Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Fine Cell Work - UK Prison Needlework Program for Inmates

As I mentioned in my earlier post, former inmate and legendary embroiderer, Ray Materson told me about the UK's Fine Cell Work charity program for inmates. They are employed as needleworkers, often outsourcing their skills to high-end designers and interior decorators. Some inmates spend as much as 40 hours a week stitching. Gone are the days when I used to stitch up to five hours a day...It reminds me of the solitude and freedom from distractions that this kind of work requires.

From their website:

Fine Cell Work is a social enterprise that teaches needlework to prison inmates and sells their products. The prisoners do the work when they are locked in their cells, and the earnings give them hope, skills and independence.

Our mission is to rehabilitate prisoners by giving them the opportunity to earn and save money and the chance to reflect on and rebuild their lives through craft and achievement. Prisoners do Fine Cell Work for an average of 3 years: the benefits can therefore be profound.