Second chances for ex-offenders through education

Longford Prize

Longford Prize Winners : Unlock and the Shakespeare Trilogy

17th November 2016

The joint winners of the 2016 Longford Prize, awarded in association with the Prison Reform Trust and the McGrath Charitable Trust, were the charity Unlock and the Shakespeare Trilogy project. 

In their citation for Unlock,the first of the two joint prize winners, the Longford Prize judges said: “This charity, founded in 1999, is run by people with convictions for the estimated 10.5 million people living with convictions in the UK. It has the invaluable aim of countering the sometimes life-long disadvantage that can result from having a criminal record. From persuading employers to adopt fairer recruitment practices to challenging the insurance industry to reduce inflated premiums for those with convictions, Unlock’s sustained, practical and highly effective work means that those it supports can successfully navigate the many obstacles on the path to rehabilitation and positive re-engagement with society.”

Julie Harmsworth and Christopher Stacey, joint chief executives of Unlock, were awarded their prize on stage at the annual Longford Lecture at Church House, Westminster, on November 16, 2016, by Kevin McGrath of the McGrath Charitable Trust. The citation was read out by Lady Rachel Billington, Lord Longford's daughter.

Jennifer Joseph receiving the 2016 Longford Prize. Photography by Russell Bruns In their citation for the Shakespeare Trilogy, the second joint winner, the Longford Prize judges said: “This inspiring outreach scheme by Clean Break Theatre Company, York Saint John University’s Prison Partnership Project and the Donmar Warehouse, developed over four years of workshops in women’s jails, has resulted in highly-acclaimed West End productions of three of Shakespeare’s plays. Each stars ex-prisoners and is set behind bars. The whole project is a lightning conductor for the place and value of the arts in prisons. In the insight it allows audiences into the lives of those in the otherwise closed world of a jail, the Trilogy powerfully and memorably highlights our shared humanity and potential.”

The prize was accepted on stage by actress Jennifer Joseph, a member of the cast in all three plays.

Juliet Lyon CBEThe judges also made a Lifetime Achievement Award to Juliet Lyon.  In their citation, they said:“In a lifetime of commitment to those on the margins of society – in mental health, managing the Richmond Fellowship therapeutic communities; in education as head of a psychiatric unit school; and from 2000 until 2016 as director of the Prison Reform Trust - Juliet Lyon has always combined passion with powerful advocacy, rooted in a peerless command of her subject and hands-on experience.  A natural leader, and an innovative, irresistible campaigner, she has played a crucial role in improving the lives of many, most notably female and young offenders. She is, in the world of prison reform, a national treasure.”


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