I have just been reading Frances Crook’s article on the British Government’s new plan to restrict prisoners’ access to books and I am deeply shocked and horrified.
No I’m not, I’m absolutely, steamingly, hoppingly furious.
I’m equally disgusted to discover that children are no longer allowed to send Christmas presents to parents in gaol. That is just jaw-droppingly inhumane. Here is an article about it in the Guardian – and here is Chris Grayling’s (feeble) response. Is Chris Grayling highly educated and in fact himself an author? Why yes he is. You might think he would understand the value of reading. Perhaps he does.
I read a lot (!!!) and I believe in the importance of reading, to inform, to stimulate, to challenge and to give pleasure. Shouldn’t prisoners be encouraged to read as much as possible, in order to deepen their understanding of other people, to acquire new skills and learning? I mean how are these things inimical to rehabilitation, which is surely a fundamental aim of prison? Aren’t many prisoners in gaol due to a failure in education or empathy in the first place?
If you too are outraged by this, there is a petition you can sign here. It doesn’t matter whether or not you live in Britain.
(This photograph was doing the rounds on Twitter with the caption ‘Nick Clegg and Chris Grayling prevent prisoners from getting to the books’ but I can’t find that original; this is from the London Evening Post)