LETTER: Axed: a creative outlet for insiders

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The Independent Online
From Ms June Watkins

Sir: I go to a weekly poetry group. Our tutor, a gifted teacher, spends most of her time teaching in Wandsworth Prison. For our last class of the term we brought poems of our own choosing. She brought three poems from the prisoners, not special as poems perhaps, but remarkable as human witness, from men who had previously never even read a poem. To me these classes are a joy; to them a lifeline in a grim existence.

Our class starts again in January. Theirs is cut. In Wandsworth Prison, education classes have been cut by 50 per cent - all creative classes, all save the basics. Who knows? Who cares?

We send more and more people to prison, and spend more money on building ever more prisons at vast cost, and there we think we end our responsibility. But our responsibility remains towards people in prison. Education classes in prison are vital, and should not be cut. Rather let it be considered whether this huge prison population is justified.

Yours sincerely,

June Watkins

Old Isleworth


19 December