Prisoners and Their Information Needs; Prison Libraries Overview

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Library Philosophy and Practice (e-journal)


The study aims at identifying the prisoner’s information needs. The descriptive survey design was adopted for this study. The census sampling technique was adopted for this study. Four objectives were set for the study and the interview was used to elicit information from respondents. As of the time of collecting data for this study, there were 936 prisoners in the four selected prisons. Findings showed that 95% were male while 5% were female. Findings also reveal that the information needs of prisoners covered health conditions, financial (99%), spiritual and moral (88%), life after prison/ information on legal issues (86%), family/friends (68%), literacy education (65%), skill acquisition (63%), right in prison (42%), prison rules (34%), and others information needs (26%). The majority of the respondents found libraries condition inadequate (85%). The study revealed that mosque/church were the popular ways of meeting information needs of the prisoners (75%). This is followed by family/friends (65%), physician/Nurses (56%), radio/television broad cast (23%), prison staff (22%), 2 books/newspaper/magazine (20%), others (15%) and libraries (11%). Factors affecting information seeking behaviour of the prisoners include, problem of uncomfortable nature of the prison/ long delay before trial (97%), poor funding of the library and prison as a whole (95%), building used for library is unfavourable (85%), among others. The paper concludes that State and Federal Government should take into consideration the prisoners information needs amongst us, thereby provide adequate funding, current information and conducive reading room. Recommendations were put forward to enhance access to information by the prisoners.



Prisoners information behaviour, Information needs, Awaiting trial Prisoners,, ATPs, Prison Libraries