Building Futures is our project funded by the National Lottery Community Fund to explore the experiences of people who will spend 10 or more years in custody.
About the project
Building Futures focuses on how long sentences impact prisoners, their families and wider communities. Working collaboratively with prisoners, prison staff and others, the programme aims to provide solutions and shape a prison environment that is safe, humane, encourages accountability and fosters hope. It places a strong emphasis on promoting prisoner leadership and self-advocacy and the creation of inter-prisoner support networks.
What's the issue
In the last twenty years, the prison population has changed hugely.
- Sentences for more serious crimes have become longer.
- At least 11% of the prison population is now serving some type of indeterminate sentence.
- Far more people will now spend 10 or more years in prison.
- The average tariff length for murder has increased from 13 years in 2000 to 20 years in 2020.
- Meeting the challenges of this change will shape the prison landscape for the foreseeable future.
Latest news & updates: Building FuturesView all news and updates
Join us as we discuss how moments of political crisis and scandal shape our criminal justice system
New paper examines crisis and scandal, and the role they play in shaping justice policy and practice
Women serving very long sentences feel their health needs are being overlooked, new briefing reveals
Men at HMP Rye Hill share experiences of the impacts of long-term imprisonment in new report.
Prisoners spending years in jail unsure how to prepare and demonstrate their readiness for release
Most women received into prison are serving short prison sentences of less than 12 months. However, ...
Building Futures publicationsView all
- July 2023 Locked In? Achieving penal change in the context of crisis and scandal Moments of crisis and scandal are an ever-present feature of the political cycle and the decisions t... Locked In? Achieving penal change in the context of crisis and scandal
- February 2023 Invisible Women: Hope, health, and staff-prisoner relationships In the last thirty years, the number of women serving an indeterminate sentence has grown from 96 in... Invisible Women: Hope, health, and staff-prisoner relationships
- February 2023 Progression within a prison: A report by HMP Rye Hill Building Futures Working Group The Building Futures Network was launched in 2021 to explore the challenges faced by prisoners servi... Progression within a prison: A report by HMP Rye Hill Building Futures Working Group
- October 2022 Making Progress? What progression means for people serving the longest sentences This report presents the findings of a prisoner consultation carried out by PRT’s Building Futures... Making Progress? What progression means for people serving the longest sentences
Building Futures team
David has spent two decades working with, researching and managing projects for excluded and marginalised groups across a range of sectors, including housing, education, prison and the wider criminal ...justice system. Previously a funded researcher at Oxford University and at University College London, he has extensive experience leading on prison-based projects, collecting data on the vulnerabilities facing those in prison and widely disseminating these findings to impact change. He leads the Prison Reform Trust’s Building Futures Programme.
Claudia previously worked as Research Officer at HM Inspectorate of Prisons, planning and facilitating research in a variety of custodial settings to aid and inform the independent inspection process.... She was also involved in a number of thematic research projects, including the separation of children in young offender institutions. During her Master’s degree at the University of Cambridge, she conducted an empirical study on the experiences of distress and prolific self-harm amongst male prisoners, and explored the availability of social support—both within and beyond the prison walls.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
To make a positive difference to the lives of very long-sentenced prisoners, their families and the wider community.
Long-term prisoners will set the priorities. It is crucial that the programme is built by people it represents. So we will:
- Facilitate listening forums.
- Create inter-prisoner support networks.
- Promote prisoner leadership.
- Bridge the gap between the people who make policy and the people affected by it.
Working with our Prisoner Policy Network, we are putting together a network of prisoners serving long sentences who will be involved in consultations, research and advocacy work.
Our network members will be key contributors to the project. If you are serving 10+ years and would like to be part of our Building Futures Network then please get in touch.
Building Futures c/o
Prison Reform Trust FREEPOST ND 6125
London EC1B 1PN
If you have access to email a prisoner, you can contact us at