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The government’s ban on books being sent to prisoners in the form of parcels, enforced last November 2013, has now been judged as unlawful by the High Court. Writers and poets to oppose the ban include Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, and authors Tracy Chevalier and Kathy Lette.

Whilst prisoners are still able to buy books or borrow them from prison libraries, evidence suggests that these are often poorly supplied and sometimes inaccessible. 

It was inmate Barbara Gordon-Jones, currently serving part of her life sentence at Send prison near Woking in Surrey, who initiated the legal challenge.

Law applicants should question the rationale of these restrictions, particularly from the perspective of justice and rehabilitation. Historians can consider this issue in light of the nearly 800 year old Magna Carta, in which foundations for individual rights were laid.

English, Linguistics and Language students could reflect on the cathartic, intellectual and creative implications of a wider access to literature within the prison system.

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