Read between the crimes: Prisoners are photographed enjoying their favourite books in jail as their most popular titles are revealed
- Criminals in NSW jails have access to more than 136,000 titles, but staff get a lot of requests for true crime
- The RMS Road Users’ Handbook, the Macquarie Dictionary and a Bill Bryson novel were top non-fiction picks
- Vampire novels are extremely popular, and a book about a heroin addict who escaped prison and fled to India
Prisoners are spending their time behind bars reading vampire novels and the state road rules handbook, but consistent requests for true crime books have been denied.
Criminals in New South Wales jails have access to more than 136,000 titles on library shelves.
The RMS Road Users’ Handbook and the Macquarie Dictionary were the top non-fiction picks for 2019, but library services manager Toni Kennedy reveled most book requests are denied.
NSW inmates enjoy reading the top five books among prisoners for 2019 including Game of Thrones and Shantaram
‘True crime tops the list of inmate books requested, and rejected, but it should go without saying that those books are banned,’ Ms Kennedy said.
Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin topped the fiction list, closely followed by Gregory David Roberts’ partly-fictional autobiography Shantaram – about a former heroin addict and bank robber who became Australia’s most wanted.
But Ms Kennedy also revealed some surprising selections.
‘While some of the state’s roughest and toughest enjoy a good thriller, it isn’t the only genre that is peaking the interest of those doing time.
Criminals in New South Wales jails have access to more than 136,000 titles on library shelves but staff receive a lot of requests for true crime books
The RMS Road Users’ Handbook, the Macquarie Dictionary and Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything were the top non-fiction picks for 2019
‘Another popular request is the vampire fantasy novels in the Twilight saga.’
The library department was established by Ms Kennedy in 2003.
It now has seven staff and numerous inmate library clerks working across the state.
The top five books were Game of Thrones, A Darkness at Sethanon, Shantaram, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Twilight Saga
All prisons have one to four libraries, varying in size from a cupboard to a full facility.
It’s a way for inmates to learn something new or disappear to another world for a while,’ said Assistant commissioner Carlo Scassera.
‘It’s also a chance for some offenders to improve their literacy skills, which can assist them post-release, as well as a management tool for staff to keep inmates busy.’
NSW PRISONERS’ TOP BOOKS FOR 2019
Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
A Darkness at Sethanon by Raymond E. Feist
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
The Twilight Saga
RMS Road Users’ Handbook
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson