New Chapters

HM YOI Aylesbury

About the programme

New Chapters supports people in young offender institutions through the power of reading and writing, helping to raise their aspirations and lead productive and fulfilling lives while in custody and on release.

Currently, New Chapters is delivered to young people in HMP Aylesbury and HMP/YOI Feltham. It is based on our successful Books Unlocked model which we have delivered in prisons for the past seven years.

The need

The link between poor educational outcomes and youth offending is inarguable. Research suggests that 90% of young people in custody have been excluded from school at any one time before entering custody, and 60% have significant speech, language or communication difficulties.

In custody, educational disadvantage is often compounded, with only 1% of youth offenders in custody for 12 months or longer achieving 5 or more GCSEs A*-C.

New Chapters involves:

  • Creating mini libraries on each wing

    Giving easier access to books, these will be refreshed monthly with additional new titles chosen by those taking part.

  • Giving out free books

    Through our work with publishers, we give New Chapters participants books of their own to keep.

  • A programme of events

    Including regular book clubs and writing workshops, which provide a supportive environment where participants learn how to communicate.

  • Peer-to-peer support

    Participants will be encouraged to promote reading to their peers.

  • Working with National Prison Radio

    A series of audio books and author events are broadcast on National Prison Radio.

  • Author and ambassador visits

    Authors, who often have lived experience of the criminal justice system, visit prisons to meet participants and discuss their books.

Read our New Chapters report