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The Prison Reform Trust receives National Lottery boost to improve approaches to prisoner rehabilitation

National penal reform charity, the Prison Reform Trust, has been awarded £2.6 million in National Lottery funding to develop new approaches to long-term imprisonment.

The new grant from The National Lottery Community Fund - the largest funder of community activity in the UK - will support the Building Futures Programme, which will be delivered by the Prison Reform Trust over five years.

The Building Futures Programme aims to create solutions and shape a prison environment that is safe, humane and encourages accountability and responsibility, ultimately creating the conditions for rehabilitation and reintegration into communities. The project will inform both policy and practice across the UK, particularly around reducing re-offending and promoting community cohesion.

The group, based in London, will model the programme on its existing prisoner engagement work. In particular, it will draw on the knowledge and insight of its Prisoner Policy Network - a group of prisoners, former prisoners, their families and supporting organisations set up to give agency and voice to people with lived experience of the justice system to shape policies and practices.

Peter Dawson, Director of the Prison Reform Trust, said: “The number of people in prison serving very long sentences has risen very dramatically over the last two decades. We're delighted that this grant from The National Lottery Community Fund will allow us to respond to this fundamental change. By giving agency and voice to long-term prisoners to shape policy and practice in prisons, the project will help to create a safer, more humane and effective prison system.”

The Prison Reform Trust has appointed Dr David Maguire, currently at the Institute of Education at the University College London, to lead the programme. David has a career spanning two decades working with, researching and managing projects for excluded and marginalised groups across sectors that include housing, education, prison and the wider criminal justice system. David’s research and practice-based work are driven and informed by lived experience of some of these and other related sectors.

Dr David Maguire, Building Futures Programme Lead, said: “It’s an honour to have been appointed by the Prison Reform Trust to lead this innovative programme of work. Long-term imprisonment, however justified by the crimes committed, has profoundly harmful impacts on prisoners and their families. It is only by listening to the people most affected that we will find ways to build a better future for them and the communities in which they live.”

John Knights, Senior Head of UK Portfolio at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “We are delighted that National Lottery funding is supporting the Prison Reform Trust’s Building Futures programme, which aims to harness the lived experience of long-term prisoners to improve approaches to rehabilitation. Thanks to National Lottery players, not only long-term prisoners, but their families, prison staff and the wider community, will have better opportunities to thrive.”

The Prison Reform Trust, founded in 1980, is an independent UK charity working to create a just, humane and effective penal system. It does this by inquiring into the workings of the system; informing prisoners, staff, the wider public and policy makers.

Currently, over 18,000 men and over 500 women – 27% of the adult prison population – are either serving over 10 years or a form of indeterminate imprisonment. The UK has more life-sentenced prisoners per 100,000 of population than any other country in Europe. Life-sentenced prisoners make up more than the 10% of the total sentenced population.

Notes to Editors

About Prison Reform Trust

The Prison Reform Trust (PRT) is an independent UK charity working to create a just, humane and effective penal system. We do this by inquiring into the workings of the system; informing prisoners, staff and the wider public; and by influencing Parliament, government and officials towards reform. The Prison Reform Trust provides the secretariat to the All Party Parliamentary Penal Affairs Group and has an advice and information service for people in prison.

The Prison Reform Trust's main objectives are:

  • reducing unnecessary imprisonment and promoting community solutions to crime
  • improving treatment and conditions for prisoners and their families
  • promoting equality and human rights in the criminal justice system.

About The National Lottery Community Fund

We are the largest funder of community activity in the UK – we’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Since June 2004, we have made over 200,000 grants and awarded over £9 billion to projects that have benefited millions of people.

We are passionate about funding great ideas that matter to communities and make a difference to people’s lives. At the heart of everything we do is the belief that when people are in the lead, communities thrive. Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, our funding is open to everyone. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.

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