Doing Time – a thought-provoking exhibition supported by Hampshire Cultural Trust sharing the stories of the people who live and work at Winchester Prison comes to The University of Winchester from 13 March to 28 April.
The exhibition and an accompanying book tell the story of 175 years of Winchester Prison history, the harsh prison regimes of the past and today’s focus on education, training and reform.
Prison life is revealed in a series of interviews with staff including Governor James Bourke who shares the challenges of supporting prisoners with complex social, mental and physical needs.
The impact of what often can be life-changing education and training, healthcare and counselling is told in the words of prisoners who have turned their lives around at HMP Winchester.
The book and exhibition were written by Liz Kavanagh who spent over six months visiting the prison before, after and during the pandemic when prisoners were almost permanently locked in cells. The exhibition was curated by Leonie Mountney.
Photography by award-winning Winchester photographer Javaid Akhtar features throughout, revealing the stark reality of prison life.
Liz Kavanagh comments: “Each year, 2000 men pass through Winchester Prison, on remand, awaiting release and serving sentences.
“The book and exhibition provide an overview of the many individuals who make up the prison – from teachers and prison officers to the prisoners themselves. Their stories have been written as they have been told – without agenda.
“They reveal the huge challenges that the prison faces operationally as well as the dedication of the people who work there. They also highlight the pitfalls of a criminal justice system where reoffending is far too common. The stories told by prisoners are particularly insightful, revealing how debt, drug addiction and lack of family support can all lead to crime.”
Deborah Neubauer, Director of Community and Impact at Hampshire Cultural Trust says: “The exhibition and book have provided real insight into what life is like behind the walls in one of Winchester’s most prominent landmarks. The stories that have been shared are both challenging and inspirational.”