Taking away literature in prisons…really?!?

I have a daily ritual of reading my Daily Mail showbiz app (please don’t judge, I am a celebrity junkie) followed by reading The Guardian and topping this off by watching BBC News to ensure that I get the latest headlines from different angles. I have skipped the BBC News as an article in The Guardian got me so aggravated that I had to share it with you.
The headline reads ‘The prison book ban will cause a real catch-22’ and the article is far from a damnation of Justice Secretary Chris Grayling but instead shines a light on the failures of the prison to provide enough, if any, literature to prisoners. According to the article, prisoners can still take 12 books out at a time but does not clarify how much access the prisoners have to the library. If, therefore, they wish to have their favourite books sent in – it is then that the ban is set. Prisoners can not receive books as gifts.
The comments section made for excellent reading as people came out in their droves to criticise the banning of books with one going as far as to say we should force prisoners to read whilst in jail.

When I was younger, I did have a huge issue with prisoners getting degrees and learning trades whilst in prison, feeling cheated that I had to pay a lot of money to learn a new skill when all they had to do was commit a crime? It didn’t seem fair and I would happily argue with anyone who said otherwise. I then became close friends with a person who had just come out of jail and he told me that the idea of working daily (in a small garden), using the gym and reading filled his days with purpose and made it so that he behaved through fear of losing his privileges.

I understand the idea of not letting prisoners recieve books as presents due to the ability for the pages to be laced with drugs and messages being hidden inside as guards and security can not feasibly be expected to read through all texts sent in but would it not be possible to provide more frequent access to the library or more books in so the choice is more extensive?

Bored prisoners surely are more likely to cause problems just to have something to do so, in the long run, by making these items more accesible they are doing themselves a favour in the long term?

Reading peoples views, I have found that the main problem appears to be lack of resourcing that is affecting access to the library. The prisoners will need supervision which requires man power and staff- something that the ever dwindling funds of the prisons can barely afford and prioritise. This being said, with the lack of material to help rehabilitation, the likelihood of reoffending is dramatically increased meaning that they will spend more time in jail thus spending government resources. It is a ever spinning circle.

So what do you think?


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