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.
I am passionate about training people because I know the benefit this has on the prisoner and their family. When choosing prisoners to be trainees we ask about their crime and what actions they’ve taken to show they want to leave crime behind and move forwards. Between 2016-2020 we trained over 60 prisoners and 45 of them secured paid work with opticians.
We hope you will join and help us create more jobs for people leaving prison and wanting to join the optics industry.
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.
We buy these frames in bulk which keeps costs down.
We aim to start making our own branded frames in 2021.
- How would you explain Liberty Glasses to potential customers?
We are involved in rehabilitation of prisoners. We give training courses in optics and spectacle making. 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.
- Are you a charity?
Yes – the prison opticians trust is a registered charity in the UK since 2015 and our charitable objective is to help disadvantaged people secure meaningful work in optics via providing training courses and employment support.
We also run a private business called the prison opticians company which is registered with companies house since 2009. The company generates profits which now means the charity no longer requires financial support from grant makers. The company is also creating jobs for offenders to become optical lab technicians.
- Who will make these spectacles?
The spectacles will be made by either a current prisoner or ex-prisoner. The optical lab where they work is overseen by an optometrist & an optical practice manager with 10yrs experience. All jobs are checked by a competent person before being sent out.
- Where will the spectacles be made?
Our optical lab is based in the community not inside a prison. Prisoners nearing the end of their sentences are eligible for day release training & that is how we get prisoners to come to us for training.
- Is patient data safe?
The only information we ask for is a customer reference – this could be patient’s surname a file number that will allow you to know who the spectacles belong to when received back by the independent optician. We use JotForms to receive order & this platform is EU GDPR compliant.
- What is your turnaround time for spectacles?
Stock lens orders 3-4 working days. Surfaced lens orders 8-12 working days.
- Can the optician glaze our frames in their own lab?
Yes – these would be frame only orders & we have a separate online order form for this purpose.
- What are your prices?
Frame Prices start from £7.50 for acetate frames – see catalogue for full prices.
SV Lenses start from 50p & Varifocals start from £10/lens. See lens prices table link on order form/canva.
- What type of Varifocals do you do?
– WLC varifocals. They are freeform in design. Visio, Nova Plus & Nova UHD.
- How do we order frames only samples/stock without the lenses?
We’ve got an online Frame stock ordering form.
- Do you provide free frame samples?
- Do you offer refunds/exchanges?
We don’t offer refunds but we will exchange frames that are in original condition which were purchased less than 3 months ago.
- What’s your Frame warranty period?
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.
- What’s your varifocals non tolerance policy?
You have 45 days to return the lenses to us with a fully completed “WLC returns form”. See full T&Cs on page 2 of the lens prices table
You can download Varifocal Centration charts directly from our order form. You need to check they’ve printed correct size.
- What colour tints do you provide?
- solid tints in grey, brown or green. and we do them in dark, medium or light.
- Transitions 8 come in grey, brown or green – exceptions are in 1.74 green is not available.
- 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
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