Sat 12 Dec, 2023

Behind the Crime returns to BBC Radio 4

The Prison Radio Association produces this returning series in partnership with BBC Long Form Audio. And it’s back for a third series.

For many people who end up in prison, the press coverage of their offending is sharply focused on the facts of the case, as heard in court.

But, we rarely get to hear the back-story that lies behind the sort of harmful behaviour that can lead to a criminal conviction.

Sally Tilt and Dr. Kerensa Hocken are forensic psychologists who have both worked in prisons for over 20 years. Their job is to work with those who have committed some of the most serious offences, to help them understand the roots of their harmful behaviour and to avoid further harm after they’re released from prison.

In Behind the Crime, they take the time to get to know someone who’s been to prison, and over the course of an entire programme, trace their life from childhood through to crime, justice and release from prison.

In a brand-new series, we hear the stories of three people whose crimes were serious enough to land them a custodial sentence.

In episode one, we hear from Fran, whose lies encouraged well-meaning, unsuspecting people to invest in her business under false pretences. As we dig back into Fran’s formative experiences, we start to see the patterns that led to this catastrophic chain of events.

In the second episode, we hear from Gary, a self-described ‘fat kid’ at school who served a prison sentence for his role in the supply of £4.2 million of heroin. But this eye-catching conviction is only a fraction of Gary’s story. The survival strategies he developed at school sparked a remarkable chain of events that led him to prison… and then into the world of conceptual art.

And to finish the series, we hear from Marc. Between the ages of 15 and 21, Marc only spent one Christmas out of prison. He graduated from stealing hubcaps to committing armed robberies. During his last sentence, he ended up in HMP Grendon – a prison run on the principles of a ‘therapeutic community’ – where, for the first time, Marc was forced to confront his own actions and account for them not to the authorities, but to his peers.

HMP Grendon was ‘the hardest prison’ Marc had ever done. He cried for the first time inside Grendon. And then, in an extraordinary twist, Marc was forced to use some of the ‘skills’ he had learned during his criminal career to save the lives of others – and he was labelled a hero.

Behind the Crime broadcasts on BBC Radio 4 on Sundays at 1.30pm from 3 December. Another series will follow in 2024.