Prison visits were one of the ‘highlights’ of a year in office for the former High Sheriff of South Yorkshire.
Lady Ruby Sykes also said finding unsung heroes – from women’s groups to care workers – had made her feel ‘humbled and privileged’, while sitting in courts as an observer had increased her admiration for judges.
Writing for the High Sheriff Magazine, she said: “The highlight was my prison visits. This may seem strange to many, but not only had I never been inside a prison but my knowledge of their inhabitants was very limited.
“We could debate the rights and wrongs of the prison system and never reach a conclusion, but one of the things I learned was that illiteracy is a real problem for many inmates and it is something the prison system can address.”
Lady Sykes, who finished her year in office last week, also said attending citizenship ceremonies had ‘made me realise how privileged we all are’.