Celebration of pioneer Graduates as Unlocked comes up to one year celebration
We were delighted to be hosted by Lord McNally for a reception at the House of Lords today, showcasing some early success stories from our first cohort of Unlocked Graduates.
There was a great turnout of both Lords and MPs from across the political spectrum, as well as supporters who have worked with Unlocked Graduates throughout our first year – from the Ministry of Justice and HMPPS to the wider criminal justice sector.
Attendees heard from Lord McNally, who provided us with an assessment of the overall challenges facing the prison service at the moment. Before Dame Sally Coates, one of our trustees, explained how her 2016 review into prison education led to the creation of the Unlocked Graduates programme.
Most importantly, our guests were there to hear about the experiences of our Graduates. Saida and Ella spoke inspiringly about their experiences – from helping prisoners write statements for court to their surprise at how well-developed a sense of community there was in prison, and how much they had learned from prisoners.
As Natasha Porter, Chief Executive and Founder of Unlocked said on the evening: “Our participants have a sense of mission combined with relentless optimism, and this means they know they can make a difference to our prison service, and they are already doing more than we ever could have hoped.”
She went on to express thanks for all the people who have made the creation and first year of Unlocked Graduates a success. From the staff team and our board to Catch 22 where Unlocked has been incubated throughout this period. Supporters at the Ministry of Justice and HMPPS, including Ministers, Michael Spurr, Martin Beecroft and Sarah Lock have been critical to our success as have the numerous supporters and advisers who have fed in to the creation of our programme.
Look out for more updates as our participants share their insights of their first 100 days on the landings.