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Go to Jail - The Cell Project

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by David Vincent (subscribe)
Occasional blogger and sometimes freelance writer, hammering away in the West Midlands.
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Get a taste of prison life inside a replica jail cell
The Library of Birmingham is hosting a temporary jail, but those visiting can leave when they like.

Fear not - there hasn't been a marked increase in crime around Broad Street (as far as we're aware. The unit is actually the work of Stoke-on-Trent arts organisation Rideout who've created an exact replica of a UK jail cell - complete with two prisoners - to draw attention to the crime and punishment debate.

Visitors can drop by at any time to have a look at, and enter, the cell and also chat to the prisoners inside - who are both former inmates of HM prisons.

jail, rideout, library of birmingham, prison, arts, gaol
Rideout's Go To Jail: how would you feel about spending 23hrs a day in a space this size with a complete stranger?

The cell is just 3.7m x 2.5m. It contains a bunk bed, a desk unit, two chairs, sink, toilet and a mirror. Prisoners can spend up to 23 hours a day confined in such a space.

Those visiting are encouraged to discuss prison with the actor/ inmates, and find out more about what life is really like in a UK prison.

The majority of people have little idea about the actual living conditions in a prison (unless they've 'served time' themselves). With fictionalised or extreme depictions on TV, the truth is hard to imagine.

Entitled Go To Jail, this project helps redress that balance.

Go To Jail runs from Tuesday 1 to Saturday 12 March 2016 in the Floor 3 Gallery at The Library of Birmingham, Centenary Square, Broad Street, Birmingham B1 2ND.

Open Tue-Sat, from 11am-4pm, admission is free - no pre-booking required.

The project then moves to Coventry's Shop Front Theatre (City Arcade, CV1 3HW) from Tuesday 26 to Saturday 30 April 2016. Admission free. Open daily 11am-4pm

For more information see: - where you can also see a live stream of the jail cell (during opening hours).

go to jail, rideout, library of birmingham, gaol, prison, arts
Go To Jail's replica prison cell.

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Why? Find out more about life in prison.
When: 11am to 4pm
Where: The Library of Birmingham
Cost: Free
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