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Prison rehabilitation documentary film wins Award

The title Served in military font is overlaid on an background of a prison fence topped with barbed wire on which two birds sit, and the logo of the Ministry of Justice in the bottom right hand corner.

Served, a documentary film about prisoners learning catering skills,featuring Professor of History Rosalind Crone, has won a Public Relations and Communications Association’s Public Affairs Award for “Best Use of Social Media and/or Influencers in a Campaign”.

Following prisoners at HMP Lincoln through their training as they learn catering skills in an on-site purpose-built restaurant ‘Berties’, the 40 minute film, commissioned by the Ministry of Justice, is available on YouTube and linked social media channels, and gained over 108,000 views in the first five months since its release.

The project is supported by adult skills training provider Peopleplus and charity The Right Course, co-founded by Fred Siriex, which transforms staff restaurants in prisons into high street-like operations, run by prisoners who gain industry-recognised qualifications and experience. Upon the graduates’ release, they’re secured jobs in the hospitality sector, helping to plug the current 129,000 vacancy gap.

Rosalind is an expert on the history of prisons, and a member of The Open University’s Centre for the History of Crime, Policing and Justice. Her expertise is drawn upon throughout the film, where she outlines the context and value of education and the role of rehabilitation in prisons.

“For more than 200 years, rehabilitation has been one of the key aims of the modern prison, alongside punishment and deterrence, and I was very pleased to be able to share some of that history in this film.

“I am delighted it has won an award, and I hope its success signals the beginning of a sea change in public perceptions of prisons and prisoners. Our prisons are currently in crisis, but meaningful reform is dependent on public engagement and an awareness of the humanity of prisoners. Successful rehabilitation benefits everyone, prisoners and public.”

Participation in education improves behaviour in prison, reduces reoffending, and transforms lives. The Open University is the primary provider of Higher Education in prisons and secure units in the UK, operating in over 150 prisons, delivering teaching and learning to approximately 1,800 students in secure environments each year

Rosalind has created a free course - Exploring the history of prisoner education - on the history of prisons, rehabilitation and the role of education, with a short accompanying video series. The course is recommended for the professional development of anyone working in prisons or criminal justice, as well as for prisoners who want to try higher-level learning and to reflect on their educational experiences, and is available on the OU’s OpenLearn platform.

Image credit: Served titlecard (c) Ministry of Justice 

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