"Angela brought to the Koestler Trust a great deal of commitment, energy, experiences, and ideas that she had gleaned from her years in the German prison service. Having worked with autonomous governors who fully supported the arts and ensured that arts participation was embedded in the prison regime, she is a first-hand witness to the improvement in offenders’ motivation and self-esteem that such a system can generate. She brings a valuable vision and degree of commitment to this sector. Her ground-breaking initiatives in the Learning to Learn scheme not only encouraged offenders to acquire education and key skills but thereby helped them to break the vicious circle of reoffending behaviour. I fully endorse Angela’ s skills and the value of her contribution in this field."
Ariane Bankes, Vice Chair of the Koestler Trust
The change of direction in the Government’s attitudes to prisons, from “Prison works!” to their “failure…is scandalous”, opened up doors for prison reform in very exciting ways. As Justice Secretary, Michael Gove took an unflinching look at the state of our prisons and with his passion for education and a genuine desire to “redeem and rehabilitate”, came up with ideas that were welcomed by the many charities and Trusts working tirelessly for a more effective Criminal Justice System. Since his loss of position post Brexit, the momentum for change slowed under his successors, Liz Truss and David Lidington and disappointingly, apart from documentaries and scandals highlighting the dire state of our prisons, the promised radical and imminent prison reforms largely disappeared from the headlines.
With the benefit of having worked with and being confided in by hundreds of prisoners over many years, I have had the advantage of hearing first hand their stories, fears, aspirations and needs. I have also had the benefit of working in a progressive prison in Cologne witnessing the positive impact of increased governor autonomy and a fully supported and integrated arts programme. The prison became a role model for what can be achieved.
My expertise is based on unique insights that have enabled me to:
- Build up a comprehensive profile of the underlying behavioural causes of criminal activity and re-offending
- Develop effective ways, through creative processes and the arts, to address them.
My presentations are for professionals working with or within the Criminal Justice System.
Through slides and case studies they demonstrate exactly how the arts can benefit prisoners.
- As a creative outlet
- As a means to:
- Confront prisoners with the full picture and human impact of what they have done
- Challenge their justifications for and attitudes to what they have done – raising victim awareness
- Change their behavioural responses to prevent re-offending and enable them to sustain more productive lives
- As a stepping stone into further education and/or employment
- As a humanising element or all who reside or work in the prison environment
Recent consultations and presentations
Dame Sally Coates, appointed by Michael Gove to lead the Review of Prison Education.
Pamela Dow, Head of Strategy in the Ministry of Justice.
Advise or consult
I am more than happy to advise or consult any organisation or individual wanting to learn more about how the arts can contribute to the rehabilitation process.