In Gloucester, an ex-convict has taken it upon himself to spearhead an initiative to sell artwork produced in prisons around the UK. Originally from Birmingham, Jonny Singh served time for his gang-related crimes and is now helping other inmates by raising public awareness of art as an alternative form of rehabilitation.
Beyond raising public awareness, 60 percent of the proceeds goes towards prisoner rehabilitation, and the other 40 percent goes to Victim Support via the charitable organisation Break the Chain. This charity was founded by construction firm owner Alistair Chambers, who hires ex-offenders out of Ley Hill to assist with their social reintegration. Singh was one of the first prisoners whom Chambers hired, and together they formed the idea to open a gallery.
The gallery, called Art Behind Bars, was opened Aug. 16, 2013 in the Kings Walk Shopping Centre. This initiative promises to offer offenders the chance to make recompense for crimes by contributing to Victim Support. Additionally, part of rehabilitation is learning the pride found in self-expression and in earning an honest income. Artists who sell their work through the new gallery receive a portion of the proceeds designated for prisoner rehabilitation, so with enough sales, resettlement can be more feasible financially, and with greater success at resettlement, there is a decreased chance of recidivism.