Inside Out is a series of three dramas made with prisoners from three young offender institutions in the north of England in partnership with the Prisons Video Trust. The films - along with an accompanying documentary, Outside In - will be distributed on DVD to prisons.
Antonio Ferrara, chief executive of the Prisons Video Trust, says: "With a drama, you can explore issues that you can't with a documentary. The inmates will be able to develop ideas and place them in different settings so they can be more creative."
One of the main aims of the project is for participants to get the maximum educational benefit from it. For example, workshops on writing storylines will help improve literacy skills.
Phil Wood, a director and producer who has worked on soaps such as Coronation Street and Brookside, is giving up some of his time to work on the project. "The documentary will follow the prisoners' progress," he says. "We will have a Big Brother-inspired diary room where they can vent their frustrations.
"Using drama means they will have a safe environment in which to explore issues, but it doesn't mean the end result will be issues-based; it could end up being a love story. The idea is that it is totally led by them."
The project is funded by Mediabox, the Media Trust's programme for creative projects for teenagers, which is financed by the Department for Children, Schools and Families.