Our Purpose:
stop people going
back to prison

The uncomfortable statistics

27% of prisoners have spent time in state care (versus 1% of society at large), 15% are severely mentally ill, 15% were homeless before going to prison and 41% of people in prison have been excluded from school. Many people in prison were shut out before they were shut up: excluded from their families, from school, by their mental health, by poverty and, often, by addiction.

Prison is not the answer to many of these problems.

A high imprisonment rate
negatively impacts our communities

There are c.320,000 British children with a parent in prison. They will do less well at school and are twice as likely to suffer mental health problems. If they are boys, they have a 65% chance of going to jail themselves. Many will experience crushing poverty. If they do better, we all do better.

Prison is not effective at reducing crime

Prison, as we do it, doesn’t work. Nearly half the number of people who have served a sentence reoffend.

Countries with rehabilitative regimes and better post release support, have both less crime and smaller prison populations. The Dutch are closing prisons while we are building 10,000 more prison places. We must be doing something wrong.

Prison is expensive

It costs us £4Billion a year to run the prison service and the social fall out of reoffending costs us £17Billion. We could be spending that money building our communities up – not locking them up. A criminal waste of taxpayers’ money.

How Beating Time reduces reoffending

We know what to do to stop the cycle of reoffending because the Ministry of Justice has done the research…

It has identified key factors which impact recidivism – addiction recovery (not part of our work) and 7 others. Three are obvious, external and tangible: housing, family and work. In other words, somewhere to live, someone to love and something to do…

Four are internal and intangible – but every bit as important: having hope and being motivated to change, knowing other people believe in you, being given the opportunity to contribute and having an identity not based on criminality. In other words, I know who I am, that I can, that you believe I can and that you’ll let me try…

Beating Time hits these four factors hard.

Choirs Beating Time enables prisoners to hang onto their mental health and be a recognisable version of themselves. All our programmes reinforce non-criminal identity, whether as singers, songwriters, performers, entrepreneurs, workers or parents. The people we work with know we believe in them, because we invest in them creatively, emotionally, and financially. We create the opportunity for them to contribute, on lots of levels: to their prison community as performers, to their families at our Family Days, to the workforce, through Inside Job and as Entrepreneurs, through UpStart. By retaining a sense of self and creating opportunities we generate hope and motivation.