100,000 books on mindfulness, meditation, and Buddhism to prisoners through this project since 1989. Prisoners send us a constant flow of thank you letters telling us how even one book has radically changed their life. For most prisoners, books are the only access they have to dharma teachings.

All books donated are donated to us by people like you. 



 "During my time in prison, like most prisoners, I’ve done a lot of reflecting on my life.  Like anyone else, in prison or out, I’ve had high and low points, pleasure and pain.  But one thing that’s remained constant since my teens is loneliness."
~Prisoner Tommy M.


Read an article "Books Changed My Life" by Tommy 

Map of U.S. Prisons Served

A map of many of the prisons we have served through our Books Behind Bars Project:

View U.S. Prisoners Served by PMI in a larger map

Family Members:
If you are a family member of a prisoner who would like books, please use this contact form to send us an email.

Books Behind Bars for Chaplains and Prison Libraries PMI also provides bulk shipments of books on meditation, Buddhism, and other contemplative practices and teachings from the world's great faith and wisdom traditions to prison chaplains and prison libraries. If you are a chaplain or prison librarian and would like us to send you books, please use our contact form to send us a message.

Book Donations

Paperbacks only, please!

NO magazines!


Prisons do not accept these items.

If you would like to send us books, please use the contact form below to send us a message. Please let us know what type of books you have to offer and we will email you back with information on where to send them.


Books on beginning meditation or mindfulness practice (examples: Pema Chodron, Joseph Goldstein, Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzberg, Cheri Huber, Jon-Kabat Zinn, etc) are needed most. Please do not send books with multiple copies of the same book without contacting us first (see below). 

Thank you!

Please send books (via media mail) to:

Prison Mindfulness Institute

PO Box 206

South Deerfield, MA 01373

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