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Talent of Hollesley prisoners

PUBLISHED: 11:23 05 May 2003 | UPDATED: 13:49 03 March 2010

REHABILITATION seems to be working wonders for young criminals at a Suffolk prison.

Teenage boys at Warren Hill prison and the specialist Carlford unit, Hollesley, near Woodbridge, have shown they have an artistic streak which can also help them adapt to life behind bars and prepare them for a release into the community.

REHABILITATION seems to be working wonders for young criminals at a Suffolk prison.

Teenage boys at Warren Hill prison and the specialist Carlford unit, Hollesley, near Woodbridge, have shown they have an artistic streak which can also help them adapt to life behind bars and prepare them for a release into the community.

An art exhibition featuring the Anglo-Saxon ship burial at Sutton Hoo has been seen by 20,000 visitors since the offenders' work was displayed at the National Trust centre.

Those pictures were drawn by teenagers from Warren Hill and they have won the art department £250 in the Jerwood Prison+Community Art Award national competition.

Boys in the Carlford unit have painted two large pictures on the themes of hot (a desert) and cold (the frozen wastes of the Arctic). They also won £250 when the combined entry from Warren Hill and Carlford was runner-up in the competition.

A total of 32 prisons entered and in the final stages there were 15 entries from 11 prisons. The judges said the quality of work exhibited from Hollesley was very high and displayed a great deal of imagination.

The awards were presented when Carlford unit had a Family Day. Prizes were presented for an internal sport competition and the Aldeburgh Foundation announced the winners of a music contest. The winning track entitled Life produced by some inmates will be played on Vibe FM.

Carlford houses 27 youngsters aged 15 to 18 and a few have committed such serious crimes that they are on a life sentence.

Valerie Armstrong, a Woodbridge artist, said: ''There is such a kudos for all the boys. Two of the boys were allowed out of Warren Hill to go to a big presentation at Sutton Hoo and they could not believe it when they saw it. It looked so wonderful in the Treasury and the sense of self worth they got for it was enormous.

''It made them feel better about themselves. Some of the boys had never done art before and they discovered what talent they had.''

Jerry Wright, principal officer in charge of Carlford, said a high staff ratio, an informal atmosphere and an emphasis on education was helping the young people.


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