Reducing reoffending is of benefit to everybody. Equipping prisoners with skills and confidence is crucial in bringing down reoffending rates. Prison radio offers a unique, innovative and effective way to communicate with prisoners and engage them in education, debate and community.
Working alongside serving prisoners and focusing on speech radio, the PRA produces and delivers National Prison Radio, broadcasting information and educational materials which support the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) reducing reoffending agenda, covering:
- Education, training and employment
- Drugs and alcohol
- Finance, benefit and debt
- Children and families
- Attitudes, thinking and behaviour
Encouraging prisoners to take responsibility:
Prison radio offers a cost-effective way of communicating with the whole prison population. It can assist in promoting services and opportunities that prisoners can access, encouraging them to seek help in addressing their behaviour.
Prison radio can highlight issues that have been identified as key factors in reducing reoffending including:
- maintaining family relationships whilst in prison
- accessing information about housing options prior to release
- accessing healthcare services in prison
- improving employment opportunities in prison and post–release
- managing finances and debt during and after imprisonment
There are more than 1,200 voluntary, community and statutory organisations in the UK working with offenders and ex-offenders. By featuring the work and messages of these organisations on-air, the PRA strengthens their ability to reach their intended beneficiaries.
Helping prisoners to develop their skills and confidence:
National Prison Radio is a by prisoner, for prisoner service, with content presented and produced by serving offenders in partnership with a team of professional producers.
For people who may have had negative experiences in school or with education in general, radio production offers an innovative route back into the classroom.
Prisoners completing radio training courses gain recognised qualifications. Existing education courses within prisons can be enhanced by the use of radio production techniques. Prison radio training supports the development of a range of skills including literacy, numeracy and ICT. It can also contribute towards the development of transferable life skills, essential to successful reintegration into mainstream society, including team–working, communication skills, analytical thinking and working to a deadline.
An often marginalised and demonised community, prisoners who take part in prison radio can learn to use their voices with confidence and respect, and for positive ends. Appearing as the protagonists, rather than simply the subjects, of radio broadcasts can help to reshape their understanding of concepts such as community, responsibility and empathy. This goes for listeners as well as those who make the programmes.
Prison radio has a proven track record in helping offenders tackle the barriers they face on release, equipping them with the confidence, skills and qualifications they need to support access to further training and employment opportunities.
Prisoners take on a high level of responsibility for programming, editing and presentation. It helps to build on literacy, numeracy and presentation skills and improve communication and team-work. Just as importantly, it can greatly boost confidence and self-esteem, and motivate prisoners to think about leading more positive lives beyond custody.
Katharine Hamilton, Head of Learning & Skills, HMP Brixton
Leading the way in prison radio production:
The PRA provides support, guidance and expertise to existing prison radio projects and offers advice in establishing new radio projects or radio training facilities within prisons. The aim is to facilitate a productive network of prison radio projects sharing skills, experience and best practice.
A key priority is to safeguard the security and integrity of prisons involved in producing and receiving National Prison Radio. The PRA has worked closely with NOMS to develop a robust editorial policy which ensures that all content produced and broadcast within prisons is appropriate for its intended audience.
In particular, the viewpoint of victims of crime is respected throughout the production process, and all content focuses squarely on reducing the listener’s likelihood of reoffending.
Programmes are produced under close staff supervision. All programming is pre-recorded and is signed off as suitable for broadcast by responsible staff members prior to broadcast.