Prisoners: Rehabilitation

House of Lords written question – answered on 6th May 2014.

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Photo of Lord Fellowes Lord Fellowes Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Lord Chancellor considers that the rehabilitation and behaviour of prisoners will be encouraged by preventing them receiving books by post.

Photo of Lord Faulks Lord Faulks The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

Up to 12 books may be held by prisoners in their cell at any one time. Prisoners may have additional books stored locally at the prison. Every prison has a library, to which every prisoner has access.

Ministers have not made any policy changes specifically about the availability of books in prisons. The changes to the Incentives and Earned Privileges national policy framework we introduced last year in relation to parcels were introduced to ensure consistency across the estate and to make sure that security can be maintained. There have always been controls on the sending of parcels into prisons, and allowing parcels to be sent in unrestricted would be operationally unmanageable and would lead to a significant risk of drugs and other illicit items being smuggled into prisons.

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.

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