Prison reading project’s success

Organising reading groups for prisoners in more than 30 jails across the UK has secured a category win in a national awards ceremony for University of Roehampton academics Jenny Hartley and Sarah Turvey.

Posted: 16 June 2014

Professor Hartley and Sarah Turvey, won the art, design and culture category in the National Centre for Public Engagement Awards at the Natural History Museum.
The pair run a Prison Reading Groups (PRG) project through the University and have set up and supported more than 40 groups over the last decade. They work with prison librarians and volunteers to run them and encourage prisoners to enjoy reading and discussing books.  Thanks to funding from the charity Give A Book and other sponsorship, prisoners can keep books they read. 
The win will give higher profile to the PRG work, as they apply for grants to help expand the scheme. If you can help, email J.Hartley@roehampton.ac.uk
The Public Engagement awards were launched to inspire a culture shift in how universities connect with the public, to share the activity and benefits of higher education and research with people from all walks of life. 
The award was announced 24 hours before the UK’s annual Prison Reading Day. PRG hosted a day’s conference bringing together key players in the field to mark the day, including HMP Full Sutton’s librarian Joy Matthews, and its writer in residence Gerry Ryan. The founder of the Give a Book organisation, Victoria Gray also took part, as did author Melvin Burgess. A review of the day can be found on Profile Books

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