Diffusion books inspire prisoners and ex-offenders to see a hope-filled future

We provide free books to prisoners and ex-offenders because we believe that reading can change lives. Two of the key factors that contribute to high rates of re-offending are lack of employment on release and lack of support from family and friends.


Diffusion tackles both these issues. We work to reduce re-offending by providing free books that improve reading skills, helping prisoners find employment on release and by encouraging reading and discussion groups we work to change attitudes, thinking and behaviour.

Reading your book, made me think about my own life and that I could make better choices.

Prisoner, HMP Bristol

Why read in a group?

As well as increasing reading confidence, discussing a book in a group has lots of other benefits, including:  

  • improving social skills: participants are encouraged to share their own opinions, listen to opposing views and engage with each other in a mutually respectful manner

  • giving readers an opportunity to engage in thoughtful conversation in a relaxed environment

  • giving participants a greater sense of self-worth and well-being

  • offering a brief escape from the realities of prison life

We have already supported over 60 prisons across the UK and supplied over 3,000 free books to prisoners. We know that using our book in a reading group works because we get great feedback from our readers and from group leaders!

Why read Diffusion books?​

Not only are Diffusion books free to reading groups and written specifically for adults who want to improve their reading, they also have lots of other benefits, including:

  • encouraging empathy by asking questions such as, ‘What does it feel like to be the character in the book?’, and ‘How would I behave if were that character?’

  • inspiring self-reflection by asking questions such as, ‘Is this story similar or different to my own experience of life?’ and ‘Can I apply the truths in this story to my own situation?’

  • showing the transformative power of positive relationships with family and friends

  • demonstrating that actions and choices have consequences

  • fostering a sense of personal responsibility

Diffusion books have engaging story lines that avoid sexism, racism and the glorification of violence, making them ideally suited for reading in prisons and with ex-offenders.

It was so interesting and rewarding reading the book out loud together and sharing ideas, opinions and seeing how differently we related to some situations.

Prisoner, HMP Low Newton

The books were helpful in improving literacy levels … and the group gained confidence from reading out loud, listening and concentrating, and expressing views and opinions.

English Tutor, HMP Portland

The books send a message to younger prisoners that there are choices in life and you have to realise that with the choices you make, there are consequences.

Shannon Trust prison representative, HMP Huntercombe

You can read how Diffusion books make a real difference to the lives of prisoners by clicking on the links below.

Tyler, a prisoner’s story

Alan, a group leader’s story

Kate, a group leader’s story