SWOP Behind Bars is a registered 501C3 non-profit and all of your donations are tax deductible. Your donations help us meet a variety of needs that incarcerated sex workers have while serving their sentences, as well as helping us provide resources upon their release. You can choose to support SBB by donating to the various projects listed below or you can simply donate to our general fund by clicking the PayPal button.
You can also donate:
To Jail Libraries
When you research how to donate your books to jail libraries, the same phrase comes up over and over again: books are a lifeline for prisoners. Being confined to the same small space every day of course gets boring, but also, those who are incarcerated do not have access to the internet and their news and information about the world comes only through a few select TV channels in the common areas of the facility. Many inmates are also eager to use their time for personal or professional study, to supplement the limited educational opportunities offered behind bars, and to round out limited therapeutic and recovery resources.
Many who are within a year or two of release use library services to prepare for re-entry — to get their GED, to improve their vocabularies, to begin studying a profitable skill. The recidivism rate in the United States varies, from 50 percent to as high as 67 percent in some states, and there are two main reasons for that level of “rehabilitative” failure: the employment barriers facing ex-offenders on the outside and the lack of preparation for re-entry on the inside. In most states, re-entry services remain woefully inadequate for the thousands of men and women up for release each year. And given that we don’t invest correctional system profits for better outcomes, the very least we can do is keep the prison libraries well-supplied and adequately staffed.
So many of us have more books than we know what to do with. Let’s pass a few of them along to people who need them.
- Books in reasonably good condition, as they will get passed around to many hands.
- Paperbacks. Many prisons do not allow hardcover books.
- Graphic novels. Consider that many inmates have lowered literacy rates.
- Books in Spanish as well as English as a Second Language study books.
- Books on social movements and liberation struggles.
- Yoga and fitness manuals.
- LGBTQ books.
- Popular fiction.
- Law books less than 5 years old.
- Drawing and art books.
- Fantasy and science fiction.
- How-to books (especially woodworking, plumbing, car mechanics, small motor repair).
- Computer books less than 5 years old.
- American Sign Language (ASL) instruction.
- Books about starting or running a business.
- Books about chess.
- African American Studies.
- Test Prep Books – GED, SAT, etc.
Prisons are very restrictive when it comes to books, while jails are less so. You may find it easier to donate to jails. We recommend contacting the jail chaplain to inquire. It is usually a simple matter of drop books off at the jails. In any facility, the following are prohibited.
- Books with spiral bindings.
- Textbooks more than 5 years old. This information is out of date and it’s important to provide inmates with the latest information available.
- Religious tracts.
- Magazines. You may not donate USED magazines that came to your house, bur you can subscribe to magazines for prisoners. We suggest magazines.com.
- Books in poor condition (water damage, stains, mold, spine falling apart, etc).
- Books with nude photos. All nude photography or pictures are considered pornography– no matter how artistic. Just don’t try it.
- Any books with the word “sex” in the title. This unfortunately prevents us from getting books about sex workers right behind bars.
- Books with written notes and/or highlighting. This is considered graffiti and not only is it not welcome in books, it can actually get you banned from donating more books.
- Be sure to check the individual facility rules to save volunteers the time it will take to sort through your boxes and weed out what won’t work.
- The rules change regularly. Check every time you decide to make a donation.
If you want to donate USED books to the jail libraries, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will tell you how this process works and send you instructions. The books most often requested are urban fiction, true crime, poetry, blank journals, and self-help books–particularly those that assist with addiction and trauma -related issues. You might want to go further and start your own book donation program or support a books-to-prisons program. Email us for more info.
To Amazon Wishlists
SBB assists in creating Amazon wishlists for some members behind bars. Fulfilling requests from Amazon lists is a great way to get to know the incarcerated individual. Each list includes letter-writing supplies like stamps and envelopes that you can also send to the individual.
How Amazon wishlists work:
- Your return address will not be made known to the recipient behind bars unless you are also signing up to be that person’s penpal.
- Make sure to select “gift registry address for _____” as the shipping address at check-out.
- DON’T FORGET TO INCLUDE A GIFT RECEIPT. This is a NEW POLICY instituted by prisons to try and limit the number of books being sent!
- Only purchase 1 book for each person at a time so we don’t draw attention to an inmate having too many books. This could cause their cell to be searched and the books to be confiscated.
- Your purchase is Tax Deductible! Please provide your accountant with the receipt from Amazon to receive your tax deduction!
You can search this Amazon wishlist database by various keywords, including popular titles, genres, and subjects. Please know that release dates are subject to fluctuate.
To the National Sex Worker Bail Fund
Adult consensual sex workers are targeted for arrest in the United States under the guise of fighting human trafficking. No matter how many times these efforts are proven to be harmful or ineffective, the myths and misconceptions persist. We are proud to introduce our National Sex Worker Bail Out Fund to bond sex workers out of jail. We are following the principles of the National Bail Fund Network and are proud to align our shared vision of ending casg bail and pre-trial detention. SWOP Behind Bars will begin our work with local bond funds throughout the United States to bond adult sex workers out of jail who are arrested on prostitution related charges surrounding events where anti-trafficking organizations and law enforcement make false claims of trafficking. We will connect to local attorneys and public defender offices to provide information and education around the subject of consensual sex work as it intersects with sex trafficking. We will use these networks as well as community based networks, to provide services and support for the people we free from cages.
The SBB National Sex Worker Bail Fund will make every effort to bond sex workers out of jail by directly paying the full amount of the bond directly to the court so that their fines and court fees will be paid upon resolution of the case. In cases where we are not able to pay bond directly, we will use a licensed bonding agent to free our people. Sex workers who are trans, gender non-conforming and people of color will be prioritized. In cases where sex workers are charged with additional charges unrelated to sex work, we will consult with local advocates and activists within the National Bail Network to determine how to move forward.
To donate, please email email@example.com with the subject line ‘bail fund’.
Like National Bail Fund Network, we believe that the work of community bail and bond funds should:
- Be committed to a goal of ending money bail and pretrial detention, with a clear focus on decarceration and confronting current racial and class disparities. Different jurisdictions are in different phases of ending money bail, so what campaigns look like place to place may vary (examples include: jail closures, policy changes, and enforcement of system changes)
- Be connected to jail/prison abolition work broadly as well as to specific local campaigns to end money bail (in the criminal context) and pretrial detention (in both criminal and immigration contexts). We are working to establish additional core principles specific to the larger work to end immigration detention.
- Be accountable to impacted communities. To be positioned as a community-based bail or bond fund, we believe that there must be clarity and transparency about the role community plays, what accountability looks like, and how directly impacted communities and formerly and currently incarcerated individuals’ voices are represented.
- Be in collaboration with larger movement work against mass criminalization and incarceration. Although the direct focus of a bail or bond fund may be ending money bail and pretrial detention, we believe that bail and bond funds should be clear about how their work relates to the movement to end mass criminalization and incarceration in general.
- Have criteria that reflect the fund’s goals and do not perpetuate dichotomies around who is deserving versus undeserving, whether based on type of charge or other factors that reinforce biases within the system and pit those targeted by the system against one another. We believe that bail and bond funds should be clear about the basis of their payment criteria as well as who established the criteria. This requires transparency around how the criteria will avoid perpetuating good/bad or deserving/undeserving dichotomies and how it is tied to clear and accountable goals. We also believe it is important that funds are clear about whether funders or other system actors are playing a role in setting a bail or bond fund’s criteria.
- Have an analysis about how to address the needs of individuals for support services beyond payment of bail or bond. Paying bail or bond cannot be a completely discrete action. We believe that bail and bond funds must develop clarity around how they will confront additional issues beyond bail payment that will influence pretrial freedom, e.g. the payment of fines, fees, restitution, and connections to support services and community-based resources. We believe that bail and bond funds should position their work within the larger conversation about building new community-based solutions outside of the criminal, legal, and immigration detention systems.
- Have clarity about their position within the system they are trying to dismantle. Bail and bond funds often end up having to coordinate with the same system they are trying to dismantle as they pay bail or bond to free individuals. We believe that funds should develop an analysis on how they will navigate this and, specifically, where their limits are (e.g. will bail and bond funds accept different treatment than individuals in the system to facilitate their operations). In jurisdictions where the system itself wants to provide funding or operate its own bail or bond fund, we think it is critical to have an analysis of where the levers of power and change exist.
To Scholarship Funds
SWOP Behind Bars offers scholarships for incarceratrd sex worjers to study a broad range of subjects via correspondence courses, including paralegal and accounting. We work in partnership with Blackstone Career Institute and with Adams State University to provide these opportunities. Research shows that serving productive time by increasing education reduces recidivism On December 17, 2016 we awarded 3 scholarships to incarcerated sex workers; in December of 2018, we gave away another 15 scholarships; and in December of 2019, 20 scholarships for paralegal or accountant training were given. One of our newest recipients plans to use his paralegal education to help other inmates file motions and research case law.
Each program costs approximately $900 and includes all study materials, books and testing. You can donate to help us cover these costs; your donation for these scholarships is tax deductible. Please click the PayPal link at the top of the page to donate.
To Get SBB Swag
Go to Custom Ink to purchase a shirt or sweatshirt with our logo on it in various colors. All proceeds go to SBB programs.
When sex workers are released from prison, they have no access to phone calls, emails, or texts, much less facebook or the internet. Establishing a landline service and home wifi service has to wait until recently released sex workers can find affordable housing and can save up money. In the interim, these folks must try to restart their lives without being able to place calls to family, potential employers, or counseling services.
SBB can now provide a smartphone and 30-90 days of service. We rely on your donations of used smartphones to provide this service.
- Phones must be unlocked.
- All existing personal data must be deleted before we receive the phone
- Any screen repairs must be done before donating, as we are not in a position to repair broken or cracked screens.
- Please make sure that your carrier has released the phone to be used by another person. We cannot use a phone that still has a financial obligation attached to it.
- We will happily provide you with a tax deductible receipt once we receive your old smartphone.
Send phones to: SWOP Behind Bars, 1156 Pavia Dr, Apopka, FL 32703.
In addition, if you sign up to get your own mobile service through the SOLIDARITY NETWORK, a portion of your monthly bill goes to SBB.
SWOP Behind Bars regularly provides emergency transportation and lodging to recently released incarcerated sex workers. In many cases, this is needed to help them escape potentially dangerous or abusive situations. You can help by donating your unused airline miles or rewards points to us. Below is a listing of our currently available rewards account numbers. Please contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to get details.
- Hilton Honors #760846409
- Marriott Bonvoy #823279117
- Holiday Inn (IHG) #262720752
- Best Western #6006637599398716
- Spirit Airlines #348395681
- American Air Advantage #7AP02W8
- Alaska Airlines #264376980
- Frontier Airlines #90092870909
- Delta Sky Miles #9283684893