robin corbett award for prisoner rehabilitation

Following Lord Corbett's death in February 2012, the Prison Reform Trust (PRT) agreed with his family to establish a lasting and fitting memorial to his exceptional work in penal reform.

Robin Corbett was the respected chair of the Home Affairs Committee. For ten years he chaired the All Party Parliamentary Penal Affairs Group to which PRT, supported by the Barrow Cadbury Trust, provides the secretariat. We are pleased that Robin's family approached PRT to develop and administer the Robin Corbett Award for Prisoner Rehabilitation.

The award, kindly supported by the Worshipful Company of Weavers, is for outstanding rehabilitative work with prisoners done by a small charity or community group. It champions work that fosters personal responsibility.

Click this link to find out more

2016 writing competition winners

We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 Prison Reform Trust writing competition.

There are winners across three categories with separate themes:

Comment/Article - 'How Do You Reform Prisons?'


1st  Scott
2nd Stephen
3rd Denise

Highly Commended


Lyric/Rap - 'Change'


1st Jennifer
2nd Lee
3rd Anon

Highly Commended


Short Story - 'Out For Good'


1st David
2nd Nigel
3rd Daniel

Highly Commended


There are prizes for all winners across all three categories and a special prize of £100 for an outstanding entry from somebody aged 21 or under

The judges have compiled a list five top tips for all entrants:

  1. Be clear before you start what it is you are trying to say.
  2. Any piece should have a strong introduction, an interesting middle, and a punchy ending.
  3. Be sure the writing contains enough practical elements to keep the reader hooked, i.e. the right amounts of narrative, dialogue, and description. Nobody likes to read overlong pieces of text.
  4. Don’t worry if writing seems like hard work. It is quite common for a serious writer to ‘sweat blood’ in order to get a good result.
  5. Always keep your readers or listeners in mind and never forget that you are writing for them - not for you. If you do have trouble writing things down it’s fine to ask for help from the Education Department or the Librarian. Good luck!

The Judges are:

Rachel Billington, OBE, has published 21 novels for adults, as well as children’s books, and non-fiction titles. She is Honorary Vice-President of English PEN, and an associate editor of and contributor to Inside Time.

Kingslee ‘Akala’ Daley is a BAFTA/MOBO award winning hip hop artist, writer and TV presenter. He is also founder of the Hip-Hop Shakespeare Company, a music theatre production company specialising in the delivery of education programmes, live events and music productions aimed at engaging young people to help them achieve artistic excellence.

Erwin James is an author, Guardian columnist and editor of Inside Time, the national newspaper for people in prison. His autobiography, Redeemable: A Memoir of Darkness and Hope, is published in April 2016. He is a trustee of the Prison Reform Trust.

Minette Walters is a psychological thriller writer. She achieved a unique triple when her first three novels won the highest awards for crime and thriller fiction in the UK and USA. She is published in 36 countries and five of her stories have been adapted for television. Her major interest is working with offenders, both inside prison and on release.

Chris Mullin is an author, journalist and former MP, Minister and chairman of the Home Affairs select committee. His books include three volumes of diaries, and the novel A Very British Coup, which was made into an award-winning TV series. He was a judge of The Man Booker Prize, 2011.

Femi Oyeniran is an award-winning London-based actor/filmmaker who has starred in hit films Kidulthood and Anuvahood. His first feature film, It’s a Lot, was released theatrically in 2013 and is available on Netflix. In 2015 his production company Purple Geko produced a 10-part series for Sky Living called Venus vs Mars. His second film, The Intent, will be released in summer 2016.

For more information on how to enter, competition rules and prizes you can click this link to download a leaflet or email

2015 writing competition winners

The Prison Reform Trust is pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 writing competition.

The judges were Minette Walters, Rachel Billington, Chris Mullin, Erwin James, Kingslee ‘Akala’ Daley and Femi Oyeniran.

The winners are:

Comment/Article - 'Can Prison Work'
  1. Christopher: the judges said this piece was '‘Bleak, cynical, articulate and honest with a wicked last line in paragraph four.’
  2. RW: Chris Mullin said this entry was ‘Realistic, but at the same time balanced and constructive.'
=3. Neil: Chris Mullin said this article was ‘Thoughtful, rational, readable with nice opening and closing lines.’
=3. Ben: Erwin James said, ‘It is beautifully narrated and well deserving of a place in the top three.’

Shaun: Erwin James said Shaun's piece was 'poignantly perceptive, succinct, poetic and honest.'
Stephen: Chris Mullin said Stephen's entry was, 'Concise, to the point and constructive.'


Short Story - 'The Challenge'
1. Michael: the judges said this was , 'a witty, well-crafted, excellently written story with a genuine surprise at the end.'
2. James: the judges thought this was 'a powerful piece of writing using a deadpan style which leads cleverly to a surprise ending'
3. John: the judges said John's entry was, 'a dark tale, well written, with fine use of descriptive prose.'

Paul's entry was 'a thought-provoking story which builds tension throughout.’
Jamie's entry was, 'an unusual and well-crafted story with a strong emotional beat.'
Patrick's story was, 'well thought out and with plenty of witty references to contemporary politics.'
Eddie's entry was ‘well-written with a nice twist .'

Lyric/Rap - 'Working it Out'
  1. Terrianne: the judges were really impressed with her ‘great use of language, metaphors and imagery’
  2. Christopher: the judges said Christopher's entry was ‘funny, concise and to the heart. Using the language of bureaucracy to convey the image’
=3. Anonymous: the judges thought this was ‘a great paced, lyrical satire. Excellent stuff!’
=3. Laurence: the judges said this piece was ‘incisive, and used acerbic humour to make a point.

Andrew: the judges said this piece was, 'insightful, making great use of political comment and imagery.'
Damian:  the judges thought this piece showed ‘good, conversational narrative style’
Jay and Nicholas: ‘great insight into living on benefits showing it’s not luxurious.’

The best entry by someone aged 21 years or under was won by Conan. The judges said, ‘Great! We really liked the simplicity of the extended metaphor. Good work!’