Something To Read
People’s Friend Specials|Issue 141

Martin Edmonton from Plympton Academy explains how he’s hoping to improve prison literacy with a little help from the “Friend”.

RESEARCH shows that over 46% of prisoners in the UK have a reading age of eleven years or less. As a school literacy teacher, I find these figures very worrying.

Last summer the BBC reported that London Police Community Support Officer Steve Whitmore had arranged to have books available at his local police station. The project and the results it achieved sounded very impressive.

Being alone in a custody cell must be a frightening experience for anyone, and people may respond by withdrawing or behaving aggressively.

Giving people the opportunity to take some reading materials into the cell with them seemed to provide distraction, comfort and reassurance.

The police felt that something as simple as providing access to reading materials dramatically changed young people’s engagement with the criminal justice system and led to many positive outcomes.

This seemed such a good idea that I discussed it with my students. They were as enthusiastic as I was and wanted to know why we did not run something similar in Plymouth.

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