Kerry McCarthy – 2014 Parliamentary Question to the Ministry of Justice

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Kerry McCarthy on 2014-03-31.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the effect of prisoners’ access to books on (a) prisoners’ educational achievements, (b) prisoners’ behaviour and (c) reoffending rates; and what steps he is taking to improve prisoners’ access to books.

Jeremy Wright

Our assessment is that education and access to books is very important in the rehabilitation of prisoners. That is why the National Offender Management Service works closely with the Shannon Trust to support schemes such as ‘Toe by Toe’, which includes peer mentoring to improve reading levels. Every prison has a library, to which every prisoner has access.

Prisoners may also buy books with their own money to which they have access. Up to 12 books may be held by prisoners in their cell at any one time and additional volumes may be stored locally at the prison.