HMP Winchester learner transforms prison environment with art murals

Charlie, a learner at HMP Winchester who has successfully completed and excelled in all the art courses offered, has changed the face of the prison with his mural paintings.

Mon 13 Aug 2018 - posted by administrator

Charlie, a learner at HMP Winchester who has successfully completed and excelled in all the art courses offered, has changed the face of the prison with his mural paintings.

The mural painting project expects the learners to negotiate with the heads of department on murals they require, that will enhance and promote the environment in which they work. In addition, develop the learners’ own employability, maths and English skills by negotiating materials, costings and logistics of such a contract.

 Charlie’s first commission was from the healthcare team who wanted murals that would give a sense of additional space and calm, which would be conducive to the work they do. Charlie overhauled the drab and grey hospital prison environment, opening it into panoramic vistas of Impressionist paintings.

Charlie wrote of his educational experience at HMP Winchester thanking the art teacher for all the time he had invested in him. He wrote: “Please do not underestimate the value of the kind support and guidance you have shown me. Wisdom is the greatest gift we can give to anyone.”

Upon being discharged from HMP Winchester, Charlie wrote to the governor on his release requesting that he be allowed to return to complete more murals. In turn, he was offered work in an ancillary part of the prison department to continue the project if he wished.

Art tutor, John, cited that Charlie’s concentration and perseverance were such, that when he left although we only offer qualifications of a low GCSE, Charlie had acquired skills more typical of a midterm A’ level student.

The mural project continues and expands as fast as the training of new team members, which are recruited from the art department. 

One learner, a patient in the mental health unit, who is under constant watch but also attends the art classes says of the mural project: “ I am finding the project therapeutic, and it keeps me distracted from my own dark issues while in prison.”

Since its instigation, the project has attracted enquiries from all over the prison from those who have a vision of murals which can both promote and enhance both the area in which they work and the learners participating, developing a wide range of skills to prepare them for life on release.

Categories: OLASS