2018 COMPETITION winners



The Prison Reform Trust is pleased to announce the winners of the 2018 writing competition.

The three categories were:

What is prison for?’ - a comment piece or article of no more than 500 words (click on the winner's initials to read their article)
  1. JH, the judges said the winner conveyed "a positive message that despite personal debilitation issues and the limits of prison life, motivated individuals can make prison work for them. Really impressive and a worthy winner"
  2. AB, the judges said this article was a "really creative, satirical piece without being too cynical. Clever and pointed with an underlying poignancy. A powerful thought provoker. Well done."
  3. RL, the judges said this piece was a "personal account of a family affected by how prison can be used positively – but ultimately has the sad, dangerous conclusion that prison can become “part of everyday life”. A portrait of prison as a double-edged sword."
    ME, the judges said this piece "was written by someone with a realistic and pro-active attitude to serving a prison sentence. The Personal Rules were a brilliant antidote to what prison can mean to so many who can’t see past the negative"

'Inside out' - a short story of no more than 1,000 words (click on the winner's initials to read their article)
  1. CA, the judges said the writer "tackles this story about an old man with a well-balanced mixture of compassion and humour … he keeps his characters believable throughout and has a good line in dialogue. Congratulations!"
  2. SDB, the judges said the story "is an evocative, moving piece, which uses the voice of “ghosts” to describe the world of prisoners. The ghosts of old prisoners and all the prisoners past make this a moving story and one that stays in the memory, something very special."
  3. MH, the judges said the piece "brings in humour and surprise to make the story more entertaining. Top marks too for the punchline …. It’s an effective use of the prescribed title."

'Speak out' - a rap/lyric of no more than 400 words (click on the winner's initials to read their article)
  1. DR, the judges said the winning poem "was punchily written, proud, positive and lyrical"
  2. WM, the judges said this poem "conveyed great imagery through clever use of words"
  3. TW, the judges said this piece "brilliantly evokes the shock of a first night in prison"
    KB, the judges said that this entry, "cleverly describes the internal torment of someone unable to speak out."

Special prize from an outstanding entry from somebody 21 years or under

JL, the judges said, "This succinct piece speaks volumes about the potentially corrosive impact of prison. The imagery is all so clear, the often overwhelmingly destructive transformative power of the prison journey is all too apparent. To have created such a realistically dystopian vision of prison in so few words is quite an achievement. Huge well done!’.

2017 competition winners



The Prison Reform Trust is pleased to announce the winners of the 2017 writing competition.

The three categories were:

‘All in it Together: Fixing the Prison Community’ - a comment piece or article of no more than 500 words (click on the winner's name to read their article)

SC, the judges said the winning piece was "insightful and accurate"
FL, the judges said this article was "thought provoking"
MH, the judges said this piece was "touching and emotional"


'Life starts now' - a short story of no more than 1,000 words (click on the winner's name to read their article)

AS, the judges said he was "an excellent piece of storytelling"
TH, the judges said the story "full of intrigue"
EJ, the judges said the piece "gripping and different"


'Stand up and be counted' - a rap/lyric of no more than 400 words (click on the winner's name to read their article)

EG, the judges said the winning poem  "hinted at darkness but had a great twist"
CA, the judges "enjoyed the poem's fun and sense of mischief"
JT, the judges said this piecewas  "stirring and inspiring"

And the prize for an outstanding entry from an under 21-year-old went to:

MW, the judges said this was 'a well-argued, sensible piece from a young writer.'