The creative talents of prisoners in the Isle of Man have been praised by judges in a highly regarded nationwide competition.
Artwork, craftwork and literature submitted by inmates at Jurby gained recognition in the 2016 Koestler Trust Awards.
The competition – for offenders, secure patients and detainees throughout the British Isles – attracts more than 3,000 entries each year. This year’s submissions, including those from the Isle of Man, are currently on display at the Tate Modern in London.
A total of 31 pieces of work were entered by Island prisoners, including watercolours, drawings, needlecraft, short stories, essays and non-fiction writing.
Seven entries received Commended Awards from the judges and one item of needlecraft, entitled ‘Mother and Owls’, secured a Highly Commended Award.
Members of the judging panel praised the ‘remarkable work’ submitted by the Isle of Man Prison and provided individual feedback to all the participants.
Supporting prisoners to develop their creative work is part of the Prison and Probation Service’s education programme, which contributes to the overall rehabilitation of offenders.
Fiona Robinson, Prison Education Manager, said:
‘We encourage prisoners to take part in creative activities as it helps to build confidence, self-esteem and a sense of value that may sometimes be lacking. We have been enthusiastic supporters of the Koestler Awards for many years, so it was pleasing to see our 2016 entries receive such positive recognition from the judges.’
Michael Coleman MLC, Member of the Department of Home Affairs with responsibility for the Prison and Probation Service, added: ‘Working with prisoners to improve their educational, vocational and creative skills can inspire a change in behaviour. The Department supports a range of initiatives aimed at breaking the offending cycle, as a reduction in crime means fewer victims and safer communities.’