Shannon Trust is a national charity supporting thousands of prisoners a year to transform their lives by unlocking the power of reading. We enable prisoners to teach other prisoners to read, so they’re better set up for a positive future.
Reading is so much more than stories. For thousands of people in prison, learning to read will completely transform their life.
People with poor reading skills are more likely to live in inadequate, overcrowded housing, experience poor physical and mental health, be in unskilled jobs or even pursue alternative methods of generating income that can leave them vulnerable to abuse and lead them into crime.
50% of people in prison have a literacy level below that of an 11 year old. Many cannot read at all. Ultimately, this means they have reduced access to education, training and rehabilitation programmes which could transform their lives, and give them hope for a better future outside of prison.
Shannon Trust changes this through our reading programme. We train prisoners who can read to be Mentors. They are then paired up with a Learner, and work together through our Turning Pages guides. Learners work at their own pace in a safe, private space.
Mentors and Learners taking part in the Reading Programme have shown they are serious about changing their lives and taking control of their future. They develop sought-after skills that are critical for prospective employers, including communication, teamwork, resilience and a positive attitude. 87% of Learners go on to engage in other educational courses.
The ability to read not only helps people in prisons engage in life-changing opportunities through education and training, it also helps them maintain relationships with family and friends, which reduces rates of re-offending.
Turning Pages is our reading programme, created by literacy specialists. It has been used by over 6,000 adult learners since its launch in June 2015.