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Prison Libraries – making the difference

The current prison population in the UK is around 92,000 people. Evidence from the Shannon Trust suggests that around half of this population may be functionally illiterate. This means that some 46,000 people in prison have a reading age of 11 years, with around 20% of these at a much lower level even than this. Prison libraries and the dedicated professional staff who run and support them make a profound difference to the prison service, to the outcomes and rehabilitation for prisoners and, ultimately, to society as a whole.

Aims for Prison Libraries:

Working with the Prison Libraries Group, CILIP is committed to securing the following outcomes for prison libraries:

  1. Inclusion of prison libraries in the HM Prisons & Probation Service (HMPPS) revised guidelines

  2. Recognition of prison libraries in HM Prison Inspectorate (HMPI) Expectations Statement

  3. Awareness of CILIP and CILIP PLG amongst prison librarians

  4. Engagement with the value of prison libraries by Governors and other senior stakeholders

  5. Prison staff (including prison education services) think ‘libraries first’ when planning their work

  6. Engagement with professionalism and professional qualifications by prison library providers

  7. Engagement with excellence in prison libraries by HMPPS and HMPI

CILIP Prison Libraries Group

The CILIP Prison Libraries Group is an active, welcoming community of prison library staff who are committed to securing wider recognition of the importance of prison libraries and the difference they make.

Membership of the Group is open to all CILIP members. Visit the Prison Libraries Group homepage to find out more

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