Research Requests

Open Door Books receives and fills research requests from people in prison and we’d love your help in doing so! Below is the current list of research requests waiting to be completed. If you’d like to be in touch about filling one or more of these requests, send us an email at bookstoprisoners@gmail.com

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The requests have been divided into two sections: one for shorter and less demanding searches, and one for more in depth research. If you choose to take one of these requests on, we expect the short ones completed in 1-2 weeks, and the longer ones 2-3 weeks. Thank you!

Short
-Information on Magic the Gathering (history, current rules, sets, and list of all cards including casting cost, type, text, abilities)

Long
-Law : specific case law in support of decision to file court action and
how to conduct self in trial setting (USA)
-Law: information on treaty transfer from US to Canada for Canadian citizen imprisoned in US for past 17 years. Requires info on rights under Strasbourg and Geneva conventions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of materials do you send to meet research requests?

This is up to your discretion. In the past, most research requests have been filled by compiling articles from the internet into a word document or pdf that is then printed and sent to the person who requested it. Please include your sources. We also often send books or pamphlets.

How much research should I do?

This is mainly left up to your discretion as the requests we receive vary widely. Certainly some questions are quite straightforward (e.g. where to send letters to the editor of a local newspaper) and many are more complex (e.g. information on grants for starting a small business).

As a collective, since we receive a lot of requests and have a limited budget, we have decided to set some general guidelines. Ideally, we ask that you avoid exceeding 50 (8.5 x 11in) pages of material as it will be expensive to print. On this note, we also try to print as much as possible in black and white, so please consider this when choosing sources.

That being said, if you feel it is necessary to send more in order to properly address the question(s), then we ask that you email the collective to let us know. If you think that sending a book would be the best way to meet a request, we ask that you see if you can find a suitable one anywhere (including the internet) for less than 10$ and email the collective with this information. We will assess our current budget and buy it, if we can afford to.

How do I get it to the person who requested it?

The simplest way is to email the information you have compiled to the collective member who has been in touch with you. If you have information that is not digital (i.e. a book or pamphlet), we ask that you drop it off at QPIRG Concordia and email the collective member you have been in touch with letting them know.

We have weekly meetings, during which we send boxes of books to different prison libraries and fill individual requests. At this time, someone on the collective can print the information you have sent (so that the cost will come from our budget) and send it to the person who requested it, again using the Open Door Books budget. We have found that this is the easiest way to make sure we get the information to people as quickly as possible.

How do I find out about other research requests?

We will keep an updated list of unfilled research requests on our blog (https://opendoorbooks.wordpress.com/) and our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/odbmontreal?ref=ts&fref=ts. If there is a request you are interested in taking on, please send an email to bookstoprisoners@gmail.com letting us know.

We will also keep a list of people who have helped do research in the past and send a monthly email with a list of current research requests (definitely feel free to let us know at anytime if you would like to be removed from that list).

What other work does Open Door Books do?

Mainly, the collective works to send boxes of books to prison libraries across Québec and Ontario. We also send books directly to people imprisoned across North America.  On the outside, we put on popular education events on topics relating to prisoner justice and the prison industrial complex. You can find out more about the group and upcoming events on our blog: https://opendoorbooks.wordpress.com/

Are there restrictions on what can be sent?

Relating to research requests, the main restrictions of concern are that many jails and prisons do not accept hardcover books or anything with staples. In addition, any material considered lewd or obscene usually will not make it through security. This is clearly subjective, but based on our experience, this seems to generally include nudity or anything considered “pornographic” (many politically “radical” books also do not make it through). Should we send this type of material, we usually send it separately from other resources for that prisoner so that at least some of the material will go through. Should your research include anything of this nature, please email the collective to let us know so we can consider if/how best to send it.



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