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Would prisoners kill for Carol Ann Duffy?

30 March 2014

It is of course shocking that the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling should ban prisoners from receiving books sent by their friends and relatives.

We might all agree with author Philip Pullman who said that the ban is worthy of Hitler and Pol Pot and entirely typical of a government whose most senior members regularly eat their own offspring, raw, tearing away at the flesh like crazed wolverines. Or something like that, anyway.

Various other authors have ranted and raved. But will it make a huge difference to the lives of the inmates? Do they often importune family members with these sort of requests: ‘I see that Carol Ann Duffy has a new, slim, volume out. I have not read the reviews yet, but if it is as anywhere near so powerful as the wry and pungent Feminine Gospels, I would kill for a copy. No, literally.’ It would be cheering to think that they did, and I suppose it is in the interests of society that more people read books.

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Show comments
  • haris awais

    watch prisoner cell block h all 692 episodes

  • Teacher

    Prisoners should have access to books and, given the very low literacy rates of prisoners, should be helped to read them As a former English teacher I know the extreme reluctance which some boys showed towards reading when it was the very thing they needed to be doing most. Stuck in prison, bored and with time to think, prisoners might well turn to reading to pass the time and then they would acquire all the other benefits of literacy and literature. I am sure that prisoners’ friends and families were using parcels which might also have contained books to smuggle in undesirable substances but Mr Grayling might take a different approach and just ensure the parcels are properly searched.

  • grammarschoolman

    I think an erroneous ‘for’ has crept into that headline.

  • transponder

    Rod, you’re wrong about the minimum wage, and Kevin Williamson explains why you’re wrong, right here:

  • balance_and_reason

    Personally I think more flogging would work better.

  • balance_and_reason

    Pullman has alzheimers

  • ADW

    it may be apocryphal, but I seem to recall during the London riots a bookshop chain said it wasn’t taking any security measures, and maybe it wouldn’t be a bad thing if some of the rioters (or people going “shopping with violence”) took some to read. None did.

  • Sean L

    No, literally – ha ha very funny. And a perfect antidote to all the sanctimonious guff . . .

  • transponder

    Answer: No, just for that ghastly green (velour? chenille?) coat.

  • NedMissingTeeth

    Maybe it’s the governments roundabout way of banning extreme religious material such as the Quran . You’d probably get some Islamic mentalist complaining about their human rights if they specifically targeted the religion of peace.

  • tjamesjones

    Because it is worth saying, that books haven’t been banned, but parcels sent to inmates, because the prison operators can’t handle/be bothered searching them all for contraband. Prisoners still have libraries, and perhaps you can donate books to those libraries, when you’ve finished tweeting (philip).

    • Alexsandr

      keep saying this. the outrage is about something that is untrue.

  • Daniel Maris

    This was the sort of news item that would have warranted a classic Giles cartoon of yore…with the broken nose old lag asking the nervous new prisoner in the bunk below- “Would you mind if I had a perusal of that book you’re reading…I feels there’s a gap in my knowledge of nineteenth century lyrical poetry. And I’d like to fill it good and proper. “

  • laurence

    Is Ms Duffy dressed as a melodious plot of beechen green?

    • Daniel Maris

      Are you sure that’s Ms Duffy? Looks like that one off Prisoner Cell Block H if I remember right.

    • John Lea

      The table’s gonna blow, cap’n!

  • Liz

    I’m sure plenty of female prisoners would like to read about feminism, and some of the enlightened male ones too, after all it’s extremely relevant to the issue of female and male criminality. Not everyone can get by in life on blokey blogs, especially when they have a lot of time to think.

    • Hexhamgeezer


      • Liz

        That wasn’t.

  • Mynydd

    Books this week, newspapers next week, television the week after, then visits from friends and family, how low can a government get.

    • Baron

      Baron wouldn’t mind if the government went as far as it needs to go to make prisons a place the criminals dread, fear, want to avoid al all cost, even at the cost of committing crime. Books though would not be on a list of things the barbarian would ban to get there. On the contrary, he would favour a compulsory reading in prisons.

      • Wessex Man

        totally agree, with the proviso that the victims of crime get to pick the subject matter.

      • Hexhamgeezer

        Supplying Duffy tomes might be an excellent incentive to avoiding prisons.

        • Baron

          Agreed, Hexhamgeezer, What do people see in her writings?

          • Hexhamgeezer

            The victory of affirmative action?

    • Alexsandr

      but they haven’t banned books from prisoners. They have simply brought in new regulations on the amount of parcels prisoners may receive, because there are not the resources to check said parcels for contraband like drugs, weapons, sim cards, and other stuff that is controlled in prisons.
      Prisoners can still use the library, and can order books from a secure supplier.

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