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The Prison Radio Association aims to contribute to a reduction in reoffending using the power of radio.

History

  1. Radio Feltham

    Prison radio begins in the UK with the establishment of Radio Feltham

    Faced with an increase in incidence of self-harm and suicides amongst young men in his care, the Governor of HMP YOI Feltham was approached by two local residents, Roma Hooper and Mark Robinson, with the idea of setting up a radio station to keep prisoners company at night when they were at their most vulnerable.

  2. PRA becomes a charity

    PRA becomes a charity

    The Prison Radio Association (PRA) is established as a charity in response to a growing demand from prisons to engage with prison radio. Its function was to offer guidance and expertise to prisons interested in setting up and running their own radio projects.

  3. Electric Radio Brixton

    Electric Radio Brixton

    In November, the PRA launches Electric Radio Brixton, a radio station which broadcast programmes made by prisoners directly into the cells of HMP Brixton.

  4. First annual conference

    First annual conference

    The PRA runs its first annual conference for prison radio practitioners, offering sessions on how to make appropriate editorial decisions in a prison setting, practical programme-making skills, as well as the chance to share best practice with colleagues from different prison radio projects.

  5. Sony Radio Awards Gold winner

    Sony Radio Awards Gold winner

    Electric Radio Brixton breaks new ground by beating the biggest radio networks in the country to win four coveted Sony Radio Academy Awards for its programming. This was followed up by further success at the Sony Awards every year since. To date, the PRA has won 10 Sony Awards.

    Later that year, Electric Radio Brixton re-launches as National Prison Radio, the world’s first national radio service for prisoners. Part of a ground-breaking partnership with the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), National Prison Radio broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week via in-cell TV.

    National Prison Radio’s programming supports NOMS’ seven pathways to reducing reoffending and offers the chance for prisoners, staff and guests to discuss issues related to prison, offending and rehabilitation. The emphasis is on helping prisoners to take responsibility for their own lives and the lives of those around them, as well as providing information about support services available in prison.

    National Prison Radio offers positive peer influence directly to prisoners in their cells, in a way that no other intervention can.

  6. Porridge for breakfast

    Porridge for breakfast

    The PRA helps to set up a prison radio project at HMP Styal. The PRA continues to work with the women serving time at HMP Styal to produce programmes for National Prison Radio.

    National Prison Radio launches its daily breakfast show, Porridge, which aims to give prisoners a positive soundtrack to create the right state of mind for engaging in the important work that takes place in prisons across England and Wales. Porridge receives a nomination for Breakfast Show of the Year at the Sony Awards in 2012.

  7. Face to Face

    Face to Face

    The PRA produces Face to Face, a ground-breaking programme produced in partnership with the charity Victim Support, where three victims of violent crime come face to face with three people serving time for similar violent crimes. The programme aims to help the audience understand the impact of crime on victims, and on society as a whole. The project wins a Sony Gold Award in 2012, and the Charity Partnership of the Year award at the 2012 Third Sector Excellence Awards. Listen to it on Soundcloud

  8. Station of the Year & the BBC

    Station of the Year & the BBC

    The PRA launches projects at HMP High Down and HMP Hindley, both of which produce programming for National Prison Radio.

    National Prison Radio increases its daily Request Show from one hour to two hours, in order to cater for the increasing number of song requests the radio station receives from prisoners and their families.

    National Prison Radio wins Station of the Year at the 2012 Radio Academy Nations and Regions Awards.

    The PRA produces its first programmes for BBC Radio.

  9. PRA Productions

    PRA Productions

    National Prison Radio is made available in 100 prisons across England and Wales.

    PRA Productions is launched with an event at the Magic Circle Theatre in London. PRA Productions is the PRA’s audio production arm, specialising in making powerful, life-changing audio products targeted at specific audiences.

    PRA Productions creates a monthly podcast for Phoenix Futures through an innovative workshop production model, and is commissioned to produce content for organisations like the Samaritans, the Department for Work and Pensions, Staffordshire County Council, London Probation Trust and the BBC among many others.

    National Prison Radio is nominated as a Station of the Year at the 2013 Sony Radio Academy Awards.

  10. Andrew Selous opens new studio

    New studios

    In April, the PRA opens a brand new production centre in HMP Coldingley, a Category C working prison in Surrey, allowing even more prisoners to contribute to National Prison Radio.

    In November, Andrew Selous MP, the Minister for Prisons, Probation and Rehabilitation, officially opens National Prison Radio’s refurbished studios in HMP Brixton.

    PRA Productions comes second in the Indie of the Year category at the Radio Academy’s prestigious Radio Production Awards.

  11. National Prison Radio Podcast

    Prison Radio Podcast

    In August 2015, National Prison Radio goes beyond the prison walls for the first time with the launch of the Best of National Prison Radio Podcast. A monthly digest of highlights from the world’s first national radio station for prisoners, the podcast is a selection of the most powerful, thought-provoking and revealing moments from National Prison Radio’s output.

  12. Help us write our next chapter

    We want to achieve so much more and you support can help us continue to reduce reoffending.

    Make a donation

Reducing reoffending

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.

Through our varied programming, we provide additional practical and emotional support for groups with specific needs. We've run series of programmes highlighting specific support available for ex-service personnel, care leavers, women in prison, young people behind bars, the disproportionate number of Gypsy and Traveller people behind bars, as well as programming addressing age, ethnicity, race, gender, sexuality and LGBTQ+ issues.

PRA helps prisoners with:

  • Accommodation
  • Education, training and employment
  • Health
  • Drugs and alcohol
  • Finance, benefit and debt
  • Children and families
  • Attitudes, thinking and behaviour

Impact

National Prison Radio has 80,000 potential listeners

99%of prisoners have heard of NPR

76%of prisoners listen to NPR

37%of prisoners tune in every day

10.4 hours per weekis the average number of hours an NPR listener tunes in for

9,562 letters requests and messages from prisoners and their friends and loved-ones received by National Prison Radio last year

Listen to examples of our work

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