What is Building Futures?

Building Futures focuses on how long sentences impact prisoners, their families and wider communities.The programme was launched by the Prison Reform Trust in 2020, and will run for five years.

The programme draws on the expertise of prisoners, prison staff and other key stakeholders to uncover the impact of the recent surge in prisoners spending ten or more years in custody, and what implications it has for the systems responsible for their care.


Why do we need it?

The prison population is changing dramatically. Currently 26% of the adult sentenced prison population are either serving sentences of over 10 years or a form of indeterminate imprisonment. Much longer sentences mean that far more people will spend decades in prison. This has profound implications for the wellbeing of all the people who live and work in prison.

Working collaboratively with prisoners, prison staff and others, the programme aims to provide solutions and shape a prison environment that is safe, humane, encourages accountability and fosters hope. It will also place a strong emphasis on promoting prisoner leadership and self-advocacy and the creation of inter-prisoner support networks.


How will the programme be delivered?

We will:

  • Engage with families and communities of long-term prisoners to understand the impact of the current prison system on their lives and their communities, to work towards improvements.
  • Identify and promote best practice for meaningful community engagement with long term prisoners.
  • Raise public awareness of the human and material cost of long-term imprisonment and as well as celebrating the success stories of rehabilitation and community reintegration.
  • Identify the significant differences in race, gender, age and disability, amongst the long-term prison population.
  • Compile the evidence and produce practical guidance for prisons to better care for the specific needs of this population.
  • Take a thematic approach, focusing on specific groups within the long-term prison population, including women, young adults, older prisoners and people convicted of sexual offenders.
  • Facilitate events to bring prisoners and expert participants, including the judiciary, academics and policymakers, together.

How do I get involved?

  • As an individual prisoner; by writing, phoning (or sending an email if you can).
  • If we can and there is an existing group or prison council who want us to, we will come to support a workshop at your prison.
  • Any published contributions will be anonymised.
  • Look out for the details of the Building Futures programme in Inside Time, and on National Prison Radio.

How do I get in touch?


Building Futures c/o
Prison Reform Trust FREEPOST ND 6125
London EC1B 1PN


Call our main switchboard on 020 7251 5070 and ask to speak to the Building Futures team.

This line will be answered between 9.30am and 5.00pm, Monday to Friday except bank holidays and is globally cleared for all prisoners