Promoting reading at HMP Winchester

Steve Brine met with prisoners and members of the Shannon Trust on Friday 7th October, to learn more about the Toe By Toe reading programme for inmates.

The Shannon Trust is a charity funded by charitable trusts and private donations, and sponsors the Toe By Toe Reading Plan in prisons and Young Offenders' Institutions.

The Trust aims to engage every non-reading prisoner in the scheme early in their sentence, and supports staff in running Toe By Toe in every prison and YOI. They also seek to promote the benefits of peer mentoring in every institution.

Learning takes place five times per week, with one-to-one tuition in 20-minute sessions.

Steve said: "This was one of the most inspiring visits I have done since becoming the MP last year. I am increasingly interested in the whole issue of crime and punishment and above all how we reduce re-offending rates in this country. The work being done in HMP Winchester by the Shannon Trust is so important in that regard and I back it 100%.

"This is not just about teaching prisoners to read so they can secure work when they get out, it's about their confidence, it's about their behaviour while inside and it's most definitely about the relationship they have with family members on the outside. Little things such as being able to read their kids a bedtime story when they do go home can be extremely powerful for ex-prisoners.

"The Shannon Trust are an excellent national charity doing really good work in Winchester and I hope the prison authorities here will continue to back them and ease their passage to work with inmates during their time in this city."

Ian Wight, of the Shannon Trust, said: "It was good of Steve to come today and show his support for the scheme.We are hoping that we can go from strength to strength here in HMP Winchester under the stewardship of Sue Baker, the Librarian, and her team of mentors and learners. All of our success so far is due to their and her hard work."

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