Libraries are a key to prisoner reform in Philippines

24 MARCH 2023

Libraries are a key to prisoner reform in Philippines

A Charles Sturt academic was recently in Manila to launch a program that is aiming to reduce sentence times and jail congestion through the use of libraries in 13 prisons in the Philippines.

  • Charles Sturt academic supports establishment of libraries in the Philippines to reduce prisoner sentence time

A Charles Sturt University academic has contributed to prisoner reform in the Philippines through the power of the written word.

Senior Lecturer in Information Studies with the Charles Sturt School of Information and Communication Studies in Wagga Wagga Dr Jane Garner was part of a program that is creating new jail libraries in the Philippines.

The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) established the ‘Read Your Way Out’ program to help prisoners, or persons deprived of liberty (PDL), to earn Time Allowance for Study, Teaching and Mentoring.

This will allow PDLs to reduce time in sentences and alleviate prison congestion, which is sitting at a rate of 370 per cent in the Philippines.

The program aims to facilitate early release and rehabilitation through improved education and vocation skills.

Thirteen jails across the Philippines will be provided with books and equipment to create new libraries or resource existing ones as the program was officially launched on Tuesday 14 March.

While in Manila, Dr Garner also launched a document she co-edited that will be used to establish and manage the jail libraries.

Dr Garner said the ability for PDLs to gain time allowances for reading and learning is wholly dependent on the availability of books within Philippine jails.

“The UNODC is generously donating libraries into Philippine prisons and I was able to accept their invitation to be part of a group of international prison library experts who came together to advise the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology on how to manage these libraries, and how to support reading within their jails,” she said.

“Beyond reducing the amount of time Philippine prisoners need to spend in jail, reading in prison allows prisoners to spend their time productively and to improve their literacy levels, leading to greater opportunities to find employment after release.”

Media Note:

To arrange interviews with Dr Jane Garner, contact Nicole Barlow at Charles Sturt Media on 0429 217 026 or

Photo caption: Dr Jane Garner (front, centre) at the recent launch of the Read Your Way Out program in Manila.

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Wagga Wagga Charles Sturt University