Tue 04 Apr, 2020

National Prison Radio broadcasts strongest ever schedule

National Prison Radio’s broadcast schedule for May is the strongest ever, as PRA staff work in difficult conditions to support our audience behind bars.

Deep into the second month of reduced prison regimes, life behind bars is increasingly tough. Social distancing in some prisons is extremely difficult, and prison staff are working under immense pressure to provide a safe and comfortable regime.

Inevitably, people are spending a lot more time confined to their prison cells. Under normal circumstances, most people in prison would be at education or training during the day, and having visits with loved ones. This would mean being out of cell for perhaps eight hours per day or more.

Now, much of this activity is curtailed, and many are locked up for far longer – up to 23 hours per day.

In response, the National Prison Radio team is building partnerships and producing more content than ever to keep people informed and uplifted during these testing weeks. We’re working extremely closely with the HM Prisons and Probation Service (HMPPS) grants team and colleagues in the communications team to ensure timely, accurate information gets out to prison cells.

We have opened the National Prison Radio phone line, which anyone in prison can contact for free and leave us a message. We get song requests, as well as our listeners views and questions. During March we received over 2,300 calls, and so far in April we’ve received nearly 3,000 calls. All these calls help us to support people in prison through our programming – they mean we can ask the right questions to the people in charge, respond to the feelings of our listeners and represent their views and voices on air.

We’ve also developed our schedule to better support people while they’re locked up:

These programmes are broadcast in addition to our regular schedule of music and talk shows, being presented by our network of people who have been through our doors while serving their own sentences, but who are now released, alongside our dedicated staff team.

We are working extremely closely with the communications team in HMPPS to ensure the information we’re giving our listeners is accurate and up-to-date.

And we’re developing new formats with new partners to further enhance this vital service that is ensuring people confined to their cells for long stretches of time remain in touch with family, loved-ones and the outside world.

As a charity, we can only complete this work thanks to the generosity of our funders. You can make a donation at prison.radio/donate.

 If you’d like to talk to us about your organisation being broadcast on National Prison Radio, to reach the audience of over 80,000 people behind bars during this period, contact Tim Colman, our Director of Development, at info@prison.radio.