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Books For Prisoners

Books for Prisoners TYRO Blog

Books for prisoners

Books are so important to someone in prison. Whether reading was part of their routine or not, once someone goes to prison they often begin to read, I mean read a lot! So, what are they reading and how do they get books?

Well, the prison library and chapel offer a variety of books to entertain, inspire, or equip. These are really great resources, but there is nothing that replaces the feeling of getting a new book—one of your very own. Most of the time, you can send a book directly to someone in prison if you send it directly from the publisher or a distribution company (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.). It is pretty rare for an individual to be able to send a book directly to someone in prison. However, if you already have a book that you really want to share with your loved one who is in prison, you should check with the chaplain to find out if there is an allowable way to send the book yourself.

There are some really good books to send someone in prison.

book pages read literature tyro  blogBut how do you know what is the best book for someone in jail or prison? Ask them what they are most interested in. If they are really concerned about how their family is going to make it through this experience, the best book for incarcerated people wanting to build their family stronger is our book, High Five: Love Never Fails. You can order the book on Amazon to be shipped directly to them. You can even get a free High Five e-book for yourself so you can read it, too!

I know this may sound a little self-promoting, but I wish I had known this when we first started our prison journey! We developed this book from our own family’s experience with incarceration. While Ron served 15 years, we learned a lot about what it takes to stay together and to build our family stronger in spite of the imprisonment. Prison is a terrible and extremely painful experience, but you can still learn wonderful lessons and position your family for growth and success so you come out better and not bitter. High Five will help you connect in ways you didn’t even imagine possible.

A book I think is invaluable for someone in prison is a Bible.

There is no substitute for faith in overcoming all that life throws at you. In prison, faith is the most important ground they have to walk on every day of their sentence. A Bible will provide so much inspiration, guidance, and comfort. It will build their faith so they will be ready to face the difficulties in society as they re-enter after prison.

There are many other helpful books and resources. I have shared a list of books from the Prisoner’s Family Conference’s website below to help you find good resources. I have read some, not all of these books, but I know PFC is a wonderful resource for families who are impacted by incarceration! Check out their website here.

Checking in with the person who is in prison to find out what they are most interested in is really important. Reading should not only provide them with valuable information and skills to help them through the prison experience, but it should also provide them with an escape into another world entered by reading for pleasure. This will help them maintain their emotional and mental health as well as spark their imagination. A balance of reading for growth and reading for recreation is important, so have fun choosing books and magazines that will help your loved one along on your journey together. Remember, reading provides the same benefits for your mental and emotional health! Don’t forget to get your FREE copy of High Five, Love Never Fails to help you. Just follow the link.

Don’t give up, keep your chin up, and keep fighting for your legacy.

We are rooting for you!




high five the tijerina story

High Five

By: Ron and Catherine Tijerina
An engaging narrative and a blueprint for family success. The book begins with the Tijerina family sharing how they beat impossible odds to thrive throughout Ron’s wrongful incarceration. The Tijerinas compellingly share 5 principles that enabled them to overcome unimaginable obstacles in order to help their readers build strong, resilient families like theirs. – The Tijerinas are co-founders of The RIDGE Project, based in Ohio. They have served as keynote speakers at two Prisoner’s Family Conferences. Available on

the unvarnished truth tyro blogThe Unvarnished Truth About the Prison Family Journey

By: Carolyn Esparza, LPC & Phillip Yow
This powerful road map for navigating the entire prison family journey from arrest, through the legal process, into the darkness of prison and back into the challenges of society. The book provides insight and guidelines for all affected by the criminal justice system. The book is also being used as the text and supplemental reading for college and university classes. An insightful and supportive guide for anyone affected by the criminal justice system, personally or professionally.

the symbolic inprisonment tyro blogThe Symbolic Imprisonment of African American Women

By: Avon Hart-Johnson, PhD
A journey of discovery in the lives of African American women with incarcerated mates through the women’s voices, conveying their grief, personal and society challenges and prison experiences. The author shares the challenges in recognizing this phenomenon and informs us of the trauma of separation and loss and resultant Vicarious Imprisonment. The book provides client-centered recommendations to address the social stigma and trauma experienced by these women. An excellent guide for ministries and helping professionals.

how to get your kid off drugsHow to Get Your Kid OFF DRUGS

By: Scott Wisenbaker
Addiction consumes the lives and becomes the impetus for the incarceration of tens of thousands of individuals annually. Scott Wisenbaker, long time addiction treatment provider, says , “I wrote this for those consumed with trying to keep their loved one alive. I tell you exactly what to do and how to do it. I have been clean and sober since March 20, 1995. For years, I struggled with addictions and as a result was arrested many times. After years of losing everything I held dear, I was finally brought to my knees inside a jail when I realized I would never be free if I continued in my addiction. So why would you listen to anything I have to say? I understand the mind of an addict and have successfully helped thousands take control of their addiction and return to being productive members of their families and society. Find Scott’s book here.

 they took mty parent away tyro blog

NEW! Video-Book, partially narrated by small children.

They Took My Parent Away: Little Ones Affected by Incarceration Speak

By: Michael Trout, Director The Infant-Parent Institute
As though hearing directly from five preschool children, this emotionally sensitive yet powerful 17 minute video sheds light on what very small children experience when their parent is incarcerated. The video-book offers excellent thought provocation for holding awareness dialogues and enlightening community members who may not recognize the emotional impact of parental incarceration. The book is offered free from it’s producer by visiting the Infant-Parent Institute website, where other informative resources are also available. Thank you to Michael Trout for sharing this insight with us.

felonism hating in plain sight tyro blogFelonism: Hating in Plain Sight

By: Linda & Andy Polk
This collection of true stories and interviews with convicts, family members, parole officers and prison staff presents the fabric of an institutionalized, systemic oppression of individuals suspected or convicted of a felony and as those who love and support them. The cycle of discrimination continues when members of prison staff are concerned about losing their pensions for being “inmate friendly,” loved ones of prisoners are publicly berated and returning citizens are segregated from mainstream housing, careers and support. Confronted with documentation of a national trend of organized oppression, this book reveals a pattern of racism, dysfunctional politics, cruelty, and a network of “for-profit” companies that have become part of America’s culture. Problems are rarely fixed until they are given a name, so ex-con Andy Polk and retired school teacher and social worker, Linda Polk, coined the term “Felonism” to shine a light on who really benefits from this dangerous neo-classism/racism. This book provides terminology currently lacking in the national conversation about our shared prejudices and offers solutions for healing our broken criminal “justice” system. Available here.

books for prisoners TYRO blog Tips to Navigate the Journey When Your Child is Incarcerated

By: Monalisa Johnson
This free e-book written by the mother of an incarcerated daughter offers encouragement for those having an incarcerated child. So devastated was the author by her daughter’s ten year prison sentence that she volunteered herself to become a prisoner for the A & E television series “60 Days In,” to learn more fully how her daughter was being affected by the incarceration experience. She hoped the experience might help her help her daughter prepare for community re-entry and family reunification.

The darkest hour tyro blogThe Darkest Hour – Shedding Light on the Impact of Isolation and Death Row in Texas Prisons

By: Dr. Betty Gilmore and Nanon M. Williams
A powerful view of the widespread impact of extreme isolation experienced by thousands of incarcerated individuals – many of whom will be integrated back into society. While the book presents an in-depth view of the Texas prison system, the information is relevant to all prison systems. Available here.

Family arrested tyro blogFamily Arrested

By: Ann Edenfield
Faced with the incarceration of her husband, Ann Edenfield discusses how to survive the prison system and shares a glimpse into this frightening and rarely discussed world. She guides the reader through stages of incarceration that anyone facing the imprisonment of a loved one experiences. Her honesty and practical advice will benefit anyone trying to understand the confusing world of America’s prison system. The book may be ordered through Wings For LIFE International.


An Anthology: Opening the Door to the Prison CultureAn Anthology: Opening the Door to the Prison Culture

Compilation of prisoners’ writings
A revealing, often surprising perspective of the prisoner and the prison culture. Poignant memoirs, humor, compassion and tales of intrigue written by prisoners from across the country and submitted to the InterNational Prisoner’s Family Conference Creative Writing Competition are compiled into this anthology. The exceptionally well written works provide a unique and rarely seen perspective of the prison culture.
Click here to purchase for 20.00 including s/h through Paypal. All proceeds are applied to the annual prisoners’ creative arts competition and the production of the conference.

Zek an american prison story TYRO blogZek

By: Arthur Longworth
First place winner in the 2016 InterNational Prisoner’s Conference Creative Writing Competition, the author was born in Tacoma, Washington, was state-raised, and entered prison at the age of 21 with a seventh-grade education. He is widely published and has won numerous writing awards. Completed in 2005, Zek tells the story of a day in the life of a prisoner in the United States. He’ll likely never see the outside world again. Sent to the hole, he chances upon a deteroriating book. Intending to savor it a little at a time, he emerges a few hours later, the book finished–changed. Zek lays bare the brutality of a life spent behind bars. It is naked. It is ugly. And it is beautiful. Zek is likely Arthur Longworth’s most widely read work, as it has been passed among prisoners and prison guards for over a decade. Zek is available now for the first time in print on the outside.

Category: FAITH-BASED/INSPIRATIONAL- Ministry/Spiritual

Ministry Between the walls TYRO blogMinistry Between the Walls

From: Mercy Heart
Ministry Between the Walls is the definitive manual on doing a church ministry with families in the crisis of incarceration, stranded between the walls of the “prison house” and “church house”. This one-hundred and sixty-two page manual includes how to plan, organize, recruit and train church volunteers to partner with families to find life beyond incarceration. Phone for details on manual and entirety of ministry programs: 817-285-6018

Scripture Cat TYRO BlogScripture Cat

By: Kelly Quickel
A delightful children’s book based on a “true story” and written from the perspective of a family cat (Oliver) who had been rescued from a dumpster by a Christian family. He soon realizes the truth of the Word of the Bible as he sits in their laps as they read their morning devotionals. Everyone notices the calming effect the passages have over his wild-self, including Oliver. Authored by the adult child of a prisoner, this relatable character inspires and teaches through stories mirroring true challenges addressed in a comical and whimsical way. Available on


From Inmate to Mayor TYRO Blog

From Inmate to Mayor

By: Franklin Deese
Convicted of robbery, Franklin Deese was ironically sentenced to a system designed to rob a person of all future potential. In 1989 he was paroled into society with the clothes on his back and $30.00 in his pockets; facing mountains that can only be imagined. Today Deese is the only African American in the country to serve over 10 years in prison and then be elected (in the same city) as mayor! Learn how this was possible, in his best-selling book “From Inmate To Mayor.”

Second Chances TYRO Blog

Second Chances

By: Chuck Gallagher

In the prime of life Chuck Gallagher made some bad career choices that landed him behind bars. In this deeply personal and compelling book, he comes clean about his life-changing experience-and it might just change your life, too. Today Chuck Gallagher is an internationally recognized motivational speaker. He has been a keynote at several Prisoner’s Family Conferences. His interactive approach and keen wit are definitely motivating and always appreciated. To learn more about Chuck and his book, Second Chances, visit his website.

NUMBER 344317 NUMBER 344317

By: Zackery Max Driver
Through the words of one whose life was wrought with sex abuse, domestic violence, addiction and incarceration, and who overcame these obstacles even while incarcerated with a relentless pursuit of higher understanding, Spiritual enlightenment and Liberation, this book gleams on the misuse of prison to solve these problems, and sparks hope in the power of self determination and the will to heal and realize true freedom individually and collectively as a global community. Available here.