Welcome to the Robin Corbett Award
Rewarding the best in prisoner re-integration programmes
“All men die but some men live on” - the quote that inspired the Award
The Robin Corbett Award for Prisoner Re-Integration was established by members of Lord Corbett’s family and is administered by the Prison Reform Trust (registered charity no. 1035525).
Lord Corbett was the respected former Chairman of the Home Affairs Committee and for 10 years, until his death in February 2012, Robin Corbett chaired the All Party Parliamentary Penal Affairs Group, to which the Prison Reform Trust provides the Secretariat.
The Award was inaugurated at a celebration of Lord Corbett’s life at the House of Lords in June 2012. The first Award was presented a year later at the House of Commons.
"Prison isn't full of bad people. It's full of people who've done bad things and most need a second chance to change their lives." - Robin Corbett
“The degree of civilisation of a society can be judged by entering its prisons."
~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky
A message from Lady Corbett
Do you believe in second chances?
If you do, you’ll agree that once someone has served their prison sentence, a new start should, and must, be possible. Many ex-offenders are motivated by making up for what they did wrong and often prove to be reliable, hard-working employees. It costs us taxpayers £40,000 to keep one person in prison – every year (Eton costs £35,000). So it makes economic sense to give ex-offenders the chance to change. That's what the Robin Corbett Award for Re-intergration, set up in my husband’s memory, is all about. We fund charities who provide re-integration schemes to help ex-offenders by finding them a sustainable job. A better alternative than a prison cell and a chance to change a life because 60% of those released will re-offend within two years. That figure drops to 19% for those in employment.
Out of this Award has evolved the Corbett Network, a coalition of 50 decision-makers of major charities and organisations aiming to persuade more employers to hire people with convictions. The Robin Corbett Award is sponsored by the impressive Chrysalis Foundation (www.chrysalisprogramme.com) and the annual presentations take place at the House of Lords. (See details of the latest winners on the Award News page)
“When you leave prison you need someone to push you, without that I'm not sure if I would have been able to keep away from the old lifestyle. Switchback gave me that push and I started getting things done”
Trainee from Switchback
2016 RCA winners
Photo: ©Daily Mail
- Chair: Lord Ramsbotham (former Chief Inspector of Prisons)
- Retired Crown Court Judge John Samuels QC
- Peter Dawson (Director of Prison Reform Trust)
- Andrea Albutt (President, Prison Governors Association)
- David Apparicio (CEO, The Chrysalis Programme)
- Jonathan Freeman (Managing Director, Earlsbrook Consulting Limited)
- Eoin Mclennan-Murray (Chair, Howard League for Penal Reform)
- Geoff Dobson OBE (Prison Reform Trust Trustee)
- An ex-offender
- Lady Corbett
- Polly Corbett (Robin Corbett’s daughter)
- Tom Magal (Robin Corbett’s grandson)
- Nicholas Dear (Robin’s son-inlaw)
Judges gather in the conference room at the Prison Reform Trust
(l to r) Lord Ramsbotham Chair of Judges; Geoff Dobson, Trustee PRT; David Apparicio, CEO Chrysalis Foundation and main sponsor of the Robin Corbett Award
(l to r) Polly Corbett; Wendy Cranmer, Recruitment, Lendlease, Peter Dawson, Director PRT and Andrea Albutt, President Prison Governors Association
(l to r) Eoin McLennan-Murray, Chair Howard League for Penal Reform; Val Corbett and Jonathan Freeman, Earlsbrook Consulting
Judge John Samuels QC
The Robin Corbett Award: 2019 Winners
2019 Recipient: Recycling Lives
Recycling Lives, a charity which enables prisoners to gain skills and qualifications in recycling and fabrication to help them lead a law-abiding life on release, has been awarded the 2019 Robin Corbett Award for Prisoner Re-integration for its work at HMP Wymott in Lancashire.
Highly Commended: £3,000
More from the winners: Recycling Lives
“We are honoured to receive this year’s Robin Corbett Award for Prisoner Re-integration. It is fantastic to have recognition of our hard work across the country, from finding purposeful employment for the individuals we work with to assisting ex-prisoners with stable housing and supporting peer networks. We strongly believe in every person’s capacity to re-integrate into society and live healthy, crime-free lives if given enough support and supervision. We are delighted to have our contributions recognised and the award will allow us to expand our mental health and well-being support services, to both offer new services and meet growing demand.”
~ Alasdair Jackson, CEO of Recycling Lives Charity (RCA Winner 2019)
More than 250 men and women across 11 prisons have benefitted from Recycling Lives’ programmes offering prisoners training and employment in recycling and waste management, as well as providing mentoring and assistance with food and accommodation in a purpose-built block of flats. Fewer than 5% of participants re-offend and more than 70% find permanent employment on release.
More from the winners: A Fairer Chance
“We feel honoured to be the Highly Commended winner of the Robin Corbett Award, and it is wonderful to have our work connecting women in prison with employers who match their skills and aspiration recognised. The prize money will go directly towards the delivery of a planned programme of cross-sector events and open days in HMP East Sutton Park and other women’s’ establishments. The profile that comes from the award will enable us to expand our operations and engage with a wider range of private sector employers.”
~ Maggie Walsh, CEO of A Fairer Chance (Highly Commended winner 2019)
More from the winners: Circles South West
“It wonderful to receive the Commended prize from this prestigious Award, and a vindication of the work of our organisation. We hope that the raised profile resulting from the Award will impact positively on our future funding enabling us to extend this work both on HMP Leyhill and other prisons in the south west, and the prize money will go towards this end.
~ Jo Burden, CEO of Circles South West (Commended winner 2019)
These glass plaques were donated by James Timpson who practices what he preaches.
Robin Corbett Awards News
From Winners to Clink Dinners
WHO WE ARE: The Corbett Network is a coalition of 50 decision-makers of major rehabilitation charities and organisations dedicated to reducing re-offending by supporting people with convictions find and keep a job.
Bridging the gap from custody to community by improving routes to employment
- Engaging with employers from a wide spectrum, many of whom have skill shortages but do not yet consider recruiting people with convictions
- Providing support for self-employment options – back office, mentors etc
- Providing support for entrepreneurial activity – start up grants, route to market, mentors
- Using social networks and media to publicise rehabilitation
WE'RE MAKING A VIDEO ...
First, the background:
The Robin Corbett Award funds £10,000 each year to three charities who do the most to support ex-offenders. The Corbett Network is a coalition of 52 decision makers in major rehabilitation charities and businesses who collaborate to help people with convictions find jobs.
As one Networker, Maggie Walsh, CEO of A Fairer Chance puts it: “They need somewhere to live, a job and someone who gives a damn.” Well the RCA and Corbett Networkers do give a damn!
Why are we making the video?
The Corbett Network, in association with Nacro and Dominic Headley Associates, recently organised a conference in London to ask employers to hire people with convictions. It was a great success judging by the forest of hands which went up at the end signifying they had been persuaded. Result!
… except only in that conference room. Hence the idea to produce a video (launched in April) which we know will have a similar result to the conference but on a much larger scale.
Over the past weeks we have filmed some committed people working with ex-offenders (they also give a damn). Despite the bad publicity prisons receive in the media, there are many people in the sector doing their best to support and help ex-offenders to get their lives back on track after release. The photos show a few of those we interviewed, all with positive stories to tell.
Who will see the video?
The Corbett Network’s 53 members will send to all their contacts. So will 780 top business women on the mailing list of Lady Val’s Professional Women’s Network (a donation from each lunch booking goes towards our work) Employer organisations such as the Institute of Directors, HR professionals, Business in the Community etc as well as Youtube, Twitter and Linkedin will also receive the video link.
Recently I was a participant on a panel of a major think-tank on how to “transform the employment of ex-offenders through improved recruitment, effective training and better access to good jobs”. This will inform a major research report into ex-offender employment in early 2019. All panellists will be sent the video with a request to pass on to their contacts.
Brexit will mean thousands of vacancies so recruiting from a different talent pool is crucial. I am confident our video will persuade the companies who view it to give another chance to people who have served their sentences and are ready to re-join society.
The Corbett Network News
CORBETT NETWORK MEMBERS
Dr Kameel Khan is a tax judge and lecturer at Stamford University. He is involved in prison rehab in the US, in particular an enterprise programme called Remade- which he is hoping to start in the UK with London Business School and Kings. He is also working with the MOJ on using Big Data to determine sentence length.
Faith Spear is an independent criminologist. Former Independent Monitoring Board Chairman but was dismissed for being a whistle-blower about what was happening in the prison system by IMB and Ministry of Justice. Has continued to speak out for reform and been interviewed many times on television, radio and online news sites. She supports and encourages many who have been in prison and has learned to be persistent.
Robin Corbett fought for justice, democracy, freedom and human rights throughout his parliamentary career.
He was passionate and determined about all the cases he championed during his 34 years in both Houses, from prison reform and developing communities to safeguarding civil liberties. His Private Member’s Bill, which ensured the anonymity of rape victims, augments an impressive body of work.
Principled but never pious, his warmth, humour and easy manner defused many challenging situations. Robin cared about people and helped many, without fuss or fanfare, making a real difference to their lives.
Lord Corbett thought prison shouldn’t be about society’s revenge but rather a chance to change the direction of a life. After he died in 2012 this commitment to rehabilitation and education for offenders evolved into the Robin Corbett Award. The Prison Reform Trust, a registered charity with which Robin had closely worked agreed to administer the Award
Robin Corbett's parliamentary and personal life is depicted in A Life Well Lived, written by Val Corbett. Order via . The cost is £10 +£1.50 p & p. If you would like it personally inscribed, please include the name.
The man behind the Award
Robin was born in Fremantle, Western Australia to British parents. He was two years old when his father, a political activist, threw a rock through the windows of the West Australian parliament. This resulted in the family being deported to Britain. Many years later Robin and Val went on a parliamentary trip to Australia and he told the story to the Premier of Western Australia. The next evening at a reception the Premier handed Robin a bill for the window. Aside from his humour, Robin was quite stubborn. Colleagues told him he would hinder his career by helping the Iranian Resistance and getting involved with unpopular causes like prison reform. But he didn’t care – and these crusades did not affect his standing in both Houses.
From his friend and colleague Lord Grocott:
“The art of the politician came naturally to Robin. He was an outstanding servant of two constituencies. In Parliament, he made contributions of permanent significance, most notably with the Sexual Offences Act. He loved people and company, and people warmed to him. He was a big man with a strong jaw, a smile, and a ready wit. He had a big personality: people knew when he was in the room. He rarely spoke ill of anyone. There was no malice in him. His warmth was reciprocated with many friends in all political parties and in both Houses of Parliament. Being a politician was something he had fought hard to achieve, coming as he did from humble beginnings. Through more than 30 years in Parliament he demonstrated to all who knew him that his chosen profession was one in which he excelled.”
The Robin Corbett Award key sponsors:
The Chrysalis Programme
The Chrysalis Programme Innovatively and uniquely aims to stimulate/jump-start participant’s thinking/attitude, social capability and capacity, enabling participants to think more positively, creating self-esteem, self-belief, self-confidence, self-motivation and hope.
Lady Val's Professional Women's Network
This network for top executives, entrepreneurs or business owners was established nearly 12 years ago and fund-raises for the Robin Corbett Award. A donation is included in the booking fee for the lunches held bi-monthly in central London. Networkers are invited to the Award presentation at the House of Commons.
The Worshipful Company Of Weavers
The Worshipful Company Of Weavers pay all administrative costs to the Prison Reform Trust charity which administers the Robin Corbett Awards. This means that 100% of every donation goes straight to the award coffers.
This most ancient of the Livery Companies in the City of London, existed in the year 1130, and was perhaps formed earlier. The Company received a Royal Charter in 1155. At present, the Company retains a connection to textiles through its contributions to the textile industry. It has, however, like most other Livery Companies, evolved into a charitable institution rather than remaining a trade association.
Their motto: "Weave truth with trust"
What people say about the Awards:
“This award honours the wonderful life work of Robin Corbett who wanted education to be a new beginning for prisoners and a pathway to a lifetime of self respect and opportunity.”
Baroness Crawley FRSA
“ Education and rehabilitation - for which Robin Corbett campaigned so vigorously during his ten years as chair of the All-Party Prison Reform Group - are the only ways to give offenders the chance of changing their lives.”
Cherie Blair - QC
“The Robin Corbett Award for Prisoner Re-Integration is both a fitting recognition of his outstanding service and also a significant practical recognition of the people who today work for the objectives that Robin tirelessly pursued in his lifetime..”
Rt Hon Lord Grocott
“The value of the Robin Corbett Award has been proved by the quality of wonderful work it has unearthed and which it has been able to draw to public attention”
Rt Hon Lord Ramsbotham
“The Award is an important part of the creation of high quality rehabilitative opportunities for prisoners. Small scale, local projects provide a vital gateway back to normal, daily life, and help prisoners to resist further offending”
Lord Carlile of Berriew CBE QC