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Thursday, 5th September 2013

UK: Prison Reading Groups: What Books Can Do Behind Bars

Source: University of Roehampton (UK)

From the Introduction:

In 2000 we started running reading groups in prisons in the UK: at HMPs Coldingley, Bullingdon, Wandsworth and Send. This was the beginning of Prison Reading Groups (PRG).

In 2010 we were awarded an Arts and Humanities Research Council Knowledge Transfer Fellowship grant to expand our work. The goal was to start ten new reading groups. The project succeeded beyond all expectations....

The growth of reading groups has been one of the cultural success stories of recent times. Their ability to boost reading and bring people together is widely applauded. Our work in prisons over the past fourteen years has confirmed the particular benefits that reading groups offer prisoners. These include:

empathy with the lives of others through reading
critical self-reflection
mutual respect fostered in group discussion
connectedness with a wider culture beyond prison
development of soft skills vital for employability

+ Direct link to document (PDF; 6.8 MB)


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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

More articles by Adrian Janes »



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