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G4S Care and Justice Services Launches Poetry Book

G4S Care and Justice Services is launching a groundbreaking poetry book written entirely by young people serving custodial sentences in Secure Training Centres (STCs), Secure Children’s Homes and Young Offenders Institutions (YOIs) across the UK.
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The book, Unlocked, includes 67 poems from young offenders  including contributions from HMP & YOI Parc, STC Rainsbrook, STC Oakhill and Medway STC which are all run by G4S Care & Justice Services either under their G4S or Rebound brands.

The project is the brainchild of Nathan Ward, Enrichment Manager at Medway Secure Training Centre. It reflects G4S’s innovative use of poetry and literature as a means to help educate and rehabilitate young people in custody, following a number of studies which have linked youth crime and social exclusion to poor education.

The poetry book is being launched at the YJB Annual Youth Justice Convention being held on 11 – 12 November, with free copies given away at the G4S Care & Justice Services stand.  Free copies will also be made available to secondary schools upon request.

Frances Done, Chair of the Youth Justice Board has written the foreword to the book and stated:

“Poetry is not a form of expression readily associated with young people in custody yet it can resonate strongly with them and is a valuable means for them to express their emotions and creativity and improve their literary skills. The work in the book is an extraordinary expression of the regrets, fears and dreams of a group of young people whose voices are rarely heard and many of the poems reflect on the circumstances that have led the writer to custody, and express feelings of pain or sorrow that may not have been articulated before.

“I think this is a tremendously valuable initiative and reflects the huge amount of work being done in Young Offender Institutions, Secure Training Centres and Secure Children’s Homes across the UK to help educate and rehabilitate young people in custody with the aim of preventing them from reoffending.”

G4S has developed a number of literacy initiatives within the prisons, Young Offenders Institutions and Secure Training Centres that it runs including the highly successful Hay in the Parc, an offshoot of the Hay Literary Festival.

Run in conjunction with the Hay Literary Festival, Hay in the Parc combines writing classes with visits and talks from authors, providing a focal point for education and literature within the prison.

Paul Cook Managing Director of Rebound Children’s Services stated: “There is a well documented link between crime and poor education and social exclusion. Our experiences running prisons, secure training centres and young offenders institutions have demonstrated that young people often respond very strongly to poetry and literature as a way of expressing themselves.

“By developing this book, we hope to showcase the work and achievements of the young people involved and to provide a platform for them to move on to a socially useful and law abiding existence once they are released from custody.”