Project Overview


Clean break

Grant Amount


Award Date

November 2014


Criminal Justice

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personal development courses
completed course
90% +
satisfied students

Clean break, founded in 1979, uses theatre to keep the subject of women in prison on the cultural radar, helping to reveal the damage caused by the failures of the criminal justice system. Through theatre workshops and projects in prisons and in the community, Clean Break transform the lives of women who have experienced the criminal justice system or who are at risk of entering it. 

Alongside theatre productions exploring themes of women and crime, Clean Break runs an education programme for women offenders with the aim of improving their employability and life skills. Over 70% of programme graduates go into further education, employment or training, and only 5% reoffend compared to the national average of 50% . 

The grant awarded by Isla allowed Clean Break to deliver four courses geared towards personal development; helping women come to terms with, and move beyond factors that lead to offending. 58 out of 81 starters completed the courses. Over 90% of students thought the support from tutors was of a high standard, felt they learnt important skills, and felt more hopeful about the future. All students had been in contact with the criminal justice system or deemed at risk of offending, over 50% had issues with mental health, 70% with substance misuse, and 100% were unemployed.

Read about why writer and performer Ellie Kendrick thinks Clean Break are making “big waves”.