July 31 2014 Latest news:

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 24°C

min temp: 17°C

Five-day forecast

Pentonville inmates win gold book award despite book ban

Pentonville in Caledonian Road, Holloway Pentonville in Caledonian Road, Holloway

Friday, July 11, 2014
5:37 PM

Inmates at Pentonville Prison have won a coveted reading award, despite half of the jail’s prisoners having primary school level literacy.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

HMP Pentonville picked up The Reading Agency’s Gold Award for the second year running, with more than 490 inmates joining the challenge between January and June, with 212 already completing it.

The prisoners had to pick six “reads” – books, newspapers, poems or plays – and record them in a diary to pass the challenge.

It comes just months after a large scale protest of authors, actors and charities was held outside the prison, in response to Justice Secretary Chris Gayling’s controversial policy to ban the taking of books in to prison.

Cllr Janet Burgess, Islington Council’s executive member for health and wellbeing said:

“Congratulations to all our prison readers. It’s a notable achievement and shows how far our reading initiatives and library promotions are firing-up imaginations.

“If you didn’t enjoy reading at school, it’s not too late to start the reading habit for personal development or for the sheer joy reading brings. Visit your local library to find out more.”

The Reading Agency’s annual ‘Six Book Challenge’ encourages people with low or neglected reading abilities to catch the reading bug. Those who completed the challenge were given dictionaries to help develop their vocabulary even further.

The library was one of the few saving graces at the institution in a damning report published by chief of prisons Nick Hardwick at the beginning of the year in which he concluded the library had improved and was well stocked.

He did however find that access was inadequate due staff shortages and planned activities clashing with opening hours.

HMP assistant governor Nick Walmsley said education was “crucially important” in preventing prisoners re-offending and enabling them to get a job and live a normal life, while Guest-of-honour at Islington’s former youth offender turned highly decorated SAS soldier and now military author, Andy McNab, spoke from first hand experience about how reading changed his life.

He said: “The Army Educational Centre Captain said to us – ‘You lot think you’re thick. But you’re not thick, you’re just uneducated. And the only reason you can’t read and write is because you don’t read and write’ – Today all that changes.”

Share this article

0 comments

Comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Islington Gazette visitors.


We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Islington Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Forgotten your password?


Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Islington Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

   Local advertisers

More News articles

Click here to read the Digital Edition of the Islington Gazette on screen
Use our Wedding site to help you plan your big day!
At WeddingSite we know how much you have to organise for your wedding day, that's why we have designed a set of FREE, simple-to-use tools to make the planning process easy & hassle-free. FIND OUT MORE
Find a date using our online dating and friend finder
You can meet new friends, find romance or simply meet up online with people sharing similar interests and hobbies. FIND OUT MORE
Find a local business using our online directory search
Need a plumber? Or a florist? Or anything else? Search our business directory to find Islington businesses in just a few seconds. FIND OUT MORE
Family notices from the Islington Gazette, with readers' tributes
In memoriam, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, best wishes & special days. FIND OUT MORE

Celebrity / Showbiz See all

Drake has cancelled his Wireless London performance (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for ESPN)

Fans devastated after Drake cancels Wireless London festival

Rapper Drake has pulled out of his headline appearances at this weekend’s Wireless Festival in London, leaving fans devastated.

Read full story »