One Story, Our Voice: Voices of Redemption
Our future is not determined by the mistakes that we make or by the negative labels and stereotypes that are put upon us.
On Saturday 10 October 2015, we presented a powerful night of music, poetry and spoken word in which 10 dynamic artists narrated the phenomenal life stories of 10 ex-offenders.
Re-offending by young offenders has become one of the most pressing issues faced by society today. 45.2% of adult prisoners re-offend within one year of being released. For those serving sentences for less than 12 months, this increases to 57.5%. It is now recognised that the record levels of inmates in prison is not helping to reduce crime.
The Voices of Redemption project used creative arts to tackle the stigma associated with ex-offenders and provided a platform for this marginalised group to get their voices heard.
As somebody who comes from a deprived London council estate with a background in gang violence and uneducated until 17, and have been to prison 6 times (a route that I managed to redirect over the last four years), I can safely say that this has been one of the greatest experiences I’ve had.”
This production was a development of its successful first performance 4 months earlier at Park Theatre in Finsbury Park and was designed by the group to showcase their hard work and perseverance. We also launched the collaborative project album which was both produced and created by the group. The support from this second event, aimed at reaching a wider audience, has been invaluable in helping our artists achieve their potential and also enables You Press to continue helping young people articulate their stories.
In the past few months I have learned a very powerful lesson that behind every negative label or stereotype there is a real person with dreams and aspirations just like you and I.