Offenders meet victims for pioneering radio programme
Published: 19 March 2012
- 20 March 2012
Prison Radio Association is an award-winning educational charity that aims to change the lives of serving prisoners through the power of radio
Victim Support has teamed up with the Prison Radio Association (PRA) to make an hour-long pilot programme called ‘Face to Face’ where three victims of violent crime meet three prisoners who have committed violent acts.
The programme, recorded inside a prison (HMP Brixton), will broadcast on National Prison Radio on Friday 23 March at 5pm.
The presenter, Professor Tanya Byron, who reveals during the programme that she, herself, has been a victim of violent crime, is speaking about it and the issues it raises on BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine Show on Tuesday 20 March at 1pm. She will be interviewed by Aasmah Mir.
The move is part of a wider initiative from Victim Support to work with partner agencies and highlight the importance of restorative justice, where offenders meet their victims and discuss the impact of the crime. This process can both help victims move forward and prevent criminals from offending again.
Javed Khan, Chief Executive of Victim Support said: “Restorative justice is a way for offenders to make amends and many victims find that it helps the mental scars of the crime to fade away. Victims constantly tell us that one of their key priorities is making sure that offenders don’t go on to commit the same crime again and create more victims. Research has found that reoffending among offenders who took part in restorative justice went down by up to 27%.
“That is why Victim Support commissioned this programme with the PRA. As the offenders hear the moving stories of the three victims of violent crime we can hear just how surprised they are that crimes like theirs had such a devastating impact. Hopefully this will not only shed light on the experiences of victims but make offenders think twice before they strike again.”
The three victims in the programme are Ray and Violet Donovan whose son Christopher was murdered by a gang of youths, and Michelle Karalius, a Victim Support trainer whose ex-husband was stabbed in a violent attack fuelled by drink and drugs. The three offenders are men between the ages of 22 and 31 who have spent years in and out of prison as a result of the, often violent, offences they have committed.
Phil Maguire, Chief Executive of the Prison Radio Association said: “This is one of the most powerful and important programmes we have made for National Prison Radio’s audience. Produced through a ground-breaking partnership with the charity Victim Support, Face to Face uses the intimate power of radio to bring victims of serious violent crime together – entirely voluntarily - with three prisoners who have themselves committed violent acts.
“Restorative justice works by facilitating communication between victims and perpetrators, encouraging understanding, empathy and, crucially, changes in behaviour. This brave and poignant programme, broadcast directly into thousands of prison cells across the country, is the first time restorative justice has been done on the radio – I believe its impact should not be underestimated.”
Listen to the 'Face to Face' programme