About The Prison Optician Trust
We deliver prison optometry services and train prisoners in optical skills.
How We Got Started
Tanjit Dosanjh is an Optometrist. In 2003, his father commenced a long prison sentence for a serious criminal offence. He visited his father regularly and quickly observed the lack of decent vocational training available to offenders. Tanjit completed his optometry degree in 2008. He was encouraged by news of an optical programme in California prisons where one optical lab in 1989 had grown to five labs, manufacturing over 400,000 spectacles for state health insurance companies. Several offenders have, since leaving prison, set up their own optical businesses and some have done further education to become qualified opticians.
Inspired, Tanjit set out to turn his vision into reality. In 2010, he approached the prison service to establish an optical lab in prison that could manufacture spectacles at below market rates and had the capacity to service the demands of the entire population. Frustratingly, even though he was supported by the prison service, Tanjit could not make any headway as commissioning arrangements for optical services were contracted out by other departments. Undaunted, Tanjit self-funded an optical lab in Standford Hill prison and gave up two days a week of his time to train a group of prisoners in optical skills. The pilot project became known as Liberty Needs Glasses. By the end of 2014, Tanjit could no longer continue without funding. Nonetheless, the pilot had proven that offenders could respond to training and gave him the confidence to apply to independent grant makers for full funding.
Where We Are Now
We now operate as The Prison Opticians Trust – Providing eyecare services to UK Prisons. We are now the largest provider of optometry services into prisons in England and Wales. We have a team of 16 Optometrists, A lab Manager, Lab Deputy, Training Manager and Assistant General Manager, plus our regular intake of trainees studying the training course and helping with day to day tasks.
Transforming Prison Optics Since 2009
£ Taxpayer Savings
We deliver opticians services into 53 prisons in England and Wales.
Collectively our opticians have over 50 years experience of working in prisons. Every year we test the eyes of over 14,000 prisoners and dispense over 15,000 spectacles. We have the data intelligence to accurately forecast the eye care needs of each prison and use data to model our services to ensure efficiency without compromising quality of care.
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