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Voices from the inside. Prison radio stories from the UK and South Australia

Phil Maguire (Prison Radio Association, UK), Dr Heather Anderson (University of South Australia) and
Dr Charlotte Bedford (University of Adelaide)
Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Internationally, radio made for and by prisoners is becoming increasingly recognized as an effective means of maintaining family and community links vital for surviving prison and successfully reintegrating on release. In Australia, there is a strong history of community radio programming for prisoners. Yet such programs tend to operate in isolation and survive on the work of volunteers.

Prison Radio has seen steady growth around the world in recent years, and is increasingly receiving mainstream interest and recognition. Content produced by and for people with lived prison experience both enriches the quality of public discourse on criminal justice issues and provides information to support prisoners during their sentences.

In the UK, National Prison Radio is the world’s first internal radio service produced by and for prisoners. Developed by the Prison Radio Association, the service demonstrates the potential of radio as a powerful tool for prisoner rehabilitation. In Adelaide, the University of South Australia, with support from the SA Department for Correctional Services, have been trialling audio production workshops to create support materials for the prisoner induction experience. At the same time, community radio stations are providing a platform for those with lived prison experience to dismantle myths and stereotypes that often accompany those affected by the criminal justice system.

What lessons can Adelaide take from the UK experience? In this seminar we hear from prison radio producers from the UK and South Australia working both inside and outside of correctional institutions, to investigate how South Australia can capitalise on the UK experience to develop its own unique prison radio services. Following presentations from our guest speakers there will be a panel discussion with radio presenters from Three D Radio’s Prison Show and WOW-FM’s Radio Seeds.

Phil Maguire, Chief Executive - Prison Radio Association, UK
Phil worked in the fields of social work and education before following his passion for radio. After gaining a master’s degree in broadcast journalism he went on to work as a radio producer, reporter and project manager for the BBC. In 2006 Phil became the founding Chief Executive of the UK’s Prison Radio Association – an awardwinning charity that uses radio to support prisoner rehabilitation. In 2009 he launched National Prison Radio, the world’s first national radio station for prisoners. This ‘by prisoner, for prisoner’ station has a large and loyal audience – with 86% of prisoners tuning in for around 10 hours each week. Phil also runs PRA Productions, named Independent Production Company of the Year at the 2017 UK Audio Production Awards.

Charlotte Bedford

Dr Heather Anderson, University of South Australia and Dr Charlotte Bedford, University of Adelaide
Heather is a Senior Lecturer in Journalism at the University of South Australia and a community radio practitioner with over 25 years experience. Her 2012 book was the first to catalogue community radio programming for prisoners. Her research in prison radio has recently expanded to investigate the roles played by creative industries more broadly in correctional institution settings. Charlotte is a visiting scholar with the University of Adelaide. She played a founding role in the establishment of the organisation and development of the UK National Prison Radio service and her 2018 book presents the history of the UK Prison Radio Association. She has also been a community broadcaster for over 25 years and is the Chair of the South Australian Community Broadcasters Association. Since 2015, Heather and Charlotte have collaborated to investigate ways that radio can be utilised both inside and outside of prisons in South Australia to improve the wellbeing of prisoners and better prepare them for reintegration into society.