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Book charity wins Longford Prize

A charity that has been purchasing educational books for prisoners since 1996, Haven Distribution, has won The Longford Trust‘s 2018 Longford Prize. At last night’s sold-out Longford Lecture, Why do people stop doing crime?, the panel chose the low-profile work of the organisation as they wanted Haven Distribution to be publicly applauded for sending books into prison. The charity […]

Arts Council England publish evidence review

Arts Council England (ACE) today published Arts and culture in health and wellbeing and in the criminal justice system: A summary of evidence – the final piece of research conducted as part of its evidence review for the next ten-year strategy 2020-30. Co-authored by Richard Ings and John McMahon, the summary of evidence cites nearly 200 academic […]

Have your say on Arts Council England’s 10-year strategy

The National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance is asking its members to have their say on Arts Council England’s (ACE) upcoming strategy for 2020-2030, and shape where creative work in criminal justice settings fits in to its 10-year vision. We welcome ACE’s increased support for our sector, and believe this is an important opportunity to identify how criminal justice can help […]

Our key messages

Our new flyer Why do arts in criminal justice matter? outlines the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance’s key messages and strategy for what we would like to see happen in the criminal justice system. The short flyer uses key evidence, quotes and images to advocate the importance of the work of our membership in a simple and effective […]

Prison education system launched

The Ministry of Justice’s ongoing selection stage of the Prison Education Dynamic Purchasing System (PEDPS) has been launched meaning providers can once again apply to participate. It is specifically designed to enable governors to secure specialist or one-off education provision to meet short-term needs and help create and grown relationships with local employers and educators […]

20 years of supporting voluntary organisations in criminal justice settings

2018 marks the 20th year that Clinks has supported voluntary organisations working with people in the criminal justice system. For its 20th birthday and AGM, Clinks held a celebratory event featuring performances from InHouse Records followed by messages from staff (old and new), members, supporters and new chair Roma Hooper. The event also marked the launch of its new […]

Theatre for care leavers

The Big House is a theatre company and charity that works with care leavers and other young people who are at a high risk of social exclusion. It provides a platform for them to participate in the making of theatre and to have their voices heard. Following the government’s launch of the Care Leaver Covenant last week […]

New book from the Monument Fellowship published

We are pleased to announce the Monument Fellowship, of which the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance (NCJAA) is a part, has released its latest book today. Curing violence: How we can become a less violent society, published by The Centre for Justice Innovation, is a collection of essays that seek to not only describe the problem […]

Professorial lecture on arts and criminal justice

University of Wolverhampton’s Professor Laura Caulfield’s inaugural lecture on arts in the criminal justice system is now available to watch online. “Where I am now, I didn’t imagine I could be”: Creative approaches to rehabilitation in the criminal justice system is a useful resource for students, academics, practitioners and anyone interested in the role of arts […]

BBC feature on creative writing in prisons

Carlo Gebler has spent nearly three decades working in the Northern Ireland prison system as a teacher of creative writing. Produced by Conor Garrett for BBC Northern Ireland, BBC Radio 3’s latest Sunday Feature explores if prison arts and education made any difference to the lives of those Carlo taught. The author and teacher meets inmates attending […]

Clean Break announce 40th anniversary spring season

2019 opens with Clean Break’s first season under new Artistic Directors, Anna Herrmann and Róisín McBrinn – featuring new plays, performances and projects created by artists, high profile partners and collaborators, and Clean Break Members. Forty years ago, two incredible women in prison set up Clean Break, believing theatre could bring the hidden stories of […]

Theatre production at HMYOI Polmont

Glas(s) Performance (UK producers of award-winning young people’s company Junction 25) has worked with young men in HMYOI Polmont to create an original theatre piece titled Motion, which explores questions of identity and inheritance and what it means to be a young man in contemporary Scotland today. The Sunday Post’s Megan McEachern visited the prison to see the […]

Stretch Digital report

Stretch Charity is characterised by an innovative arts and storytelling agenda that has proven successful in prisons and community projects for over a decade. Stretch has prepared a detailed report of Stretch Digital, a lottery funded project that saw Stretch deliver its work in five prisons and across the community over three years. The report includes a […]

Prisoner Learning Alliance awards

On 13 September, the Prisoner Learning Alliance (PLA) held its fourth annual awards for staff and mentors making a difference in prison education. This year the PLA received a record 1,300 nominations from people in prison, over three times more than in 2017. Winners included librarians, gardeners, art tutors and peer mentors. One winner was Lesley Bennetts, an […]

Beating Time joins One Day One Choir

Beating Time’s singing group at HMP Maidstone, The Maidstone Jammers, was delighted to take part in this year’s One Day One Choir initiative – a global choral project in support of the UN World Peace Day, 21st September. The programme included a special song of peace and reconciliation, “Closer”, written by one of the group […]

Bursaries awarded

The National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance is pleased to announce we have successfully awarded seven small bursaries to help emerging artists with a lived experience of the criminal justice system develop their career and artistic practice. Many thanks to all those who applied, the field was incredibly strong and the panel enjoyed reading how inspiring […]

Special arts edition of Prison Service Journal

The latest issue of the HM Prison Service’s peer review journal is a special edition that focuses on The Arts in Prison. Edited by Dr Michael Fiddler and National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance steering group member Alli Black, the 239th edition of the Prison Service Journal contains 10 articles and evaluations that show “a partial snapshot […]

What does success look like for arts in criminal justice settings?

Written following a series of roundtable discussions commissioned by Arts Council England in 2017, and attended by leading voices in arts and criminal justice, What does success look like for arts in criminal justice? highlights the main themes that came out of these roundtables and outlines learning points and opportunities for development. It concludes with key […]

Voices from the row exhibition

During July 2018, Voices from the Row, an exhibition of poetry and artwork by prisoners incarcerated on death row San Quentin, was held at the Poetry Café in London. It was well visited - and went some way to prove that art and poetry can transcend prison walls. The art, poetry and recordings that were on show are [...]

Launch of Prisoner Policy Network

The Prisoner Policy Network is a new, free to join, network of prisoners, ex-prisoners and supporting organisations. Hosted by the Prison Reform Trust, it will make sure prisoners’ experiences are part of prison policy development nationally. The network will be a collective voice from a prisoner viewpoint in the policy world. It will support prisoners to […]

Government call for evidence on supporting former prisoners to find employment

The Cabinet Office and Ministry of Justice have put out a Call for Evidence asking for case studies from public, private and voluntary sector employers and organisations which support former prisoners to find employment. Through the consultation they want to improve their understanding of inclusive recruitment practices, employability initiatives, and evidence and impact. Consultation closes at 5pm on 31 August […]

Government consultation on probation services

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) last week announced an eight-week public consultation on the future of probation. Clinks and the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance (NCJAA) welcome this announcement. Clinks’ TrackTR research on the voluntary sector’s engagement in Transforming Rehabilitation shows that the voluntary sector is under represented, under pressure and under resourced and calls for […]

New resource shares children’s experiences of their dads going to prison

A new pack of arts activities developed by Nepacs and Helix Arts, Hidden Voices, has been released today. The resource, co-produced with artists, children whose dads are in custody, and men in prison whose children are back home, will help fathers in prisons reflect on the impact of their offending on their children at home. Children in […]

More good vibes

Good Vibrations is campaigning to bring ‘more good vibes’ to its past participants. The communal music making charity, which supports people in challenging circumstances with additional needs, has developed a Beyond Performance project for people who have taken part in a Good Vibrations course and want to further develop their skills as musicians. The Beyond Performance course runs from 10th – 14th September […]

Arts Council England pledge to support arts in criminal justice

Arts Council England has recognised the importance of arts in criminal justice in their latest strategic plan. Published last week, their two-year Corporate Plan sets out their high-level priorities for delivering their 10-year strategy over the period 2018-20, and states: We will support and celebrate the contribution creative practitioners and cultural organisations make across vital areas of public policy, […]

New film makes the case for arts in criminal justice

We are pleased to announce the release of our new film Why do arts in criminal justice matter? Using interviews filmed during our 2017 Annual Conference at the National Theatre, the film features responses from sector leaders and supporters, and shares inspirational accounts of our members’ work; making a compelling case for arts in criminal justice. What access to the […]

Longford Trust scholars exhibit in 250th RA Summer Exhibition

Two recipients of The Longford Trust scholarship have been selected to exhibit their work in the 250th Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, which opened to the public today. The Longford Trust awards scholarships to young serving and ex-prisoners to go to university to continue their rehabilitation. Both Paul Grady and Lee Cutter have been supported by […]

Clean Break announce new leadership team

The award-winning theatre company Clean Break has announced a new leadership team to take the company into its fifth decade of work with women in the criminal justice system. Founded in 1979 by two women prisoners who believed that theatre could bring the hidden stories of the imprisoned women to a wider audience, Clean Break produce […]

Justice Secretary says “there is a role for the arts”

The Justice Secretary, David Gauke MP, has recognised the role and impact of the arts in criminal justice as he sets out his position on a prison service “close to breaking point”. In an interview with The Times, Mr Gauke spoke about having “a culture of rehabilitation” and wants to “encourage drama, writing and painting in prisons.” He goes on to say: […]

Welcome Erika Flowers

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Erika Flowers to the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance (NCJAA) Steering Group. Erika has a lived experience of the Criminal Justice System and experience of the arts within this, from both a beneficial point of view and in participatory capacity in the form of her voluntary and contractual […]

New national alliance for Culture, Health and Wellbeing launches today

We are pleased to announce that the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance are one of the founding strategic members of the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance. This new alliance brings together the National Alliance for Arts, Health and Wellbeing with the National Alliance for Museums, Health and Wellbeing and involves 50 leading cultural organisations from across England. It […]

Koestler announce venues for ‘100 Years On’

To commemorate the centenary of women’s suffrage, the Koestler Trust is producing an art trail of Koestler Award-winning artworks by today’s women prisoners. The idea is simple but powerful: to exhibit 100 framed paintings, drawings, sculptures and poems by women in prison in important venues and public buildings throughout the UK. The trail will shine […]

New Year Honour for our vice-chair Andy Watson

We are very pleased to share that the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance vice-chair, Andy Watson, has received an MBE for services to the Arts in the Criminal Justice System in the New Year’s Honours list 2018. Andy is the Artistic Director and CEO of Geese Theatre Company. Having trained in Paris at the Lecoq International School […]

NCJAA Bursary Scheme for emerging artists

Applications accepted from 1 February 2018. We know how a lack of funding, even small sums, can be a significant barrier to pursuing creativity and our experience is that small grants can make a big difference to developing talent and improving life chances. We are offering a bursary scheme to support emerging artists with a […]

New book: Life Beyond Crime

The National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance and Clinks are among 60 contributors to ‘Life Beyond Crime’, a new book put together by The Monument Fellowship, convened by The Monument Trust. The book, published by Lemos&Crane, draws together through prose, poems and pictures the assembled first-hand experience and wisdom of scores of contributors responding to the […]

Key Change

Open Clasp are launching Key Change by Catrina McHugh MBE (Carol Tambor, Best of Edinburgh Award, 2015, New York Times Critics Pick, 2016) on the 25th November, to mark the UN campaign International Day to End Violence Against Women & Girls and running for the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign until the […]

Statement on the Lammy Review

This statement is from the Arts Alliance parent, Clinks. David Lammy’s review shines a light on key points in the system which produce unequal outcomes for black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people and makes clear recommendations for addressing these. NCJAA and Clinks is committed to making sure that the voluntary sector plays a vital […]

Chief Inspector of Prisons highlights prison safety in annual report

The main conclusion of Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons, in his annual report is that “prison reform will not succeed unless the violence and prevalence of drugs in jail are addressed and prisoners and unlocked for more of the working day.” The report, published on 18th July, is based on 86 individual inspection reports […]

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) has released its new Expectations

Following the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance’s response to a consultation on the provision in men’s prisons, we are pleased to see our recommendations appear in the form of a new expectation that prisoners can access creative activities which promote learning, wellbeing and support rehabilitation. The HMIP’s expectations are the documents which set out the […]

Creative Health: the arts for health and wellbeing

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing (APPGAHW) was formed in 2014 and aims to improve awareness of the benefits that the arts can bring to health and wellbeing. During 2015-17, the APPGAHW conducted an Inquiry into practice and research in the arts in health and social care, with a view to […]

Clinks’ State of the Sector report

Every year Clinks surveys voluntary sector organisations to collect information about how healthy the sector is, the role it is playing, and the wellbeing of service users. This year’s report explores how voluntary organisations working in criminal justice are faring. It found that during political change, voluntary organisations remain resilient and innovative but the safety […]

Nelson Trust Gloucester Women’s Centre: art exhibition

Katie McCue, art tutor, coordinator and curator of an exhibition at the Nelson Trust’s Gloucester Women’s Centre, talks about the recent exhibition and the impact that making art can have on people’s lives: “Making art is not just a nice thing to do. Yes it’s a great way to just be in the moment, to […]

National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance has received funding offer to become part of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio

We are very pleased to announce that the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance has been received a funding offer to become one of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Sector Support Organisations from 2018-2022. The National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance’s vision is to promote access to arts and creative opportunities as a springboard to positive change […]

NCJAA welcomes new Vice-Chair

The National Criminal Justice Alliance is very pleased to announce the appointment of its new Vice-Chair. Andy Watson, Artistic Director of Geese Theatre Company will take over from Katy Haigh, Director of Good Vibrations. We would very much like to thank Katy for her hard work as our Vice-Chair – we are incredibly grateful for […]

The Chris Johnston Memorial Fund

Background    Chris Johnston was a co-founder and co-director of Rideout between 1999 and 2017. He was a passionate exponent of theatre and social justice, with a particular interest in the development of programmes within, and about, criminal justice. Furthermore he was a pioneer in the development of longer-form drama improvisation strategies to help communities explore […]

Pride versus Prejudice: Video

Michael Brome is a prison officer at HMP Leicester with 13 years service. In this time he has worked in several areas and teams dealing with very challenging situations and individuals. Michael is also a spoken word artist, represented by literature organisation Renaissance One, a mentor, and a workshop facilitator. He has performed widely – […]

Call out for photographs to accompany film by Good Vibrations

Malcolm Milner, Training and Development Manager at Good Vibrations, is looking for images from arts and criminal justice projects to accompany a piece of Gamelan music in a video about the benefits of the arts in criminal justice settings. The music he is using is a compilation of approximately 750 men and women in different prisons […]

Recognising Helen Pringle’s contribution to the field of arts and criminal justice

Clean Break is very sad to announce the death of its longstanding employee Helen Pringle, Head of Finance and Senior Producer, who passed away peacefully on 14th May following a long period of living with cancer. Helen joined Clean Break in September 2001, having had several years’ experience of working as a stage and production […]

What do prisoners and ex-prisoners need to learn?

The National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance is part of the Monument Trust’s Fellowship – a group of organisations brought together by the Monument Trust to collaborate on each stage of the journey an offender experiences in the criminal justice system, from arrest, through prosecution and sentencing in court, in prisons and Young Offender Institutes, and […]

Unlock Drama: Theatre in Prison training day

Unlock Drama are offering a Theatre in Prison training day (date TBC). The training will take place in Milton Keynes, and will practically explore how to deal with varied scenarios within a prison setting. The training will also be tailor made, as each delegate will be asked exactly what they want to get out of […]

Grants for voluntary organisations working with prisoners and ex-offenders

The Noel Buxton Trust offers small grants of up to £4,000 for three years to support work with prisoners and ex-offenders. The kinds of activities they fund include peer support and mentoring, rebuilding connections with friends and family, skill-based activities, and activities that help rehabilitate offenders and reduce stigma in communities. They tend to offer […]

Youth Music is actively seeking applicants for their Youth Justice funding stream

Youth Music provides funding for music-making projects in England for children and young people up to the age of 25. Youth Justice is one of their priority areas and they are actively seeking more applications to work with children and young people in the criminal justice system or who are at risk of offending. Youth […]

Submit a research or evaluation report for inclusion in our Evidence Library

We are looking for new research and evaluation reports on the impact of arts in criminal justice settings to publish in our Evidence Library. The Evidence Library is an online library housing the key research and evaluation documents on the impact of arts-based projects, programmes and interventions within the criminal justice system. The Library currently […]

Updated prisons map

The Ministry of Justice has published an up to date map showing the location of all the prisons in England and Wales. The map is colour coded to highlight which prisons are specifically for young people and women, and which prisons are high security. It also includes information on which prisons are Foreign National Prisons […]

Fine Cell Work opens new hub for ex-offenders

Fine Cell Work, the charity which trains and pays prisoners to do fine needlework in their cells for commercial sale, is planning to open a London-based crafts training studio for ex-offenders. The workshop will be called the Fine Works Hub and will offer work experience, accredited employment training and one to one mentoring to participants. […]

Justice Secretary launches new prison and probation service to reform offenders

Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) will replace the National Offender Management Service (NOMS). HMPPS will have full responsibility for the operational management of offenders in custody and the community, including strengthening security in prisons, tackling extremism and building intelligence about criminal gangs. Supported to recruit an extra 2,500 officers, the new service will […]

Safe Ground Fathers Inside programme participants are 40% less likely to re-offend

Arts charity Safe Ground has received its latest Justice Data Lab report, which for the first time includes an analysis of their Fathers Inside programme. The report highlights the significant impact of Fathers Inside. Only 24% of men who took the programme re-offended within a year of release, compared to 40% of their counterparts who […]

Ways of living: unlocking young people’s potential

For three weeks in August 2016, funded by the Foyle Foundation and managed by engage Cymru in partnership with Unitas, six young people at Hillside Secure Unit and eight people at Bridgend Parc Prison YOI were engaged in intensive artist led Summer Arts Colleges. Literacy, numeracy, digital and research skills were innovatively woven into a […]

Orchestras for everyone: symposium summary

On 23rd November 2016, Orchestras Live held a symposium to examine the barriers that face people when accessing and engaging in high quality orchestral performances. In her summary of the day, Orchestras Live’s CEO Sarah Derbyshire notes that “there was collective agreement that more concrete collaboration and joint action across those represented in the room […]

Storify: Anne Peaker lecture 2016

If you couldn’t make it to this year’s Anne Peaker lecture on 7th December, we’ve Storified the Tweets from the night. The event focused on the use of film and photography in criminal justice settings, and featured a key note lecture from artist and photographer Edmund Clark. The lecture was followed by an interesting and […]

NCJAA Annual Member Survey 2016

The National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance (NCJAA)’s annual member survey gathers information from arts and criminal justice organisations to assess whether the work we are undertaking fits what is needed by you, our members, and the wider sector. Please take 10 minutes to answer questions on various aspects of your organisation and your work, and […]

The Gulbenkian Inquiry into the civic role of arts organisations

On 8th December 2016, the Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock gave a speech on the importance of philanthropic support for the arts as part of the Gulbenkian Inquiry into the civic role of arts organisations. The Inquiry seeks to increase awareness of the civic role that arts organisations play nationally and […]

Makeright: A range of anti-theft bags that make a difference to society

A new range of ‘conscious fashion’ bags, offering a form of crime prevention, were launched on 24th November. The first range of Makeright bags has been designed by inmates from HMP Thameside in South London which is managed by Serco. The all-male prison was supported by staff from the Design Against Crime Research Centre at […]

Clean Break have been awarded the 2016 Longford Prize for their collaboration with the Donmar Warehouse and York St John’s University

We are delighted to share the news that the 2016 Longford Prize has been awarded jointly to Unlock and the Shakespeare Trilogy Project. The Shakespeare Trilogy Project comprises of the Donmar Warehouse, Clean Break and York St John’s University, with the winners being awarded for work carried out over the last four years in women’s prisons and as […]

Brighton Dome’s Miss Represented has been awarded a Big Lottery Fund grant

Miss Represented is a multi-disciplinary arts collective working with young women facing challenging life situations and has become a lifeline to its members. Achievements include collaborating with award-winning rapper Plan B, appearing on BBC Radio 1xtra, a cross art theatre show investigating forgiveness and friendship, a retrospective exhibition celebrating International Women’s Day and sell-out performances […]

Call out for submissions for a new book on how people with learning disabilities experience the Criminal Justice System

Following the book and national exhibition ‘Great Interactions’, which captured images and stories of people with learning disabilities and autism in educational and care settings, award-winning photographer Polly Braden and policy expert Rashmi Becker are producing a new book and national educational exhibition looking at how people with learning disabilities experience the Criminal Justice System. […]

Working together to improve criminal justice

The Monument Trust‘s long-held objective has been to keep young people out of prison, and to ensure that those who offend and are sent to prison never go back. The Trust has now brought together a group of organisations to collaborate as a Fellowship for several years on each stage of the journey an offender […]

Arts, culture and innovation in criminal justice settings: a guide for commissioners

Written by Andy Parkinson from Consilium Research and Consultancy on behalf of the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance, this guide provides those with responsibility for supporting the education, health, wellbeing and reintegration to society of individuals within the Criminal Justice System with clear information on the valuable role arts can play in supporting these objectives. […]

Recruit! website launched by Unlock

Recruit! is a new website that supports UK employers to recruit people with convictions and helps them to deal with criminal records fairly. It’s managed by unlock as part of a charity-funded project. Unlock is a charity that works to achieve a fair and inclusive society where people with convictions can move on positive in […]

HM Inspectorate of Prisons Annual Report 2015-16

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales has published the Annual Report for 2015-16. The report shows that prisons have not improved and in some key areas have become even worse. On a national level, while various aspects of the problem are being addressed through criminalising possession of NPS and the better use of testing and detention technologies, there is as yet no overall national strategy for dealing with the problem.

Branding and marketing opportunity for artists with experience of the Criminal Justice System

Tap Social Movement is a start-up craft brewery established to provide training and employment opportunities to people who have had contact with the Criminal Justice System. In addition to offering work experience, training and long term employment opportunities in their own brewery, they are working with other breweries to identify openings and make successful matches UK-wide in this growing industry.

Funding for creative projects in Wales

The Creative Wales Awards will provide grants of up to £20,000 to support an intensive period of open-ended learning and research around significant artistic propositions in Wales. The Awards are available to individual arts practitioners for creative development projects, including taking time away from usual commitments to concentrate on a specific project.


Image courtesy of Good Vibrations