Skip to main content

Building Futures

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.

Quick links on this page

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 Futures

View all news and updates
22 / 11 / 21

Long sentenced women “invisible” in prison policy and practice

Most women received into prison are serving short prison sentences of less than 12 months. However, ...

Building Futures publications

View all publications

Building Futures team

  • David Maguire Project Director
    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 Vince Programme Coordinator
    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.
  • Kelly Gleeson Administrator
    Kelly joined the Prison Reform Trust as a trainee advice and information officer while on release on temporary licence from HMP East Sutton Park, before joining the Building Futures team in 2020. In p...rison, Kelly worked with One Small Thing to become a healing trauma facilitator, and as a Listener with the Samaritans. She was also a peer advisor for people during their early days in custody. Finally, while in prison Kelly worked with Prison Me No Way, delivering workshops to children aged 11 to 16, alongside ex-prison officers. In the community, she has built on this work through adverse childhood experience facilitator training. She previously worked for a housing association as a link worker to support people with convictions, and is passionate about improving prisons for people serving long sentences.

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.

  • Write

    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