Archer, jailed author, wants 3Rs in prison

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Lord Archer will overlook his own literary shortcomings today and propose that illiterate inmates should be refused parole until they learn to read and write.

The Tory peer, who is on probation himself, will outline his proposal in a speech at a Howard League for Penal Reform conference - his first public appearance since his release from prison two months ago.

The move is likely to be perceived as an unexpected betrayal by many of the new "friends" he claimed to have made during his two years in jail for perjury.

Yesterday, penal reformers also condemned his proposals as "authoritarian" in the treatment of inmates with widely varying degrees of educational backgrounds.

Frances Crook, director of the Howard League, said: "I've never thought that you can sentence people to education."