Sad Gits: Prison Reading Groups

Elizabeth Fry

Elizabeth Fry reading to prisoners on the £5 note

From a member of a Prison Reading Group.

They say that books are a source of knowledge and knowledge helps the world go round—or, at least, it helps you understand how it works.

Only try telling that to a person who has got themselves a prison sentence, when their heads are full of family problems inside as well as outside; it might not register much interest or sense to those with a whole lot of baggage that confronts them on a daily basis.

When I once looked into the Prison Reading Group held in the study centre I was left feeling the same as many others: What a bunch of sad gits sitting around a table talking about books; what’s all that about?

Then out of boredom one day (prison seems to have that impression upon you sometimes) myself and some others attended this reading group and were somewhat surprised finding what it was all about. Besides being made to feel welcome, we could hear each other’s opinions on what we’d read, enjoy discussions on endless topics not to mention sometimes get to meet in person the authors of some of those books.

Some 3 years down the line I have happily become one of those ‘sad gits’ who has gained some of that knowledge from books and who gets great pleasure out of attending the Prison Reading Group. I would like, along with my group, and I’m sure groups up and down the country, to give a special Thank you out to Roehampton University, who supply our books and support our group and without whom we might not be fortunate enough to have a group in the first place.


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