• Print
  • Email author
  • Bookmark and Share

Fine Cell Work: Rehabilitation through Craftwork

3rd December 2009

Fine Cell Work is a registered charity in the UK established in 1995. The charity teaches needlework to prisoners in UK prisons. The aim of the charity is to rehabilitate prisoners. Fine Cell Work supply materials and volunteer instructors to allow prisoners to carry out embroidery in their cells. The items crafted by prisoners include cushions, quilts and rugs. Prisoners are granted the opportunity to earn money from their craftwork which they can spend in prison or save for release. Prisoners on average spend three years carrying out Fine Cell Work. Fine Cell work is done in twenty-six prisons throughout the U.K with 80% of stitchers being male. All of the classes provided by Fine Cell Work have waiting lists. In 2004-2008, the company had 63 inquiries from prisons across the UK in which demands could not be met.

Lady Anne Tree established the beginnings of Fine Cell Work in the 1960s when she visited HMP Holloway prison. She assisted two lifers, along with the help of the Royal School of Needlework to make needlepoint carpets which were sold as collectors items in New York. During this period, prisoners were not paid for their efforts. However she was determined that this would change. In 2008 the profits made amongst 403 fine cell workers earned 61,890 sterling. While the charity’s work has the benefits of both allowing prisoner’s to acquire skills and to earn money from their efforts, one of the key fundamentals of the project is that it provides therapeutic effects for prisoners.  Prison authorities say that the concentration, hard work and the financial gains provide prisoners with a new found confidence. Wardens deem sewing reduces stress and requires no supervision. The cushion covers, rugs, quilts and tapestries produced by Fine Cell work are produced to the highest level of standards. Buyers are encouraged to send a thank you note to the prisoner for their work of precision.

For more information on Fine Cell Work visit http://www.finecellwork.co.uk  or follow the link below in which an article in The Times describes how the charity changed a hardened criminal’s life http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/specials/times_appeal/article6935276.ece
viewed here