Online Book Drive Seeks to Help Reformed Prisoners

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A new donation drive is helping put books into the hands of prisoners, who can use them to educate themselves and prepare for a new life on the outside.

A new donation drive is helping put books into the hands of prisoners, who can use them to educate themselves and prepare for a new life on the outside.

Though the millions of incarcerated Americans are largely forgotten behind bars, a new donation drive aims to put helpful books in the hands of prison inmates across the country. Prison ministries and other charitable organizations are being asked to participate in a donation drive for a book specifically written for inmates. Think Outside The Cell: An Entrepreneur's Guide For The Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated (Resilience Multimedia, 2008) was written by Joseph Robinson, a convicted murderer who is currently serving a 25-to-life sentence in upstate New York. Robinson entered prison as a young man with no hope for the future, but through the Riverside Church Prison Ministry and the support of his wife, he found purpose behind bars.

Think Outside The Cell is the culmination of the many years Robinson has worked to educate his fellow inmates on the opportunities for a new life outside of prison. He began teaching prisoners about personal finance and business in 1995. He formalized an education program several years ago, co-founded with former Wall Street executive and current president and founder of National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, Steve Mariotti. Robinson is now a certified instructor of Inmates Teaching Entrepreneurship & Mentoring (ITEM), which trains prison inmates to teach their children and fellow incarcerated men the basics of business ownership and serves to inspire and motivate former prisoners to start their own business as a means to overcome the high rate of recidivism.

Now Resilience Media is offering Think Outside The Cell at a reduced price to those who wish to donate the books to prison libraries and inmates. The special price of $10 covers the production and shipping costs. Those who wish to put books in the hands of those who need them can visit http://www.thinkoutsidethecell.com/promotion to purchase reduced-price copies and have them sent directly to the inmate, prison library, or regional prison system of their choice.

For the 2 million men and woman incarcerated in the United States, entrepreneurship offers a new path after parole, when many ex-inmates find it difficult to get a job with their record hanging over their head. The goal of this book drive is to help those who may feel forgotten and alone, but still have the potential for doing good.

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Jeff Nordstedt

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