Partnering with SOLAS and Mountjoy Prison to Support Ex-Offenders

  • SHARE:
The Further Education and Training (FET) sector is the largest provider of prison education programmes in Ireland. The sector is overseen by SOLAS, the Further Education and Training Authority.

During 2019, SOLAS wanted to raise awareness amongst key decision-makers of the cross-cutting supports (including education and training) needed to ensure ex-offenders re-integrate successfully into society. Alice worked with SOLAS to promote and project-manage TEDxMountjoyPrison as the first step in achieving this aim.

This was the first TEDx event ever to take place in an Irish prison and was run in partnership with the Irish Prison Service. Speakers included Dublin footballer Philly McMahon, businesswoman Norah Casey and the Governor of Mountjoy, Eddie Mullins.

Alice event-managed #TEDxMountjoyPrison, as well as providing media relations support for this project. The event was attended by 100 high-profile stakeholders from key target groups, including politicians, civil servants, employers, prison service-providers, and those with experience of the prison service.

The results of our work included the following:

  • Despite no technological devices being permitted in Mountjoy, the #TEDxMountjoyPrison hashtag trended on Twitter later the same night, and online and media debate about the event continued over a month-long period – and beyond.
  • High-profile media coverage was secured, including an in-depth feature on RTÉ Radio One; an opinion piece in; a follow-up appearance on ‘The Late, Late Show’; and print coverage in a range of national outlets. The reach of media coverage was almost 7 million in total.
  • In the two weeks following the event, the online recordings of the TEDx talks attracted over 7,000 views.

Following on from TEDxMountjoyPrison, we worked with SOLAS to organise an event focusing on employers’ attitudes to hiring ex-offenders, run in partnership with Mountjoy Prison and Ibec. Well-known chef Domini Kemp – who provides education programmes in prisons – spoke as part of a panel discussion, alongside (then) Minister of State at the Department of Justice, David Stanton TD. We secured interviews on ‘The Ryan Tubridy Show’ on RTÉ Radio 1 and ‘The Hard Shoulder’ on Newstalk for this event, amongst other results.

Subsequently, we worked with SOLAS to plan and promote the launch of a Christmas album, ‘Jingle Jangle’, featuring performances by the SOLAS employee choir and the Mountjoy Prison choir (the choirs originally performed together at TEDxMountjoyPrison, after which they continued to collaborate for the remainder of the year).

The album was launched in Mountjoy Prison with a concert, and all proceeds from the album sales were donated to Dublin Simon.

Alice again provided full project management services for the album launch concert in Mountjoy, securing popular Irish Times columnist Róisín Ingle as the event MC.

Next Case Study