Acast has launched a new podcast series in partnership with the Ministry of Justice, titled A Prison’s Guide To, designed to give listeners an insight into the role of prison staff within the criminal justice system.
The four-part series is narrated by actor and rapper Ben Bailey Smith, also known by his stage name ‘Doc Brown’, and will feature first-hand accounts from prison staff members on what happens in UK prisons, and their views on how prisons can help reduce reoffending.
“It’s definitely the case that for most of us, our only experience of prison comes from what we see in the media,” said Smith. “Hopefully, we’re going to be offering a more realistic portrayal – one that acknowledges the realities of how tough it can be behind prison walls, whilst also showing the public how hard the staff are working, as a unit, to help offenders turn their lives around.”
The show will feature a number of prison governors, including HMP Gartree’s Babafemi Dada, the first black African governor in the UK, and HMP Bedford governor Ali Barker, as well as a number of prison officers and support staff members such as psychologists and staff trainers.
“I experienced the criminal justice system as a young man when I was given community service for vandalism,” said HMP Woodhill prison officer Jae Lynch. “The probation staff I met then were fantastic and helped give me back some self-respect and pride and I didn’t offend again.”
“When I started out there weren’t as many women in the service so I’m really proud to have risen through the ranks,” said Barker. “...This job isn’t easy and I have had challenges over the years… The people I work with every day make it all worthwhile and together it feels like we’re making a real difference to offenders’ lives while protecting the public.”
In the US, another podcast series titled Ear Hustle gives insight into the daily realities and experiences of prisoners who are still living it day-to-day at California’s San Quentin State Prison. Since launching in 2017, the bi-monthly podcast has been named a finalist for an Audio Reporting Pulitzer Prize in 2020.