Book-lover in­mates turn new page in ‘univer­si­ties of crime’

Rankin and Solzhen­it­syn nov­els plus Hitler’s trea­tise among most bor­rowed works

The Courier & Advertiser (Fife Edition) - - NEWS - PE­TER JOHN MEIKLEM pmeik­[email protected]­

In­mates at Scot­land’s only open prison have been study­ing the “best” crimes of the last 100 years.

Alan J Wh­i­ticker’s 101 Crimes Of The Cen­tury was the most pop­u­lar book loaned to pris­on­ers in Cas­tle Huntly last year, ac­cord­ing to doc­u­ments re­leased un­der Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion pow­ers.

The book was loaned out eight times in Cas­tle Huntly which holds around 280 low-su­per­vi­sion male of­fend­ers.

The vol­ume “cov­ers the shock­ing truth be­hind mur­ders, as­sas­si­na­tions, rob­beries and theft. It in­cludes crimes of pas­sion, ter­ror­ism, as­sas­si­na­tion, un­der­world mur­der, sex crimes, so­ci­ety crimes, kidnapping, theft, se­rial mur­der and so­ci­ety scan­dals”.

The fig­ures cover all of the items bor­rowed and re­quested from in­mates from Oc­to­ber 2017 to Oc­to­ber 2018.

Hitler’s au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal and an­tiSemitic tract Mein Kampf was joint fourth most pop­u­lar book bor­rowed at the prison, with five in­mates tak­ing out the highly con­tro­ver­sial 1925 polemic.

Ian Rankin was the most bor­rowed author in the prison, with au­thors Lee Child, Jack Camp­bell and Jo Nesbo also fea­tur­ing highly.

One Cas­tle Huntly pris­oner’s re­quest for a boxset of the much-loved prison sit­com Por­ridge at Christ­mas was turned down due to lack of avail­abil­ity.

Re­spect! by Michaela Mor­gan was the most pop­u­lar book re­quested at Perth prison – crit­i­cised this month for be­ing one of Scot­land’s most vi­o­lent jails.

The novel tells the true story of Wal­ter Tull, who grew up in a chil­dren’s home and was one of the first black play­ers in English foot­ball and the first black in­fantry of­fi­cer in the British Army.

It has been writ­ten to be par­tic­u­larly suit­able for strug­gling, re­luc­tant and dyslexic read­ers age 12 and over.

One Day In The Life Of Ivan Deniso­vich by Alek­sandr Solzhen­it­syn – which fo­cuses on the hard­ship suf­fered by those at­tempt­ing to sur­vive in one of Stalin’s Soviet gu­lags – was the fourth most pop­u­lar book in Perth prison.

Multi-mil­lion-sell­ing US nov­el­ist James Pat­ter­son was the most bor­rowed author with 153 re­quests for his work – more than dou­ble his near­est com­peti­tor, armed forces writer Andy McNab, with 65 books loaned.

A spokesman for the Scot­tish Prison Ser­vice said: “We ac­tively en­cour­age those in our care to en­gage in ac­tiv­i­ties that de­velop read­ing and lit­er­acy skills and wel­come any in­ter­est shown by of­fend­ers in ac­cess­ing li­brary ser­vices.

“Our li­brary pro­vi­sions are as var­ied as li­braries in the wider com­mu­nity, re­flect­ing a wide range of in­ter­ests among those in our care.”

Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf was a well-thumbed choice of non-fic­tion at Cas­tle Huntly, while Scot­tish author Ian Rankin was pop­u­lar among pris­on­ers for his crime nov­els.

Within these walls – 101 Crimes Of The Cen­tury was the most pop­u­lar book at Cas­tle Huntly, while Stu­art MacBride topped the Grampian list.

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