Books for Amnesty was recently one of two charities to have donated hundreds of books for detainees in police custody.

The donation follows a request by Sergeant Jon Hill who works in the Criminal Justice Department and is part of a police drive to ensure more reading material is available to prisoners. This is part of a bid to improve the way the new custody units are run.

Jon Hill and Tamara Evans Braun outside Books For Amnesty

Jon Hill and Tamara Evans Braun

Sergeant Hill said: “A recent visit by an Independent Custody Visitor identified a lack of appropriate reading materials for young people in custody.

“If detainees, especially juveniles, have access to age appropriate reading material whilst their cases are processed, then this can make a real difference. Being on your own in a room for up to 24 hours can at best be boring and at worst frightening, especially for a child, so providing them with a distraction in the form of a book could really alter a young person’s experience of custody.”

In 1955, the UN congress adopted the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.  This document has a section on the availability of books (article 40) which states:

“Every institution shall have a library for the use of all categories of prisoners, adequately stocked with both recreational and instructional books, and prisoners shall be encouraged to make full use of it”

Tamara Evans Braun, Books for Amnesty Volunteer says :

“We are really glad to make this link with the prison services. Amnesty International campaigns across the world for human rights. Often the campaigns focus on prisoners of concience but the rights of detainees here in bristol are very much under our mandate!”

Most of our donations go through the shop on Gloucester rd (Bristol) and the ones that do not sell are sold to a book recycling company. We are however always interested in passing on our unsold books to worthy causes so if you know any local projects or community groups in need of some books we’d be interested to hear from you.