There are five active mother and baby units in prisons in the UK, for female prisoners with very young babies. We think it is important for these women to have access to books they can read to their babies at this critical stage of their lives, in challenging circumstances.
We are currently supplying books to all five of these mother and baby units, at HMP Bronzefield, Styal, New Hall, Askham Grange, and Peterborough. David Kendall, our prison consultant, has written an excellent blog about mother and baby units, and how the project is going so far.
We have received wonderful support from publishers Child’s Play for this project, whose books are perfect for children of all reading abilities.
“Child’s Play is honoured to work with Give a Book to provide books to Mother and Baby Units in womens’ prisons. Reading together is the perfect way for children to bond with a parent, and a crucial experience if that relationship is under stress. Sharing a book is relaxing and informative, and to imaginatively inhabit other worlds together is a welcome relief for both parent and child, stimulating conversation and emotional development. The books which the charity selects from our range are suitable for various reading levels, so even people who are not confident readers can benefit from the project. It’s vital that prisoners are provided with opportunities to connect with their children. Child’s Play is delighted to be able to help Give a Book address this need, which is often overlooked by the public.”
Feedback from HMP Styal
“It’s great to read with Charlie. He loves the rhymes and songs. Thank you for sending these books. It means a lot.”
“No I’m not a reader. You would never get me in the library before but Ella adores books. It’s great that we have these books to take away and keep.”
“Nothing better than snuggling up together with a book.”
(Mothers at HMP Styal, which also runs rhyme time in the prison library)