Project - Freedom Reads

Freedom Reads

Twenty-three years after his release from prison, Reginald Dwayne Betts and his team have built Freedom Reads, a way to slide books — as someone once did to him — to readers in prison across the country. These books open worlds and change lives

With the Freedom Library and with their literary programs, Freedom Reads supports the efforts of people in prison to imagine new possibilities for their lives. Freedom begins with a book.

To create Freedom Libraries, they partnered with the MASS Design Group to create a modular, flexible, and deployable bookshelves with intermittent seating, customizable to distinct settings: from a corner of the dayroom to a converted cell. Combining beauty and dignity, the Freedom Libraries seek to create a space in prisons to encourage community, the full realization of the self and the exploration of new possibilities.

The Freedom Libraries expand on the idea of library book carts, by creating a permanent locations in prison housing units for people to access books.

Besides books, Freedom Reads is bringing their authors into prisons. As it is incredibly difficult to become something you cannot see, and most people in prison will never meet a writer in person, it is therefore difficult to imagine lives and spaces that are invisible to someone. Likewise the majority of contemporary writers will have never seen the inside of a prison. Our Literary Ambassadors program bridges these two worlds, letting incarcerated readers see, hear and ask authors how they create their work.