9th September 2019

Sir Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to increase the number of books available in prisons.

Lucy Frazer, Minister of State, Ministry of Justice: Education is key to helping prisoners break a cycle of reoffending, therefore it is essential that prisoners have access to books and libraries. The prison library aims to provide an accessible service which has a focus on supporting learning, improving literacy and to promote reading as a source of pleasure and wider cultural engagement.

Every prison is required to have a library and every prisoner must be allowed to have and exchange library books under the Prison Rules.

The new Education contracts launched in April gave prisons more freedom to shape the way prisoners had access to libraries. Prisons could continue to receive library provision from its Local Authority or opt into new provision through the Prison Education Framework (PEF).

Family and friends of prisoners are able to hand or send books in directly. They may also order books via the approved book retailers scheme (as set out in Prison Service Instruction 30/2013). Prisoners are also able to purchase books with monies earned in prison or where sent in by family and friends.




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