A joint venture between Pentonville Prison, Kensington and Chelsea College and The Guardian Newspaper has led to a ground-breaking editorial opportunity for prisoners.
The Guardian newspaper has been working with inmates and college staff over the last year to help produce Pentonville Prison’s very own newspaper – ‘Voice of the Ville’.
Over the last year the newspaper has been transformed from a two-sided black & white A4 newsletter to a 16-page newspaper with full colour on the front and back pages.
Inmates write regular pieces for the publication, as well as help put it together under the guidance of prison tutors and The Guardian’s editorial team.
The project has also led to work experience opportunities within the Guardian Offices for prisoners upon release. Among those who have already benefitted from the work experience is Carl Oakley. Carl, who initially worked on ‘Voice of the Ville’ was given the chance to spend a day with Observer Magazine – who are part of Guardian News and Media.
In a blog written when Carl was in the Observer Magazine office, he wrote:
‘A short time ago I was dreaming about walking out of those big, foreboding metal gates that had denied me my freedom, I was enclosed by bricks and mortar.’
‘Now I am sitting in an open plan office, in a building full of natural light, surrounded by renowned journalists.’
‘I have encountered problems in my life, most of my own making. I suffered the consequences of the naivety of my youth. Fortunately I became a beneficiary of the partnership between HMP Pentonville and the Guardian and the Observer and this has aided me in my determination to achieve something of substance with my life.’
‘Upon my release, I was offered the opportunity to gain some work experience at the Guardian and the Observer. A week ago I was being released from custody. Today I am inhabiting a completely different world, but one in which I do not feel as if I could not exist and thrive. Any feelings of trepidation were allayed by the warm reception I received and I would like to thank those that have been giving with their time.’
Date published: 2 September 2010