Prodigal Arts grew out of the funding being withdrawn for art provision in a local prison. A fact which seems only to be increasing across the Prison Estate today. 

"Offenders cannot rehabilitate on their own, they need the rest of us to change too"


Tim Robertson,

Former chief executive of The Koestler Trust

Prodigal Arts  grew out of the funding being withdrawn for art provision at a local South West prison where an Offenders' Learning and Skills Service (OLASS) art course had been being delivered by our founder.


Aware of quite how much creative nurture, meaning and freedom art provides for inmates, this could not be viewed as an end, but rather was the beginning of our work.


The building blocks of this project originate from a time a well built prisoner, with the tattoos to match, was lost in the flow of creativity.  Transfixed and transformed by the purpose and meaning of his artwork, he momentarily forgot where he was. He said, “When I do this I don’t want to hurt anyone”. This snapshot of the light creativity can bring to dark places inspired our vision and work.

Remarkably since then Prodigal Arts has been on the exciting journey which continues in the charity you see today. We remain indebted to the initial philanthropic investment that helped us establish our working model and pilot the project in our first prison. We are excited to see this now developing in other local prisons and also with the consideration of female prisoners.


Our emphasis is on facilitating and encouraging the creation of art by motivated and talented individuals. Our unique approach enables Prodigal Arts to run as a project not a course both in prison and on the outside.


We provide training and mentoring to help prisoners and ex-offenders develop creatively. We aim to bring transformation through art, making a positive contribution in society.

Prodigal Arts needs your support to help us develop



By supporting this project through making an art purchase, commissioning work, giving a donation or by offering your time, expertise or interest you are making a conscious, ethical choice to help in the rehabilitation of offenders.


  • You are investing in active, creative rehabilitation.


  • You are becoming a little part of the difference that can help address the concerning re-offending rates.


  • You can help reduce the chance of a prisoner re-offending by fanning into flame their creative talent and potential. You can help bring purpose and meaning to the lives of ex-offenders.


Everyone is worth a second chance, and through your support you are demonstrating that as human beings we believe in this principle, and we can play our part in creating a better, bigger and more equal society.

Mentoring offenders and ex-offenders to find not only a new creativity, but a new life


The total UK Prison Population in 2018 was

84,405 in England and Wales, 78,844 males.


The cost to the tax payer of reoffending is estimated to be £9.5 to £13 billion annually.

Around half of all crime is commited by people who have already been through the criminal justice system. 



Our work is dependent on voluntary funding and grants 


Please help keep this vital work going.

All images displayed on this site are Copyright © 2019 Prodigal Arts 

Prodigal Arts CIO is a charity registered in England and Wales, Charity Number 1169287