Freadom Inside is a project that allows people to buy books to donate directly to the women currently incarcerated in New South Wales.

The Corrective Services library service noticed requests for reading materials skyrocketed during the COVID-19 lockdown and whilst they are able to meet requests, we all know how wonderful it is to have access to great new books. Through 2020-2021 independent bookstores and Australian authors have also been struggling with lockdowns and mass event cancellations. Through consultation with the Women’s Justice Network’s Advisory Panel, women who have previously been incarcerated have been able to make a list of books and authors that they would have appreciated receiving when they were inside. This list has been checked by the Corrective Services library team to make sure the donations can be accepted. As you can see, women inside have the same varied and voracious appetites as the rest of us. Donating a children’s book will allow a woman inside to read a bedtime story to a child outside via video call, the latest thrillers offer hours of escape, and something like The Barefoot Investor helps for future planning.

Gleebooks have very generously agreed to facilitate the program and provide free shipping for these donations to get to the central library for distribution – just use the code “freadom” at the checkout.

The Women’s Justice Network (WJN) is a grassroots community organisation committed to advancing the prospects and wellbeing of women and girls affected or at risk of the criminal justice system. Their vision is that all women and girls affected or at risk of the criminal justice system live free from violence and discrimination, benefit from adequate living standards, are treated with dignity and respect and are empowered to secure and preserve their individual rights. Engaging programs like this one, and maintaining strong connections with the community, helps with the wellbeing of incarcerated women and reduces recidivism.
Author and journalist Bri Lee established the FREADom INSIDE Project in direct and ongoing consultation with Women’s Justice Network, Gleebooks, and the Corrective Services library service. Together they are working towards a program of book clubs and other reading programs for incarcerated women and youth.

Please visit the Freadom Inside webpage at Gleebooks to view the book titles and to place an order.