Category: Press coverage

The Secretary of State visited HMP Coldingley to meet some Unlocked Graduates along with the BBC.

BBC News: Scheme puts graduates on prison front-line

The number of front-line prison officers in England and Wales is up from 18,090 in 2016 to 18,755 this year, Ministry of Justice figures show. In future, trainees from a new scheme will help boost the numbers of graduates in the profession.

On E Wing at Coldingley prison, in Surrey, a group is being shown how to carry out one of the most basic tasks for a prison officer – though it is also one of the most important.

Read more BBC News: Scheme puts graduates on prison front-line

Two Unlocked Graduates joined a discussion on BBC 5 Live and made a strong case for why anyone should consider becoming a prison officer.

Radio 5 Live: Interview

Two Unlocked Graduates joined a discussion on BBC 5 Live and made a strong case for why anyone should consider becoming a prison officer. They argued it is critical for people with optimism and a real belief in rehabilitation think about working in prisons and Unlocked CEO Natasha Porter explained what the programme is hoping to achieve.

Two Unlocked Graduates explained to BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat why they decided to become prison officers and why it is an important job.

BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat: Interview

The first in an ongoing series, two Unlocked Graduates explained to Rick Kelsey of BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat why they decided to become prison officers and why it is an important job.

Five future Unlocked Graduates discussed why they signed up to become prison officers.

BBC Newsbeat: Five reasons why I became a prison officer

Physical violence, bad views and uncomfortable uniforms – why be a prison officer?

A £27,000 a year starting salary, in some parts of the country, might help.
The scheme, run by charity Unlocked and paid for by the government, has recruited the best 50 graduates from more than 2000 people who registered, and they plan to expand next year.

Read more BBC Newsbeat: Five reasons why I became a prison officer

The Economist lists Unlocked as a 'bright spot of innovation' in the prison system.

The Economist: When TED talks came to prison

Small prison reforms are encouraging but also highlight the lack of big change in the sector.

SOARING performances of songs from “Cats” and “Les Misérables” are unusual fare for a prison. But on May 3rd an inmate at Leicester prison brought an audience to their feet with his renditions. The recital was part of a TEDx conference, a popular lecture series that had never before been held in a British jail. In the midst of a prisons crisis, with violence against inmates and officers at record levels and crippling staff shortages, the event is an encouraging example of smaller efforts to improve conditions.

Read more The Economist: When TED talks came to prison

Rachel Sylvester uses her Times column to promote the new Unlocked Graduates scheme.

The Times: High-flyers can give new purpose to prisons

Recruiting top graduates to work in jails will improve a maligned service and lift inmates’ chances of rehabilitation.

In the 1970s BBC sitcom Porridge, Fletch, the prisoner played by Ronnie Barker, describes a friend who got into debt and had too many fights. “His brain went soft, his reflexes went. [He] just became like a vegetable — an incoherent non-thinking zombie.” The punchline is perhaps predictable. “He joined the prison service as a warder. Doing very well.”

Read more The Times: High-flyers can give new purpose to prisons

Buzzfeed profiles some of the participants who have signed up to become Unlocked Graduates.

BuzzFeed: The Graduates Who Want To Solve The Prison Crisis

If you could pick a first job for someone leaving university this summer, “prison officer” would probably rank as one of the most challenging.

Inspectors’ reports have repeatedly said that officers in some prisons had all but lost control and that in some it’s easier for prisoners to get drugs than clean clothes. Officers have described the lawlessness and violence of prison life, caused in no small part by overcrowding and a surge in the use of synthetic drugs.

Read more BuzzFeed: The Graduates Who Want To Solve The Prison Crisis

Unlocked Graduates CEO Natasha Porter writes for the Times about the benefits of increasing employment chances for former prisoners.

The Times: It makes sense to reduce the reoffending rate

The cost of reoffending has been laid bare today. New analysis by the charity Unlocked Graduates has revealed that each former prisoner who reoffends costs a staggering £600,000 a year to the economy. It is ordinary taxpayers who foot most of this bill, so it is in everybody’s interest to address the damage done by reoffending.

Read more The Times: It makes sense to reduce the reoffending rate

The Sun covers the Unlocked Graduates campaign to encourage firms to hire former prisoners.

The Sun: Britain’s biggest firms should hire an ex-prisoner

Of 56,000 prisoners released each year, only four in ten end up in jobs or training – which substantially reduces risk of committing another crime.

ALL of Britain’s biggest firms should hire an ex-offender to save at least £1billion a year, campaigners say.

Out of 56,000 prisoners released from jail every year – only four in ten – or 24,000 – end up in jobs or training.

Read more The Sun: Britain’s biggest firms should hire an ex-prisoner

The BBC covers the launch of the Unlocked Graduates programme.

BBC News: Graduates fast-tracked into prison service

The government is backing a new scheme to get graduates working in the prison service, only days after disturbances at HMP Birmingham.

Graduates will work alongside frontline staff after an intensive training course in the summer and complete a master’s degree at the same time.

Trainees will earn £20,545 – a prison officer’s starting salary – during the two-year scheme in England and Wales.

Read more BBC News: Graduates fast-tracked into prison service

David Laws, Chair of Unlocked Graduates, writes for the Guardian on the benefits of the new programme for the prison system.

The Guardian: Unlocked could bring change to our prisons

Our jails are at capacity and reoffending rates sky high. But a new graduate recruitment scheme that puts rehabilitation at its core offers real hope.

As the disturbances in Birmingham showed, our prison system is in urgent need of improvement. The justice secretary is surely right to emphasise the need both to restore stability and deliver reform. The recruitment of 2,500 extra prison officers will help make prisons the secure places expected by the public – and deliver the stability we need if reform is to become a reality.

Read more The Guardian: Unlocked could bring change to our prisons