You are here

  1. Home
  2. Award
  3. Open Justice Prison Partnership shortlisted in pro bono awards

Open Justice Prison Partnership shortlisted in pro bono awards

Pro-bono shortlisted logo

The Open Justice Centre’s project in conjunction with the St Giles Trust charity has been shortlisted in the Most Effective Pro Bono Partnership category at the annual LawWorks Annual Pro Bono Awards.

The Open Justice Prison Partnership aims to address the unmet needs within our custodial environments. More than 60 OU Law students have supported St Giles Peer Advisors across nine UK prisons to provide targeted legal information and guidance to prison inmates.

The legal information researched and presented by these Law students has had a positive impact across the prison population. For example, at HMP High Down in Surrey, the project concentrated on producing resources that enabled the Peer Advisors to give advice on imprisonment for public protection (Imprisonment for Public Protection or IPP) sentences, licence conditions and the parole process.

The partnership’s success is partly down to the truly collaborative nature of the work undertaken by OU students and the prison-based Peer Advisors.

The OU has always played an invaluable role in providing educational opportunities in prisons. We’re delighted to be able to build on this foundation to create an innovative partnership that allows OU students to provide much-needed legal information and guidance. Programmes are planned in five prisons in England and Wales for spring 2020 and, subject to funding, we plan to increase the number of prisons included in the project in 2021.

Hugh McFaul
Senior Lecturer in Law and Co-Director of the Open Justice Centre

T​​he impact of the project on those OU students taking part has been truly transformative.

I didn’t anticipate the effect that this journey that I was about to embark upon would have upon my life as both a law student and a person. My fellow students, The Open University tutor, the inmates who we worked with and the staff at the prison made this experience one that I will never forget.

One OU Law student who participated in the Open Justice Prison Partnership

The LawWorks Annual Pro Bono Awards recognise and celebrate excellence in legal pro bono undertaken by organisations and individuals, and the dedication and commitment of the legal sector to positively impact individuals and communities.

All the winners will be announced at the Law Society in London on Tuesday 3 December with Lady Hale, President of the Supreme Court, as the keynote speaker.