Statement on Judge Ruling Grayling Book Ban Unlawful

Denis MacShane who had a suitcase full of books confiscated when sent to Belmarsh Prison last Christmas welcomed the High Court ruling. “Chris Grayling seems to think that being unpleasant to prisoners is good for society. On the contrary it makes rehabilitation much more difficult. I knew that my judge would impose a prison sentence even without a trial so filled a big suitcase with books to read. They were all taken off me when I entered Belmarsh and when I was asked why I was told the guards were following new orders from Chris Grayling. Friends who tried to send book via Amazon had them returned as undeliverable. I never saw the prison library in Belmarsh and was allowed one 10-minute visit to the Brixton Library. All envelopes and packets are opened and searched when they arrive in prison and the idea that drugs or extremist material arrives in the post is just nonsense. This ruling by a judge is a modest win for common sense though they real breakthrough will happen only when our judges also assert their independence over politicians and stop imposing so many knee-jerk custodial sentences for non-violent first-time crime and especially on women” MacShane said. His Prison Diaries, an account of Belmarsh and Brixton, is published by Biteback

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