Our award-winning podcast Life After Prison returns for its fourth series. We take a look back and reflect on series 1-3.
Life After Prison is a podcast series and online community for people affected by the criminal justice system.
The podcast is hosted by Zak and Jules – two people who are part of the community themselves, having both been released from prison in 2019. Their personal experience of the resettlement journey is crucial to the success of Life After Prison.
Life After Prison features two different shows:
The Sit Down – Zak and Jules ‘sit down’ for a fascinating and detailed conversation with incredible people, many of whom have been through the prison system themselves. Guests have included the founder of London’s leading community football club Hackney Wick FC Bobby Kasanga, singer-songwriter Hak Baker and the top boss of His Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) Amy Rees.
Getting Out – focuses on the most important issues that you face when you first come out of prison. Topics so far have included ‘What are my housing options after prison?’ with national housing charity Shelter, ‘How can I keep my recovery on track?’ with Humankind and ‘How can I find work after prison?’ with Working Chance – the UK’s only employment charity solely for women with convictions.
Presented by ex-prisoners, for ex-prisoners, the podcast has helped listeners to learn more about the challenges that face those who have served a sentence, while sensitively answering those questions and signposting those services that can ensure a smooth transition back into the community for around 45,000 people released from prison across the UK in the past year.
People affected by the criminal justice system are at the heart of everything related to Life After Prison.
What has been the impact of Life After Prison to date?
From the launch in October 2022 Life After Prison content has been engaged with online almost 2 million times.
• 70% of Life After Prison listeners have either been affected by or work within the criminal justice system;
• 90% of Life After Prison listeners surveyed said listening to the podcast helped them feel more confident in tackling the challenges of navigating the criminal justice system;
• 92% of Life After Prison listeners surveyed said the podcast had made them more aware of support services available;
• 86% of Life After Prison listeners surveyed said the podcast had made them feel motivated to make positive changes in their lives;
• 87% of Life After Prison listeners surveyed said the podcast had made a positive impact on their relationships with family and friends;
• 77% of Life After Prison listeners surveyed said they had actively taken positive action after hearing something on the podcast.
“This is something that’s needed in the world. There’s a reason why life after prison exists. These are not just ideas, it’s something tangible now. Think of how many people that are going to be helped in years to come, seasons to come. This is something that can be big, it is needed.” – Life After Prison listener with lived experience of the CJS.
Life After Prison has won a number of awards, from the voluntary sector and broadcast industry.
• Life After Prison won Employer of the Year at the New Leaf Network CIC Awards 2022.
• Life After Prison won the Gold Award at the Audio and Radio Industry Awards (ARIAs) for Best New Presenter for Zak and Jules, as well as the Silver Grassroots Award.
• Nominated at the Third Sector Awards for Breakthrough of The Year and Rising Star for Zak and Jules.
• Nominated at The British Podcast Awards for Best Factual Podcast and Editor’s Choice Specialist Award.
We’ve learnt how valuable the podcast is proving to be for people who work in the criminal justice system.
Probation staff have utilised Life After Prison in their daily work, either directly in one-to-ones with the people they supervise, signposting people to the content as a means of providing support or using it to change their approach to their own work:
“Life After Prison has changed the way I engage with people and how I expect practitioner colleagues to engage with people.”
Zak and Jules tell us about the impact Life After Prison has made to their lives and the lives around them:
“Being a part of the Life After Prison podcast has been incredible, it has provided a platform that has created a community to support people leaving prison. This has led to people being able to have conversations about their feelings and experience in a safe space, which has then helped me to have the conversations with family that I never would have had. It has improved my relationship with my mother and has inspired people; the boys I have been in prison with always reach out and say positive things, they mention they are inspired and motivated and see me as a role model. This keeps me motivated and focused on doing the best I can to improve on a daily basis. I’ve learned new skills and found a passion for presenting; I hope to have a long fruitful career in this.”
Zak Addae-Kodua: Presenter of Life After Prison
“I didn’t think that this many people would turn around and say the show has helped them. There is just such a variety of people that think it’s an incredible idea. I didn’t think within a year I would win a Gold at the Audio and Radio Industry Awards, or see my face on a billboard in Leicester Square!
“I love presenting and it’s provided me with new opportunities and new career aspirations. To already have been recognised in the industry just feels amazing and I’ve developed a proper passion to help people out of prison – you help one person, and you just want to do more.
“Life After Prison has also had a massively positive impact on my family. It’s allowed us to talk more about my experience and my Mum is so much more accepting now. Before I couldn’t even say the word prison, but now they can see I’m on a good path and good things have come out of my situation. Talking about prison is now normal and natural. My whole family are proud of me and proud of what I’m doing and it’s all only been possible because I went to prison – I never thought that would be the case. It’s allowed me to process prison in a really safe space and I’m so much closer to my family now.”
Jules Rowan: Presenter of Life After Prison
Life After Prison returns on Thursday 19th October with a brand new series, and a new format.
Zak and Jules have proved their popularity amongst the Life After Prison audience. Their genuine and authentic nature was a common theme amongst feedback.
People wanted to hear more of Zak and Jules one on one and we’ve listened. The podcast will have specific episodes called The Inside Take dedicated to getting to know them more as individuals and sharing their own personal journeys.
Zak and Jules will continue to interview a range of incredible new guests on The Sit Down, and will be answering specific questions people have after release on Getting Out.
Download, follow and subscribe to Life After Prison on YouTube, Spotify, iTunes or wherever you get your podcast