Freadom Behind Bars is a community effort to provide plentiful, quality reading material to the incarcerated.

Books can open minds to new ideas and create possibility and hope. We believe they can even help break the chains of illiteracy,poverty, violence, hopelessness, oppression and fear.

Books break chains.


"An inmate who improves his literacy reduces his chances of recidivism by 35%."

— Journal of Correctional Education

Book donation guidelines:

If you have a large collection of books to donate and live within the greater Kansas City area, we would be happy to arrange pickup.

Books frequently requested by inmates:

Buddhist book requests:

FBB partners with the Prison Dharma Project of Temple Buddhist Center in Kansas City, MO, and provides inmates with books about Buddhism whenever possible. Ven. Urgyen Machik teaches Buddhism and meditation in corrections, and is Buddhist visiting clergy for a number of inmates.

Check out our Amazon Wishlist!


Even used books cost money! So does the gas and parking when delivering books to jails and prisons, as well as packaging and postage. All the time, effort and dedication of volunteers (we are small but mighty!) is given generously and without compensation (except for the occasional doughnut).

If you believe that books break chains and would like to support our efforts, please conside a donation.

Make a Donation


THANK YOU to our many generous donors!

The mark of true generosity is giving for the sake of giving, regardless of the outcome. These inmates won't be able to thank you directly, so we pass along their authentic gratitude for caring enough to give. Your gifts of time, money and books make a difference in someone's life.

Thank you for helping them break the chains.


“I have often reflected upon the new vistas that reading opened to me. I knew right there in prison that reading had changed forever the course of my life. As I see it today, the ability to read awoke in me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive.”

— Malcom X

FREADom Behind Bars is a Kansas City-based not-for-profit whose mission is to provide quality reading material to those who are incarcerated. We believe a love of reading encourages the pursuit of self-knowledge and leads to breaking the chains of poverty, violence, oppression, prejudice, injustice and abuse. Reading can open minds to new worlds, new possibilities, new ways of thinking.

FBB relies on donations from the community in order to provide books to prisons and jails, who do not have budgets to spend tax-payer money on things like books for inmates.

Pete's books and bucket of rocks.
Art drawn by inmate Sean D.

Ven. Urgyen Pete Machik Potts, Founder

Pete Potts is an Iowa-born Midwesterner who grew up to work in advertising and marketing and travel the world. In 2008, she left all that to settle into serious study of Buddhism and meditation, eventually switching careers into social work. In 2016, she was fully ordained in the Nyingma lineage of Tibetan Buddhism and given the dharma name 'Machik' by her teacher, Nima Janet Taylor, who is executive director of the Inner Peace Buddhist Center. Machik is now an associate director, minister and Dharma teacher at Temple Buddhist Center in Kansas City. She teaches Buddhism and meditation in jails and prisons throughout the greater Kansas City region, including county, state and federal custody. A voracious reader since age 4, she knows that open books can open minds.