Unlocked Conference 2021: The Highlights

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Unlocked Conference 2021: The Highlights

Unlocked is passionate about shifting perceptions of the prison officer role and providing opportunities for innovation and rehabilitative best practice to be driven from the frontline.   As part of our commitment to this work, we recently hosted our annual conference.

Oh, this sounds interesting. Tell me more!

The second Unlocked Impact Conference 2021 took place on Wednesday, March 10, and focused on prison leadership and practice.

This year, the event was held entirely remotely online and brought together Unlocked participants and Ambassadors with prison officers and representatives from our partner prisons, as well as the wider criminal justice community.

So, who spoke at the conference? Anyone I know?

The newly appointed Solicitor General, Lucy Frazer, opened the event and both our CEO, Natasha Porter, and prison Governor, Ralph Lubkovski, spoke about the importance of the prison officer role.

We then heard from a panel of international speakers on the role of the prison officer, which was fascinating.  We had Are Hoidal, Governor of Norway’s Halden prison.  Joining from Nairobi was Jane Kirii, Assistant Commissioner General of Prisons, Kenya Prisons Service; and the recently retired commissioner of corrective services in Western Australia, Tony Hassall, also shared his views.

Curious fact: did you know that WA is the largest correctional jurisdiction in the world by geography at 2.5million sq. kilometres!

Nope, I didn’t…Got any other curious facts I can quote at a dinner party?


1. Having a suitable place to live is the most pressing matter for prisoners upon release (Helen Dyson, on the Rehabilitation People, Place and Purpose on the Landings panel);

2. It can be difficult for men to engage with education if they are not approached in the right way (from Stephen Akpabio-Klementowski on the Rehabilitation: Prison Education Panel),

3. Dame Sally Coates was driven to lead the first review of Education in Prison (published in 2016), because of a situation experienced by one of her students, who missed their chance to take GCSEs whilst in prison!

Definitely food for thought…

Speaking of food, during the lunch break, a buzzing marketplace was open for conference participants as an opportunity to network and engage with charity partners and allies.  Delegates had the chance to pop in to ‘rooms’ over Zoom for an informal chat, and to network with other guests at the conference. Charities who wanted to share their work with frontline prison officers included were: Alliance of Sport, Bounce Back, Khulisa, Novus, Prisoners’ Education Trust, Shakespeare UnBard, Shannon Trust, Spark Inside, StoryBook Dads, 3Pillars Project, and Tempus Novo.

Sounds action-packed!

It certainly was.

At the end of the day, delegates were treated to a fantastic musical performance from The Irene Taylor Trust, who showcased the rehabilitative impact music can have on prisoners.

“Music is a glimpse of hope!”

You can find even more highlights from the day here!