In Conditions of the Working Class In England, Engels used statistics from 1842 to prove the link between crime and poverty. He wrote that "taking the the average, out of 100 criminals, 32.35 could neither read nor write; 58.32 read and wrote imperfectly…"
Engels explained that "contempt for the existing order is most conspicuous in its extreme form – that of offences against the law. If the influences demoralising to the working man act more powerfully than usual he becomes an offender…"
"The offences are, in the great majority of cases, against property, and have, therefore, arisen from want in some form; for what a man has, he does not steal…"
In 2002, figures from a Social Exclusion Unit Report showed that 40% of convicted prisoners had "severe literacy problems" and 60% "had problems with literacy".
The 2002 Report added that most prisoners come from "socially excluded backgrounds" - they are 13 times more likely to have been in care and 14 times more likely to have been unemployed than non-offenders. More than half of all male prisoners and over two thirds of female prisoners have no qualifications…
Fred Engels Part 1 here
Fred Engels Part 2 here
Fred Engels Part 3 here
Engels Trivia and limited edition Engels poster here
Who was Mary Burns?