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to think that prisoners should be given access to books as much as possible

(35 Posts)
ReallyTired Fri 05-Dec-14 12:56:11

I find it shocking that books for prisoners were considered a privilage. I feel that reading is a great way for prisoners to improve themselves and should be encouraged. I can understand prison officers fears of drugs being smugged in with real books.

If prisoners could have an e book reader with wireless access to a library of approved books then prison officers would not have to take prisoners to the library. Prehaps the UK prison service could have its own library of e books just like my local council does. Maybe prisoners who can't read could have access to audio books on various approved/ useful/ interesting topics.

DoraGora Fri 05-Dec-14 13:07:06

The last church talk we had, from a prison chaplain, made us understand that courses led by an instructor were cut back and had been vital.

Andrewofgg Fri 05-Dec-14 13:29:35

The point is that they should be allowed to order or to have their family or friends order for them - form such suppliers as Amazon who are hardly likely to hide drugs or a file in the package. This is a good ruling.

smokinggnu Fri 05-Dec-14 13:37:12

I treat books as a privilege. If my children infract on certain rules they don't get a bedtime story. Teachers frequently remark on their love of reading. Value is placed upon trust in prisons, there is a reason for encouraging the development of trustworthy actions.

LittleBairn Fri 05-Dec-14 13:39:45

YANBU. Books IMO are a basic right not a privilege.

rallytog1 Fri 05-Dec-14 13:40:11

Prison is not just for punishment. It's for rehabilitation. Restricting access to books doesn't help anyone. Very glad this ruling has been made.

rallytog1 Fri 05-Dec-14 13:44:14

I also agree books should be a right, not a privilege.

ElfontheShelfIsWATCHINGYOUTOO Fri 05-Dec-14 13:47:42

i agree as long as its not inflamatory stuff.

I think prisons should very much be a place of punishment, and where its reasonable and possible, rehabilitation.

For prisoners who will be released back into society, I think they should be encouraged and helped to read as much as possible...I say helped as I believe many under educated and illiterate people end up in jail.

Anything that helps to open the mind, broaden ones views about the world, I also think Drama is good as you have to literally put yourself in someone elses shoes and think how they think....

Icimoi Fri 05-Dec-14 13:52:49

This statement from a Prison Service spokesman is utterly ridiculous:

"Prisoners have access to the same public library service as the rest of us, and can buy books through the prison shop."

Given that they won't allow public library books to be sent in by post, and they certainly haven't got the staff to take prisoners out to public libraries, clearly they don't have access to the public library service. The range of books held by prison shops is minuscule, and not all prisoners can afford to buy anyway.

They presumably made the same point to the judge, and he clearly also thought it hopeless.

ReallyTired Fri 05-Dec-14 13:55:07

smokinggnu Treating books as a privilage in prisons is not the same as denying your child a bed time story. Its more akin to not letting your child go to school. Educational opportunites in prison are limited by cut backs. Access to books is an access to education.

Icimoi Fri 05-Dec-14 13:55:15

Wow, smokinggnu, whatever my children had done, I would never seek to punish them by withholding a bedtime story. That time alone with them last thing in the evening is precious, and in my experience is exactly the time when my dc are most likely to realise what they have done wrong and say sorry.

ReallyTired Fri 05-Dec-14 13:58:04

Icimoi I would be horrified if a high risk prisoner turned up at my local library. Even if they can order books they cannot see whether a book is interesting.

I can view a sample of an interesting e book on my kindle and decide if I want to read some more. If a prisoner could do that then they would have no need to go to a public library.

Icimoi Fri 05-Dec-14 14:09:53

I must say, I've never been aware of prisoners having any access to public libraries, except maybe if they're in open prisons. Does anyone have any idea what the Prison Service bod is talking about?

Andrewofgg Fri 05-Dec-14 14:20:31

Icimoi In theory, and it is in theory, the Prison Library service has access to the system by which libraries can borrow from each other. But the obstacles put in the way of any prisoner wanting to take advantage of it are horrendous.

A prisoner wanting to order the sort of things responsible mail order booksellers stock should be encouraged. If nothing else, a prisoner with the inclination to read and enough to read that he wants to read is likely to be better behaved.

Agree with you about bedtime stories.

redexpat Fri 05-Dec-14 14:24:09

There is usually a branch of the county library in the prison. With a librarian.

Icimoi Fri 05-Dec-14 14:26:41

Ah, that explains it, thanks, redexpat. The trouble is that the Prison Service bod is still talking rubbish, because the reality is that prison staff are so overstretched that escorting prisoners to the prison library is in reality right at the bottom of their list of priorities.

SaucyJack Fri 05-Dec-14 14:31:49

And who's going to pay for prisoners to have a Kindle each?

Not me I hope.

Not that they shouldn't have access to cheap paperbacks.

rallytog1 Fri 05-Dec-14 15:04:39

I world rather pay for them to each have a kindle than pay the ongoing costs to society of the persistent offending and re-offending that illiteracy and lack of education bring.

Andrewofgg Fri 05-Dec-14 15:15:00

rallytog1 You can obviously take the long-term view and are therefore disqualified from working for MoJ grin

SaucyJack Fri 05-Dec-14 15:18:35

And how does reading from an expensive electronic gadget aid literacy in a way that a donated paperback doesn't?

Andrewofgg Fri 05-Dec-14 15:20:45

This page

has a link to the judgment.

rallytog1 Fri 05-Dec-14 20:18:56

Well for starters, it's a bit difficult to smuggle drugs into an e-book, whereas it's a bit easier with old paperbacks...

SaucyJack Fri 05-Dec-14 20:26:31

But they're more likely to get nicked or smashed by thugs.

If you really think that in the current political climate spending £9m on e-readers for child abusers and house breakers is the best use of public funds then good for you.

But don't do it in my name.

If they want to read, they can have a second-hand paperback like the rest of us manage perfectly well with.

Wilf83 Fri 05-Dec-14 20:32:15

Prisoners are too busy watching tv to read book. I used to work in a prison & nearly every cell had a tv.

ReallyTired Fri 05-Dec-14 20:47:55

"And how does reading from an expensive electronic gadget aid literacy in a way that a donated paperback doesn't?"

A prison officer's time is money.

A donated paperback has to be carefully checked for drugs/ concealed weapons. An ebook reader from a repruable supplier is less of a security risk than a book from a well wisher. Ebooks cannot not be a way of smuggling unacceptable items into jail.

A prisoner who could access a range of e books wirelessly would not need to leave his prison cell to get a new reading book. This would save prison officer time.

There are ebook readers that are cheaper than Kindles. In fact there would be a lot to be said for a prisoner having an ebook reader that its not a famous brand as it would be less likely to go walk about and get resold.

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