NGO Representatives

Jordan D. Longo - Books Through Bars Director of Recruiting
Hunter H. Godfrey - Assistant to the Director

NGO Overview, Mission, and Purpose: What We Are About and Who We Help

We at Books Through Bars are determined to improve the quality of the United States incarceration system. The way we do this is by providing the inmates with educational opportunities that are all too often denied from them. To accomplish this, we work tirelessly to deliver books to prisons to provide the educational opportunities that inmates so desperately need. Additionally, we also help run educational courses in prisons, and encourage learning. We also respond personally to letters from prisoners in helping them seek the educational opportunities they need. We currently are based in and work to better the state of Pennsylvania, but are a growing organization, with divisions in other regions such as in New York. According to a report in 2011 from the Pennsylvania State Auditor General, 46% of Pennsylvania State inmates are incarcerated for nonviolent offenses, such as drug-related infractions, forgery, or receiving stolen property. Yet they are denied education, enlightenment, and ultimately a way to escape the ensnaring prison cycle.

Studies have shown that education greatly reduces the factor of recidivism, or the number of repeat offenders re-entering the prison cycle. By educating the inmates of the prison system, we can reduce our incredibly high prison spending while promising better futures for inmates and giving them a chance to redeem their lives.

While doing all this, we also coordinate rallies, protests, and other events to educate the public and speak out against mass incarceration and its implications.

NGO "Bottom Line": How Me Make an Impact

We fight for the people who have had their futures denied to them, those who believe that their fates are sealed in doom, and for those who believe that the evil cannot be purged from their hearts.

Each and every month, we send on average over 2,000 packages of books to prisons for the betterment of the prisoners incarcerated there. In doing so, we also save hundreds of books from landfills, help better the lives and opportunities for prisoners and reforming their habits, and work towards better spending in terms of the U.S. prison system.

As we do this, we call upon the nation to better examine the penitentiary system as a whole. While our focus is the intellectual betterment of prisoners, we seek to reform the deeply-flawed mass incarceration system that our country is plagued by. We seek to make the system less hostile towards prisoners. In its current state, it greatly promotes recidivism of its inhabitants. We wish to promote the futures of inmates, rather than punishing them further for their pasts.

This is the goal, and education is the muscle.

NGO Organization Details and Location: Headquarters and Global Outreach

We are based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. However, we also work in New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia in pursuit of our larger-scale goal of prison reform.

Our main headquarters are located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and can be found at:
4722 Baltimore Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19143

NGO Job Openings: Who, Why, Where, When, and for How Much?

We are always searching for active volunteers willing to step forward to quell recidivism.

At the moment, the help we are seeking comes best from working with the prison letters and the books. We need people who can do the following:

Book Selection and Packaging

We need volunteers who can read the letters of prisoners requesting books, search through our book inventories, and find the selection that best correlates with their request. We also need people to box, package, and mail the books.

We host regular book-packing events at our Pennsylvania HQ on the following days, most every week:

  • Tuesday night, 7:30 - 9:30 P.M.
  • Afternoon of the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month, 11:00 A.M. - 2:00 P.M.

Letter Processing, Reading, and Sorting

Each week, we at Books Through Bars receive hundreds of letters from prisoners. After receiving the training we are willing to provide to volunteers, they can help by reading each letter, sorting and categorizing it properly, and entering it in our letter database. Though volunteers will need to report to our offices to pick up and drop off letters, with the proper expertise, they can do this work from home; all that is needed is merely a working computer and internet connection.

Driving - Pickup and Delivery

We are always in need of transportation of book deliveries, and are thankful for any help available. However, you will need both your own car and readily available gas supply.

Librarian, Administration, Coordinator, etc.

We need people who can help organize and shelf books in our various libraries.

We also have a need of volunteers able to respond to prisons, organize, and do other miscellaneous office tasks.

You can help also by joining the fundraising committee, host our book-packing sessions, or fill our staff positions, should you qualify.


If you have special skills, such as writing ability, artistic skills, fundraising experience, are a talented blogger, or anything else, let us know by emailing us at volunteer@booksthroughbars.org. We may have special positions available to you as a volunteer.

Donation, Miscellaneous

Miscellaneous help, though not directly affiliated with us, can greatly benefit our organization and our cause. You can do so in a variety of ways.
  • Donate money, books, office supplies, or laptops.
  • Host an event to educate your community about the prison system. You'll need to acquire a space to do so. Contact us to coordinate, and we can provide you with an experienced speaker to assist in the event.
  • Print out our flyers and post them, spread the word, or raise awareness about our organization and cause.
  • Print or sponsor a print of the Jailhouse Lawyers Manual, a 158-page handbook that we frequently are in need of copies of.

Why You Should Join Us...

Though we employ volunteer supporters rather than paid workers, we believe that the experience can be as enriching for you as it is to the recipients of our efforts. We need support, and are always looking for help. There is a myriad of ways you can support our organization and/or our cause, listed above.

Our NGO Website