Search

Pentonville inmates win gold book award despite book ban

17:37 11 July 2014

Pentonville in Caledonian Road, Holloway

Pentonville in Caledonian Road, Holloway

Archant

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

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.”

0 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.

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

Latest Islington News Stories

St Pancras Hospital, where Camden and Islington Trust is based. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Health chiefs are taking action at Highbury’s Aberdeen Park rehab service after inspectors found “ligature points” that could help patients kill or harm themselves.

13:10
Alamin, Shalim and Khaled Kazi (l to r)

Three members of the same family are behind bars for a “prolific” spree of street robberies across Islington, Camden and Westminster.

12:12
Owners Simon Ward and Kellee Hubber

A former book shop in Archway has been given a new lease of life thanks to two friends whose dreams of opening a cafe have come true.

12:36
Islington Gazette, August 1, 1986

Every week the Gazette will delve into its archives to see what was happening in Islington 30 and 60 years ago.

Yesterday, 16:08
First time buyers in Islington will need to earn 10 times the average local salary

Islington is one of the least affordable places in the UK to buy a first home.

Yesterday, 13:49
Some of the heroin found in the bust that saw Canonbury man Yasar Ozekmecki jailed for 10 years. Picture: National Crime Agency

A Canonbury drug smuggler faces more than a decade behind bars after being found in a taxi with 35kg of heroin.

Yesterday, 11:07
HMP Pentonville in Caledonian Road (Picture: PA Wire/Anthony Devlin)

Explosive claims that drones laden with “legal highs” are being flown to Pentonville inmates, who collapse in the grounds after taking them, are made in a report this morning.

Yesterday, 07:00
More pupils were suspended for racist abuse in Islington than anywhere else in central London. Picture: PA

More Islington children were kicked out of school for racist abuse than anywhere else in inner London last year, a new league table of shame reveals.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

Competitions

Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate that one lucky winner will receive four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All runners up will get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

£15k prize bundle

Imagine having the opportunity to win an incredible £15,000 bundle of some of the most amazing prizes available. Well, for one lucky contest entrant that dream could soon become a reality because we at MyOffers are offering an incredible free prize bundle that will make even the most hardened person wild with excitement.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now