UK: Allow Families to Send Prisoners Books!

Under new regulations introduced in November, prisoners in the UK can no longer be sent books -- which can play an important role in the rehabilitation of prisoners -- by families and friends. The change is part of a new incentives program under which prisoners are granted access to buy books and other items as rewards for "demonstrating responsible behavior."

Prisoners are allowed to have up to 12 library books, but there is the fear that this restriction will dramatically undercut prisoner welfare in a way that is counterproductive to rehabilitation.

Author Philip Pullman has hit out directly at Chris Grayling in a verbal flaying given to the Guardian: “Words nearly fail me on this. It comes from the mind of a man with the outlook of the sort of school bully who is indulged and favored by the teachers, who can see perfectly well how noxious his behavior is, but allow it to continue on the grounds that at least he’s keeping order. Any government worth having would countermand this loathsome and revolting decision at once, sack the man responsible, and withdraw the whip from him.”

Tell Justice Minister Grayling to stop the nonsense and again allow families to send prisoners books.

Dear Sir,


We the undersigned ask that you return prisoners' rights to receive books from their families.


Under new regulations introduced in November, prisoners in the UK can no longer be sent books -- which can play an important role in the rehabilitation of prisoners -- by families and friends. The change is part of a new incentives program under which prisoners are granted access to buy books and other items as rewards for "demonstrating responsible behavior."


Prisoners are allowed to have up to 12 library books, but there is the fear that this restriction will dramatically undercut prisoner welfare in a way that is counterproductive to rehabilitation.

Author Philip Pullman has hit out directly at Chris Grayling in a verbal flaying given to the Guardian: “Words nearly fail me on this. It comes from the mind of a man with the outlook of the sort of school bully who is indulged and favored by the teachers, who can see perfectly well how noxious his behavior is, but allow it to continue on the grounds that at least he’s keeping order. Any government worth having would countermand this loathsome and revolting decision at once, sack the man responsible, and withdraw the whip from him.”

Stop the nonsense and again allow families to send prisoners books.

Update #21 years ago
VIctory! The high court overturned the prisoner book ban on December 5. Families can now send books in parcels to relatives who are incarcerated. Mr. Justice Collins criticized Justice Minister Chris Grayling, saying that "to refer to [books] as a privilege is strange." However, prisoners are still not allowed to receive parcels (even with essentials such as underwear and small gifts from children).
Update #11 years ago
The Ministry of Justice has made a notable concession on its policy about books for prisoners. Prisoners can now be allowed to have more than 12 books in their possession. However, restrictions on families sending books directly to prisoners remain in place. With a rise in suicides of prisoners and overcrowding among just some of the issues facing prisons in the UK, a lift on the ban on families sending books to prisoners is still very much called for.
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