Reading: a crucial part of family life

This summer saw the publication of the final report of Lord Farmer’s review. The report, commissioned by the Secretary of State in 2016, looked at how supporting men in prison to maintain or improve families ties while in custody gives them a better chance of not returning. There’s a raft of evidence that staying in touch with family and supportive friends reduces the risk of reoffending.

This summer saw the publication of the final report of Lord Farmer’s review. The report, commissioned by the Secretary of State in 2016, looked at how supporting men in prison to maintain or improve families ties while in custody gives them a better chance of not returning. There’s a raft of evidence that staying in touch with family and supportive friends reduces the risk of reoffending.

It’s not just the years of research which tell us staying in touch with your family while in prison is important. Our Mentors and Learners say this too. One of the reasons men and women in custody give for wanting to take part in the Reading Plan is to read their own letters. In 2017, 63% of Learners completing our annual snapshot survey gave this as one of the reasons they chose to learn to read.

As well as allowing people to read and write letters to their family and friends on the outside, learning to read gives men and women to chance to be positive role models for the younger generation, valuing education, learning and sharing the joy of reading.

With an estimated 200,000 children affected by imprisonment and 50% of all prisoners struggling with literacy, it doesn’t take much to realise that learning to read is a crucial piece in the jigsaw of supporting positive family relationships. 41% of Shannon Trust Learners said they wanted to be able to read with their children.

One thing our Learners often go onto do after taking part in the Reading Plan is to record stories for their children with Storybook Dads.

“I feel my biggest achievement so far is that I read a story to my kids using Storybook Dads."

 

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