Education, Arts and Sports in Prison

Peggy - JB, Portlaoise PrisonFacilities for education and the arts in prison are provided by the Prison Education Service, which consists of a partnership between the Irish Prison Service and a range of educational agencies from the community.

A number of programmes are co-funded by the Arts Council of Ireland, including the Writers in Prison scheme and the Visual artists in prisons scheme. Some information about the Prison Education Service is available on the IPS website.

News and media items on arts (music, drama, visual art) and sports in prison are included below.

Image taken from a gallery of artwork by prisoners. 

Arts and Prisons: Transformed Through Dance 15th April 2011

Create, in partnership with Dance Ireland and Dublin Dance Festival, host 'Transformed Through Dance', an in conversation event with Nikki Crane, Advisor to Dance United, an organisation that pro-actively works with young people at risk of (re)offending. Read more

Exhibition in London Explores Female Offenders' Experiences of Justice 10th March 2011

Artwork displayed in the exhibition 'Girls Behind Bars: Female Experiences of Justice' captures the lives of female prisoners and their experiences with the criminal justice system. Read more

Scotland: 'Inspiring Change' through arts in prisons 2nd March 2011 YouTube

'Inspiring Change' is a co-ordinated programme of arts interventions that ran in five Scottish prisons throughout 2010. Read more

(UK) Big Garden Birdwatch: More than 60 prisoners to take part this year 23rd January 2011

(UK) More than 60 prisoners will take part in the world’s biggest national bird watch as part of a Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) scheme to get more inmates interested in nature. Read more

Shakespeare in HMP Maghaberry 14th September 2010 YouTube

The Educational Shakespeare Company, which worked with prisoners at Belfast's Maghaberry prison, has released the DVD 'Mickey B', a powerful adaptation of Shakespeare's play Macbeth which could prove an important resource for use with young people. Read more

Guardian: Life in America's toughest jail 1st September 2010

Shaun Attwood's blog about the appalling conditions that he experienced in an American prison has earned him a major book deal. Erwin James compares his experience of the British prison system. Read more

US: Reading courses as an alternative to prison 21st July 2010

In Texas, offenders are being sent on reading courses instead of going to prison. Read more

Guardian: Prison library helps to transport lives 7th July 2010

The recently refurbished library in Edinburgh was yesterday named winner of the 2010 UK Libraries Change Lives Award. The Governor of the prison, Nigel Ironside, believes prisoners engaging in literacy and basic learning will provide an incentive to reduce re-offending. Read more

Prison Photography: 'Still Life: Killing Time' 22nd June 2010

Edmund Clark’s 'Still Life: Killing Time' captures in photographs the "slowness, the fabric and the accoutrements of prison life for elderly inmates." Read more

50% increase in prisoners sitting Leaving Cert exams 9th June 2010

117 prisoners are sitting Leaving Cert exams, and 161 are taking Junior Certificate subjects in the exams which start today. Given the chronic conditions that many of our prisoners live in, this is truly an achievement... Read more

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