Go to jail … but leave when you like

Rideout - Go To Jail Project

Visitors to The Library of Birmingham are about to get a taste of prison life!

Developed by Rideout, Go To Jail (1-12 March 2016) is a replica cell built to government regulations, housing two prisoners.

Those visiting can either observe the prisoners through the window, or enter the cell to chat with them – asking questions about their lives, their sentences, and how prison affects them. Although the two ‘prisoners’ are performers, both are former inmates who have served in Her Majesty’s prisons.

Before leaving, visitors can additionally lodge their views on the prisoners’ sentences using a touch-screen console. They can also set what privileges they believe the prisoners should be entitled to in their cells; these could include such ‘comforts’ as a guitar, newspapers, or a television.

Home to two adults, the replica cell is 3.7m by 2.5m and contains a bunk bed, two chairs, a desk unit, sink, toilet and a mirror. In some the UK jails, prisoners can spend up to 23 hours a day confined in a similar space.

Rideout’s Saul Hewish, who co-developed the project said: “Unless you’ve actually ‘served time at Her Majesty’s pleasure’ it’s hard to imagine what life is really like for those incarcerated in our over-crowded prisons. Go To Jail allows people to see the reality, and hear real stories from those who’ve served sentences.”

Go To Jail is open from Tuesday 1 to Saturday 12 March 2016 (closed Mon and Sun) between 11am and 4pm at The Gallery (Floor 3), The Library of Birmingham, Centenary Square, Broad Street, Birmingham B1 2ND. Admission is free. No appointment necessary.

For more information go to: www.gotojail.info


(Suggested categories: Theatre, Exhibitions).

Tuesday 1 to Saturday 12 March 2016
Go To Jail
Find out about life in prison with Rideout’s replica jail cell, complete with two ex-prisoners.
The Gallery (Floor 3), The Library of Birmingham, Centenary Square, Broad Street, Birmingham B1 2ND
Admission free.
Open Tue-Sat, 11am-4pm


Tuesday 26 to Saturday 30 April 2016
Shop Front Theatre, 38 City Arcade, Coventry CV1 3HW
Admission free.
Open daily 11am-4pm

Presented with the financial support of Arts Council England.

Rideout - Go To Jail Project

Notes for Editors:

Rideout is a Stoke-on-Trent based arts organisation that specialises in projects within the criminal justice system. This includes arts programmes in prisons as well as projects that engage members of the public in debate about the form and function of imprisonment.

In the week ending 22 January 2016 there were a total of 85,260 people in prison. Of these over 12,000 are being held two to a cell designed for one (Source: Howard League for Penal Reform).

The average annual cost of holding someone in prison is calculated to be close to £36,000 (Source: Ministry of Justice Information 2014)

The most recently available re-offending rates for those coming out of prison show 45% of adults are reconvicted within one year of release. For those serving sentences of less than 12 months this increases to 58%. Over two-thirds (68%) of under 18 year olds are reconvicted within a year of release. (Source: Ministry of Justice (2015) Proven reoffending statistics: July 2012 to June 2013)

Purposeful activity is currently at the lowest level inspectors have ever recorded – they were only good or reasonably good in around a quarter of prisons. (Source: HM Chief Inspector of Prisons Annual Report 2014-15).

Go To Jail trailer:

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