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Books Unlocked 2018/19 evaluation

Added 26 Nov 2019 | Updated 21 Oct 22

About Books Unlocked

Since 2012, Books Unlocked has supported people in prisons and young offender institutions to read for enjoyment, to read more often, and to engage with literature.

The programme is made possible thanks to funding from the Booker Prize Foundation, and builds on the prize’s history of celebrating the best in contemporary literature, by making high quality literature available to everyone. We support prisons across the country by:

  • Donating copies of shortlisted and longlisted Booker Prize titles to reading groups
  • Serialising audio books via the Books Unlocked radio programme on National Prison Radio
  • Arranging inspirational author visits to prison reading groups

Books Unlocked in 2018/19

In 2018/19, we distributed a record 2,294 books to 75 settings in England, Scotland and Wales.

Feedback from Books Unlocked consistently shows us that reading for pleasure and discussing books in groups has an impact on multiple aspects of participants’ lives. In 2018/19 we saw the following outcomes as a result of the programme:

  • Almost 7 in 10 (67%) said their reading skills had improved
  • 67% reported higher levels of wellbeing
  • 8 in 10 (80%) told us their listening skills had improved
  • Almost 7 in 10 (67%) of participants reported that they now talk more about reading
  • 55% told us they now get along better with others in their setting
  • 62% reported that their communication skills had improved
  • Almost half (48%) of participants told us that they now read and write more frequently
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