Literacy in Prisons

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Justice – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 6th May 2014.

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Photo of Jeremy Wright Jeremy Wright The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice 2:30 pm, 6th May 2014

The hon. Lady is being uncharacteristically unreasonable. We are not banning prisoners having access to books. As I have just explained to Tom Blenkinsop there really is no difficulty with prisoners having access to books. If only that were the biggest problem we face in connection with literacy in prisons, but it is not. What she must consider is whether she is really going to allow people to send into prison unrestricted packages, which, as long as they say “Books” on the outside, she will be prepared to accept at face value. If that is the case, she will have a rude awakening. This is a sensible restriction on packages coming into prison, but it is no restriction on prisoners being able to read or to study, which they can do now and will continue to be able to do.