Women prisoners face special challenges while incarcerated. Eighty percent of women prisoners are doing time for non-violent crimes such as shoplifting, prostitution, drug-related convictions and fraud. Many of women prisoners convicted of violent crimes were defending themselves or their children from domestic violent abuse. Nearly two-thirds of women in prison have at least one child under the age of eighteen and before going to prison, had primary custody of their children.
The Women’s Prison Book Project founded in 1994, is a grassroots all-volunteer organization that is dedicated to providing free reading material to women prisoners. Women prisoners who are mothers need reading material that pertains to family, children and women’s health issues. Lesbian and transgender prisons lack any information that is relevant to their lifestyle.