Britain’s prisons are full to bursting and the prison population continues to grow. Recent research suggests that 59% of those released after completing their prison sentence will be reconvicted within two years. The link between low educational achievement while at school and subsequent criminal behaviour is well established. Our prison system does strive to address this issue with varying degrees of success and a number of offenders emerge from jail with the basis of a good education. Some then want to carry on into higher education on enabling them to rebuild their lives. But they all face one major obstacle - it is extremely hard for them to get funding. The Frank Longford Charitable Trust offers such individuals the chance to make the most of their abilities and lives by awarding Longford Scholarships. No other organisation runs such a grant programme directed at ex-prisoners. The Trust helps scholars undertaking a range of courses from behavioural psychology at Huddersfield University to Maths at Cambridge.
Some of the short-term benefits of the scholarships are:
a) Scholars helped away from immediate re-offending;
b) The creation of positive role models for other young offenders;
c) The generation of ambition and hope amongst young offenders; and
d) The encouragement of rapid rehabilitation and re-integration into society, including through the unique boost in self-esteem that education can provide.
Some of the long-term benefits of the scholarships are:
a) Broad reduction in re-offending;
b) Demonstration of the power of education as a means of tackling the current high levels of re-offending (latest figures show it to be 74% amongst offenders under the age of 21);
c) Stimulation of creative thinking and public policy as to means of reducing re-offending;
d) Through its emphasis on courses that will allow scholars to put something back, it will help to train a new generation of people to work with offenders and ex-offenders. It is our belief that this is a crucial element in reducing offending and re-offending rates in the United Kingdom. Further, the skills acquired will be applied to the prison field, further assisting in reform process; and
e) Improved education within prisons themselves.
The Bryan Adams Foundation awarded a grant in December to The Frank Longford Charitable Trust to go towards a Longford Scholarship for an ex-offender.
The donation will provide a three-year scholarship for Dan, a 25-year-old
ex-offender. He served three years in prison for theft, but through his
involvement with the prison education department gained the qualifications
to win a place to study communications at the University of Greenwich. Our
funding will contribute to his living expenses as he rebuilds his life
outside prison. The Longford trustees were particularly impressed by the
dedication Dan had shown in his education work while in prison. His role,
in the prison education department, as a volunteer tutor and mentor to
others less able was to his credit. "I feel," he wrote in his personal
statement, "that I can use my own life experiences to help others and
hopefully help those I am teaching by understanding their lives from my own
experience. I believe I have a great deal to offer and have the potential to
be a role model and teacher." He plans to making teaching his career. He
will be assigned a Longford Trust mentor to support him throughout his time
For further information about the trust, please visit www.longfordtrust.org