Spokesperson Network

Lady Unchained

Poet and Founder of Unchained Poetry, a platform for artists with experience of the criminal justice system.


Sitting in her front room, with a group of like-minded friends, Lady Unchained and her friends would have debates and discussions about the problems they faced around everything, and write about how they made them feel. This inspired her to set up Unchained Poetry, a platform for artists with experience of the criminal justice system. In 2016, Lady Unchained won an open mic competition and received a prize of £500. She used this money to help fund a trip to Uganda, where she visited in mates in two separate prisons talking to them about their experience of prison in Africa. She documented all of her experiences and she is now working on producing a short film about the trip. Lady Unchained has worked with a number of charities including Body and Soul Charity, Working Chance and Safe Ground. She now hosts Unchained Nights in partnership with Arts admin at Toybee Stations, a night of inspirational storytelling, through poetry and music, performed by artists with lived experience of the justice system. She also co-hosts for National Prison Radio’s show We Are Straight Line, a show about Getting out of prison and Staying out of prison.

"My life ended and began with a prison sentence, those metal doors awoke the faith in me."


Creating a platform for prison poetry

Lady Unchained’s mission is to prove that there is life after prison. Through poetry she tells her own personal story and the untold stories that are often left untold, because of shame or labels. She performed a selection of her poems at Being the Story.

In the Media

  • Lady Unchained was interviewed in The Daily Mirror for an article titled ‘Brenda proves women can turn their lives around after being released from prison.

  • Lady Unchained was on BBC Woman’s Hour about Jimmy McGovern’s series Time and how short prison sentences impact women.


  • Lady Unchained gave an interview to BBC 1xtra about finding community in life after prison.

  • Lady Unchained wrote ‘A jail term for GBH felt like the end of my life – but it was also the start of a better one’ for The Guardian’s ‘The moment that changed me’ column.

  • Lady Unchained interview ‘Poetry unlocked the doors to prison’ by the Islington Tribune explored racism in the justice system and her book Behind Bars.

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