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.

Further information on prisoner education and associated news and events is available from Prison Education News, a website run by the City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee's (CDVEC) Educational Service to Prisons.

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

Image taken from a gallery of art work by prisoners. See:

OUT: National Prison Art Exhibition 2009 10th November 2009

"Out" is the National Prison Art Exhibition 2009, running at Kilmainham Gaol from runs from Friday 13th of November to Sunday, 31st of January. Read more

'Clean Break' Theatre Co: working women whose lives have been affected by the Criminal Justice System. 29th October 2009

‘Clean Break’ is a theatre, education and writing company set up to provide for and work with women whose lives have been affected by the British criminal justice system. The theatre is used as a platform to educate, inform and change lives. Read more

'Breaking Rocks': a film about Jail Guitar Doors project with Billy Bragg 2nd October 2009 YouTube

'Breaking Rocks' is an inspiring documentary which tells the story of Billy Bragg's independent initiative, Jail Guitar Doors, which provides instruments to those who are using music as a means of achieving the rehabilitation of prison inmates. Read more

Football Behind Bars 9th September 2009

Rehabilitation and social integration are the goals behind a football academy with former Arsenal player Ian Wright at a Young Offenders Institution in Dorset. Read more

"Songs from the Inside" 15th August 2009

This documentary focuses on Noel Shine and his music students who are prisoners at Cork Prison. Read more

“Inmates discover artistic freedom” 12th August 2009

David Batty from the Guardian reports on the Freedom of Art exhibition at St. Pancras Hospital, London, displaying art by prisoners from Pentonville Prison. Read more

Maghaberry Prison - Writing Workshops for prisoners 6th August 2009

Sean Rocks from RTE Radio 1’s The Arts Show talks to prisoners and staff at Maghaberry Prison near Lisburn in Co Antrim about creative writing workshops for prisoners. Read more

“Inside story: Why does prison provide such inspiration for poetry?” 31st July 2009

When the magazine for prisoners asked for inmates’ poetry, the response was overwhelming. Peter Stanford for the Independent asks why inspiration comes as the cell door slams. Read more

“Comings and Goings” 29th July 2009

A photography exhibition by Casey Orr on the outer walls of Armley Prison, Leeds, from 3 July – 31 August 2009 portraying prisoners and their families. Read more

“The Power of Guitars behind Bars” 5th January 2009

Erwin James in the Irish Times reports that musicians who play to prisoners for the right reasons can touch damaged and broken lives. Read more

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