By Dave Edwards
On the 18th October 2016, the Oldbury Writing Group attended Onley Prison, Rugby, where we held a creative writing class for inmates.
We were escorted through the reception area and guided by our personable escort to a pleasant, business-like office, where our host gave us a brief rundown of the day’s itinerary.
We walked to the writing room via an aesthetically modern, brightly decorated corridor in an aesthetically modern, brightly decorated prison. We then spent a thoroughly stimulating morning in the company of three obviously articulate and intelligent inmates, who were eager to turn over a new leaf and take the road less travelled.
The group, inmates, and staff alike effortlessly discovered mutual ground and understanding, which culminated in a joint group writing exercise vis-à-vis Black History Month.
We read out our individual efforts and discussed personal motivation. After exchanging pleasantries, the prison staff and ourselves adjourned to the superb staff restaurant to sample the cheap but excellent fare. This establishment is managed and maintained in a professional manner by the inmates, who are no doubt keen to take advantage of the character building nature of the enterprise.
Other highlights of this state of the art prison include a gymnasium, pool rooms, and a fantastic library that can only be described as a bibliophile’s dream come true. As a member of our group so eloquently stated, ‘You may be in prison, but your imagination is not!’
Hopefully, this was a mutually rewarding experience for all involved.