Huge ‘Books for Prisons’ response

It’s the season for giving and this Christmas foreign national offenders at Maidstone Prison will receive the gift of a foreign language library donated by London’s consuls.

The Books for Prisons appeal was inspired by a presentation given by the Governor of Maidstone Prison, Dave Atkinson, where he explained to the Consular Corps the challenges he faced obtaining foreign literature for the library at his penal facility, which has in its custody more than 80 different nationalities.

So the Consular Corps, in partnership with Embassy magazine and Rowland Brothers International, and with the support of the German and Canadian consulates, launched a campaign to collect foreign literature.

Consuls, whose job it is to assist their prisoners, responded with generosity and 15 boxes of books – in a variety of languages including Chinese, Czech, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Korean and Serbian – were collected at the Embassy Consular Conference and delivered to Maidstone Prison by Rownland Brothers just in time for Christmas.

The books have restocked the library and the residential wings, while children’s books were given to the children’s area. Two Korean bibles were delivered to the prison Chapel.

Thanking consuls who took the time to donate books, Dave Atkinson said he was “overwhelmed and humbled” by the response.

“These books will provide a level of normality for prisoners. Being able to read in their own language will help reduce their isolation.”

Consular Corps President Christiaan Sys, HMP Governor Dave Atkinson,
Sue Ackerman (Rowland Brothers) and Embassy Editor Elizabeth Stewart