I by and large keep contemporary politics out of this blog, but I’m utterly fuming at the Justice Secretary’s decision to prevent prisoners being sent books as presents.
They must buy them from their meagre wages, he says, or rely on the prison library.
I’m sure that prison libraries have improved since 1917, but I couldn’t help being reminded of these verses by conscientious objector Allan M. Laing (which I’ve printed before) about the library at Wormwood Scrubs:
Fiction Hash from the Prison Catalogue
Of stories of wooing
And billing an cooing
Comes first on a dull dreary list
The straight-paying copy,
From Garvice’s powerful — wrist.
From a shelf looming darkly
That dear Mrs. Barclay
Sings sentiment sugary-sweet,
While in hosts of Miss Braddon’s,
By no means all bad ‘uns,
Thrills, murders and mysteries meet.