Prison Fiction Programme




Can a book change a life? We think so. Why not read Tyler’s Story?

Of the UK’s prison population, 60 per cent are functionally illiterate (National Literacy Trust). Poor reading skills hinder the rehabilitation of thousands of prisoners, especially when they leave prison and try to find employment.

We want to help prisoners to use their time inside as an opportunity for education so that their lives get better when they leave prison, not worse.

SPCK’s Diffusion Prison Fiction Programme is a literacy scheme which provides free, easy-to-read books to UK prisons and reading groups. Designed for readers with low literacy, the Prison Fiction series seeks to improve prisoners’ reading confidence, assist rehabilitation and champion prisoners’ right to read.

Each one of our titles (Barcelona Away, Not Such A Bargain, Forty-Six Quid and a Bag of Dirty Washing and Bare Freedom) presents believable characters and situations, encourages self-reflection and explores ideas of choice, personal responsibility and positive relationships. Discussion points at the end of each chapter make these books ideal for use in reading groups.

SPCK has already supported 63 prisons across the UK and supplied around 2,858 literacy books to prisoners. Recent feedback from prisoners, prison staff and supporters includes:

“[Reading your book] made me think how selfish I was towards other people and that I only thought of myself.”
Prisoner, HMP Bure

“[Bare Freedom] is the most realistic book I’ve ever read when it comes to leaving jail. The writer nails it – all the boys loved it! Could we have more from him? RESPECT.”
Prisoner, HMP Moorland

“A unique resource with a heart of gold. [It] will have undoubtedly helped [young offenders] to take a further step along the road to reducing their chances of reoffending.”
Staffordshire Prison Library Service

“The Prison Fiction series is easy to read, free to all prisoners and ideal for group discussions.  I congratulate the publishers for building such an authentic bridge between realistic storytelling and real people, in and out of prison, as they struggle to develop their potential.”
Jonathan Aitken, Former Politician and Prison Reformer

“I learnt to read in prison, and it turned my life around. I know more than anyone just how important the Prison Fiction programme could be to someone inside. Supporting literacy is one of the best ways to improve social opportunity and to prevent reoffending.”
John Bird, Founder of The Big Issue

Thanks to funding from the Maurice and Hilda Laing Foundation, The Bishop of Oxford’s Outreach Fund, The Seedfield Trust, churches and individual supporters, we are able to supply our fiction series to all UK prisons that request them.

If you are a prison chaplain, education officer, librarian or governor and would like to to run this scheme in your prison, please fill out the order form below. Alternatively, email us at or call Savana Gomes on 020 7592 3917.

Prison Fiction Order Form

  • e.g. Prison librarian; chaplain; reading group facilitator; Prison Fellowship volunteer.
  • Please insert the number of books you require under each of the titles below