In Their Own Voices
Tinderbox have recently been collaborating on a new project called ‘In Their Own Voices’ in partnership with Edinburgh Napier University department of Forensic Psychology. The project aims to engage with the lived experience of people in prison and helps them to use music to reflect on their experiences.
During lockdown there was a poetry competition organised in HMP Edinburgh by an organisation called First Time Inside. The project had very wide engagement and produced some brilliant work that was published in a book called Saughton Sonnets which included a preface by the legendary Ian Rankin and thoughts from Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Humza Yousaf and John Scott QC.
For ‘In Their Own Voices’ Tinderbox has worked with four of the poets who a published in Saughton Sonnets to turn their poems into songs.
The songs will be unveiled at a live online event on Tuesday 14th September and will be accompanied by a panel discussion.
Here’s the schedule for the event:
1-2pm  Debut performance of work by prisoners on the themes of separation, rehabilitation, stigma and the impact of incarceration during covid.

2.15 – 3.15pm Panel discussion on themes identified for continued development of a compassionate and progressive criminal justice system. Available via Webex

For further information email Dr Adam Mahoney:



David Abernethy

David Abernethy joined the SPS in 1986 as an Officer in HMYOI Glenochil. He moved to Shotts as a Principal Officer in May 1992. He was promoted to Unit Manager and then Head of Operations at Shotts between 192 and 2003. He then went to work for the Chief Inspector of Prisons as an Inspection Advisor from 2003 to 2007. In 2007 he was promoted to be the Deputy Governor in HMP Barlinnie before taking up his first in charge post as Governor of HMP Inverness in 2009. In 2011 he became acting Governor of HMP Shotts for a short period before taking up post as Head of Training and Development at SPS College. In late 2012 he was moved again to HQ to be Deputy Director of Operations on an acting basis at first before getting promotion and being appointed as substantive DD Ops. In 2015 he took up post as Governor of HMP Low Moss before his last move in August 2017 to be the Governor of HMP Edinburgh.

James Docherty

James is a development officer within the Violence Reduction Unit. James works across various VRU projects supporting development and innovation. He also co-created multi award winning VRU project Street & Arrow which supports people seeking to re-create their lives. James is also a leading campaigner with ACE Aware Nation advocating strongly for change and awareness in how we address the hidden cost of untreated trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s) in our society. Previously he has worked with a leading Children’s charity on diversion programmes with young people on the cusp of organised crime. James has both professional and personal experience of navigating the care and justice system. He is also an advisor to Community Justice Scotland.

Karen Fraser

Karen has worked in the SPS since May 2014. She has worked as an operations officer helping to ensure prison security and as a Family Contact officer, an essential role that seeks to help prisoners maintain their connections and relationships in the community. Karen undertook this later post for 4 ½ years before working with prisoners in a residential setting. Her recent work with prisoners has been instrumental in helping to setting up the Saughton Sonnets initiative ( as well as helping prisoners to cope through the lockdowns associated with covid. Karen also brings to her work the experience of being a Mum of four grown-up children.

Jed Milroy

With an extensive background as an international performing artist, community musician and facilitator, Jed is passionate about bringing people together and supporting the development of confidence and well-being through music. He has founded a number of lasting initiatives and has worked with young people and communities in a variety of contexts, from facilitating workshops to managing large scale projects and organisations. He is highly regarded and well-known throughout the Scottish music scene and community-music networks.