Fine Cell Work is a charity that teaches needlework to prison inmates and sells their products (including adorable pillows that I’m adding to my wishlist this holiday season). The prisoners do the work when they are locked in their cells, and the earnings give them hope, skills, and independence. Savings reduce the likelihood of offenders returning to crime. Prisoners often send the money they earn from Fine Cell Work to their children and families, or use it to pay debts or for accommodation upon release.
The charity was founded by Lady Anne Tree, who first had the idea in the 1960′s when she was a prison visitor at HMP Holloway. With the help of the Royal School of Needlework she enabled two lifers to make needlepoint carpets which were then sold as collectors items in New York. However, in those days the prisoners were not allowed to receive money for the work. This determined Lady Anne to establish an organisation in which prisoners could learn a skill to the highest level and be paid for their efforts.
Fine Cell Work today aims to show that prison work can be the best on offer and to enable prison inmates to help themselves by selling their work to the general public. Seriously, how sweet are these tattoo-inspired cushions?