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An animation that puts itself behind bars

Penal Reform | Is a Prison Sentence Always the Solution?


Around the world prisons are packed. Conditions are deplorable and reoffending is shockingly common. It begs the question, is a prison sentence the only solution?

Penal Reform International wanted to raise this question to an international audience of policymakers. They wanted policymakers to consider other forms of punishment, such as community service, as an alternative to prison sentences.


The facts against prison sentences are convincing. But we didn’t think that facts alone would be enough to motivate an audience of policymakers to reconsider their approach. So we decided to tell a story about a person who commits a crime, gets locked up, released, then reoffends, in order to highlight the vicious cycle created by prisons. The short animation presents the hard facts about the costs of prisons and rates of reoffending to help land the message. A dark, pensive style of animation was developed to fit with the tone of the subject.  


Penal Reform International have used the animation at conferences around the world - sparking discussion and debate wherever they go. The animation has been used on their website and across their social media channels. We hope it will get policymakers thinking beyond prison walls.

“The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. It’s since been translated into six languages, had over 5,125 online views and been shown to UN delegates, prison officials and corrections experts in a wide array of countries, from Namibia to Qatar.”

Harriet Lowe, Communications Officer, Penal Reform International

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