Mon 04 Apr, 2024

National Prison Radio inspired me to write 130 poems in prison

Darren recently left prison after serving a 12 month sentence. A huge fan of National Prison Radio, our award-winning show Free Flow inspired him to write 130 poems that helped him cope with prison life.

Free Flow is our show hosted by the poet Lady Unchained in partnership with the Shannon Trust. She plays instrumentals to National Prison Radio listeners, encouraging them to write and perform lyrics along to the music. Listeners then call National Prison Radio’s freephone voicemail to record their bars, and Lady Unchained gives feedback and encouragement.

Darren reached out to the Prison Radio Association as soon as he left prison to let us know the impact National Prison Radio had on him whilst he was serving his sentence.

Darren told us that Free Flow inspired him at his lowest and gave him the idea of writing poetry, two of which we broadcast during his sentence.

He wrote poems on prison life, the officers, inmates, mental health and religion.

Our listeners are at the heart of everything related to National Prison Radio, and our relationship with our audience is central to our success.

National Prison Radio’s Managing Editor Marianne Garvey, recently came up with the idea to create an ‘introduction to our audience’ activity for any new National Prison Radio prisoner-producers.

Marianne shares testimony from some of National Prison Radio’s biggest fans to show how important the radio station is to its listeners.

Darren became the first of these profiles and you can listen to the impact National Prison Radio had on him below:

As a thank you to National Prison Radio, Darren wrote an inspiring poem to all the staff:


One thing I’ve learned, is to thank those who help you.
As I look back on the year and those who helped me get through.
Some on the inside and some on the out,
I’ll say thanks to them all, of that’s there’s no doubt.
For me on the inside, routine was key.
I started each day with the radio, for a moment I felt free.
I closed my eyes as I listened, leaving the prison behind.
As I listen to the chat and the music, it was good for my mind.
When I finally got out, I emailed a gratitude of thanks.
The inmates listen to the station inside, be it the Scousers or Mancs.
It’s important you realise what it means to the lads.
Shut away for the hours, listening becomes one of the fads.
Porridge with Ali, started me off everyday.
But my favourite was Free Flow, where the poets get their say.
Both of the hosts know what’s its like to be known as a con.
But they give hope to us all, as their lives have moved on.
Life after Prison, another show to give hope.
It helped me look to the future, a great way to cope.
The hours that I listened inspired me to write.
As I began to be positive, as the darkness became light.
Its now six weeks I’ve been out, as I turn round my life.
I pray those on the inside stay strong, as they go through the strife.
I continue to write even though I’ve served time.
I won’t be judged as a person for committing my crime.
So as an ex-con who is now out, I thank NPR who inspire.
For those on the inside, you give them hope to aim higher.
To Lady Unchained, continue to write to the bars.
You helped me get through, as I looked out to the stars.

Darren will soon be a guest on Outside In, our show made by a team of former prisoners in the community, which features inspirational and motivational interviews with a range of former prisoners from all walks of life.

National Prison Radio is the world’s first national radio station for people in prison. It’s available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on in-cell TV.