About Liberty Glasses
In December 2004 I was just finishing my first semester of first year Optometry at City Uni, London. It was at this time my father’s court case was heard at the Old Bailey and he was found guilty. I visited him throughout his 14 years in prison.
Our frames may look similar to others but they represent something very different. We train prisoners in spectacle making (cut, edge and fit) and then help them secure work.
We offer high quality frames glazed with prescription lenses. The provenance of these prescription spectacles will make customers feel good about their glasses.
We deliver high quality at low prices because we source frames and buy in bulk. Our training programme for offenders is fully paid for by our prison optometry services.
Being able to upskill prisoners and help them get into optics is a great motivator for me. When choosing new prisoners I ask about their crime. In the last 5 years I've learned how to identify the ones who are serious about making a change & move forwards.
Between 2016-2020 we trained 65 prisoners and 45 of them secured paid work with opticians.
What are Liberty Glasses
A range of optical frames we buy for our prison optometry contracts. We hire ex-offenders to glaze them with prescription lenses. Our frames have to cover a wide variety of faces, be comfortable & durable.
FAQs - LG
What type of offenders do you work with?
We do not work with those convicted of offences including, and similar to sexual violence and sexual offences aginst an adult, child or vulnerable adult.
Are you a charity?
The Prison Opticians Trust is a registered charity with the objective to help disadvantaged people secure meaningful work & raise standards of eye care in prison.
The Prison Opticians Company is registered business. The company is involved in trading activities which means the charity is financially seld sufficient. The company is also creating jobs for offenders to become optical lab technicians.
How do we bring up Liberty Glasses to customers?
We rehabilitate prisoners by training them in optics. Through this programme we have helped 65 prisoners get a qualification & 45 of them have been successful at securing paid work with opticians.
Our training programme is financially self sustainable because we deliver prison optometry services into over 60 prisons nationwide.
We are now trying to create more jobs in house for prisoners wishing to become lab technicians therefore have launched Liberty Glasses.
Where are the spectacles made?
The lab is based in Maidstone town centre and not behind prison walls.
Eligible prisoners are allowed to come out to us for training purposes near the end of their sentences.
Who makes the spectacles?
The spectacles will be glazed with prescription lenses by a prisoner or one of our experienced staff members.
All jobs are checked by a competent person before being sent out.
Turnaround time for Glazing
Stock lens orders 3-4 working days.
Non Stock (surfaced) lenses take 8-12 working days.
Patient Data - is it safe?
Yes – because on our system you don’t even have to use patient’s surname, you could just use a file number.
So long as you know who that file number belongs to then you can match the job up with your patient.
All we have is non patient identifiable data.
Can I buy Frames Only and glaze elsewhere?
Yes – we have a “frames only order” form. Accessed via yellow button on all prduct pages.
Currenlty we supply 3 varifocal lenses:
Visio, Nova Plus, and Nova UHD.
In the future we will widen this range of varifocals.
Yes – we take an initial deposit & when you return the samples (we give you 3 weeks) then we refund that deposit.
Alternatively we visit you in store to show you all of our frames without having to take deposits.
We charge £5 delivery per job. We send jobs by Royal Mail Tracked.
Refund or Exchange
We don’t offer refunds but we will exchange frames that are in their original condition and were purchased less than 3 months ago.
2 years for frame faults.
If the customer has not used them correctly (e.g. taking them off with one hand) then that is not covered.
Non Tolerance policy for Varifocals
We must receive them within 45 days from when we dispatched them to your practice.
We must receive a fully completed “WLC varifocals returns form”.
Full terms & conditions are on page 2 of our lens prices table
You can download Varifocal Centration charts directly from our order form. You need to check they’ve printed correct size.
a) solid tints in grey, brown or green. and we do them in dark, medium or light
b) Transitions 8 come in grey, brown or green – exceptions are in 1.74 green is not available.
c) Polarised come in grey, brown or green.
Stories From Our Trainees
So where do I start? I lived a life of crime, thought I was untouchable, I was feared and in the end, I got a massive wake up call that not only opened my eyes to the destruction that I had caused but put me on a path that I see only lies with success and fulfilment.
Yes, I went to prison and I’m glad as if I hadn’t I would still be on that destructive path. During my time in prison, I owed it to everyone around me and myself to change my life around.
I was fortunate as I chose to go to certain establishments that have me that opportunity and that’s where I was introduced to the idea of getting into optics. Never in a million years would I have thought I would do something like this let alone actually enjoy it.
I was introduced to the team at the Prison Opticians Trust and from there I started my journey. It wasn’t all smooth sailing, but is it ever? To achieve great things you have to overcome a few hurdles. The course was great and gave me an insight into the numerous opportunities that were open to me in the future.
I really enjoyed the subject material based upon the anatomy of the eye, which has stuck with me till today. Fast forward to my release. I struggled to find a job. 152 C.V’s later and I ended up walking into my local Specsavers and telling them who I was and where I wanted to be.
Fortunately for me, the store director had heard great things about Pen Optical and basically wanted me to start straight away. Again fast forward 18 months and I’m still with Specsavers. I’m a senior lab technician and I run the lab with another colleague.
My path and future are set. I know where I want to be in the next few years and with my director’s support I am on my way to achieving that honourable goal. I enjoy life and I’m happy. So a big thank you to Tanjit and the Pen Optical team that helped me get here.
It’s a life worth fighting for and an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed. Maybe one day soon I will be able to give something back to Pen Optical and show my appreciation?
Prisoners in Jobs
Get in Touch
Have A Question or Comment About Our Work? Submit the form below.