Who knew that optics would go hand in hand so readily with philanthropy? Well, looking at the fantastic work that the Prison Opticians Trust does, we can see that it certainly does. JustSpecs isn’t just a hub of accessory-oriented wisdom and style, we’re also keenly involved in the world of activism - specifically in reducing recidivism and the personal development of incarcerated people. This week’s blog post highlights a little prison art competition or two we have launched to encourage the creativity of inmates. These creative projects in turn encourage their fellow inmates to seek new pathways in optics training. It’s a win-win!
Before we launch into this week’s post, if you would like to hear more about the fashion side of things, then please check out last week’s blog, The History of Persol Glasses. Persol glasses hold an interesting story that is one of the coolest in the world of fashion, it’s definitely worth a read
1. Start your engines!
While these competitions do not quite require the wig tossing and into-the-splits jumping of RuPaul’s drag race, the dedication and creative energy, we hope, is much the same. Taking place within HM Prison Standford Hill, the first prison art competition is a fantastic chance for inmates to showcase their talent. This prison has its own art department, which is a place for positivity and creativity in an environment that is often not conducive to personal growth. A brief was given to the department to create a picture that can be used on the recruitment posters in prisons around the country. The image needs to be enticing and engaging, and who better than fellow inmates to know what will tickle each other’s fancies in that respect.
With a grand prize of £100, our prison art competition has a sweet incentive. This same incentive has been applied to the second of our two competitions. This one is also an art-oriented competition, but this time for an image to promote the JustSpecs website. Our site is the place where the Prison Glasses can be found, which is our most affordable range of stylish specs.
2. Creativity and reducing recidivism
There are some programmes that run in prisons to encourage creativity and optimism, but not nearly enough. The operation of the Prison Opticians Trust aims to give inmates vocational skills but the prison art competition encourages creative spirit. There should be more prison arts programming implemented across the UK - it can be easy to forget that offenders are still human beings that require stimulation. Prison arts programming could include creative writing, poetry, visual art, dance, drama and music. Not to mention yoga, meditation and horticulture may also be considered. It’s up to trusts such as Prison Opticians, as well as the generosity of individuals, including: volunteers, professional artists, teaching artists, students and professors to be proactive. Donating the luxury of time to offenders looking to better themselves is such a worthwhile act.
We can all help to transform the criminal justice system if we work together. The first steps are to donate your time. We at JustSpecs wanted to make a start with our prison art competition, but we won’t stop there. if you want to find out how you can help us help offenders, then please head over to Prison Opticians.