InHouse Records is the world's first fully functionally record label launched in prison. As a label for change, their mission is to see safer communities, fewer victims of crime and rehabilitation and employment for ex-offenders with a focus on dignity and aspiration. Since launching in September 2017, InHouse's work has engaged hard-to-reach populations both in prisons and through-the-gate, through music-based training programmes for prisoners and ex-offenders. With a focus on using music to improve core competencies and employability skills, its long-term goal is to help graduates lead empowered, fulfilling, and crime-free lives and, ultimately, to reduce re-offending.
When InHouse first approached the Cultural Impact Development Fund (CIDF) for investment, it was able to grow its in-prison services. However, the Founder & CEO was conscious of the risk of growing too quickly and without complementary through-the-gate services for graduates of the programme upon release. After consultation from the graduates to develop the most effective plan to deliver the through-the-gate services, the graduates expressed a desire to continue to develop their music-making skills, work with music industry professionals and mentors, and gain access to employment opportunities in the music industry. In March 2020, due to the impact of Covid, InHouse was unable to deliver its face-to-face provision for learners in prison. With rising mental health challenges for prisoners in isolation, InHouse needed to pivot quickly, and in April 2020 implemented an 'edutainment' magazine and distance learning programme for the general prison population. After 9 months of testing, InHouse was in a strong position to roll out its programme nationally.
InHouse Records first requested an unsecured loan of £77,000 to develop a partnership model with Caroline International (a division of Universal Music Group) and Sony Publishing, leading music label and publisher, and Pirate Studios, a well-established studio company, to deliver its through-the-gate services to graduates. InHouse approached CIDF for a second investment of £20,000, to scale its new prison-based programming nationally, increase capacity to develop new content and curriculum, and evolve InHouse's delivery methodology from face-to-face to distance learning.
InHouse Records primarily earns income through service contracts with prisons and by selling the music and merchandise of artists under the InHouse Record label.
The first investment allowed InHouse to secure space at Pirate Studios' multiple locations, serving both as a safe space for graduates of its in-prison programme to continue their path towards rehabilitation and to record music under the InHouse label. The additional income generated under the InHouse label will provide a source of earned income to subsidise the organisation's operations. As graduates may move to a variety of locations upon their release from prison, working with Pirate Studios will allow the organisation to shift venues quickly to meet the changing geography needs of its graduates. InHouse's future relationships with Caroline/Universal and Sony Publishing will provide further opportunities for its graduates to progress personally, professionally, and musically, either as a record label apprentices or as signed artists on the label. The second investment allowed the organisation to respond to rising loneliness and isolation in prisons, as a result of the pandemic, and supported efforts to provide lower-cost provision and multiple entry points to engage with the organisation