Second chances for ex-offenders through education

Longford Prize

Longford Prize Winner: Prison Radio Association

21st November 2013

The 2013 Longford Prize was awarded to the Prison Radio Association.  In their citation, the judges stated: “In 2006, the Longford Prize judges welcomed the arrival of the Prison Radio Association with a Highly Commended Award for its founder, Roma Hooper.  This year we are delighted to award PRA our main prize in recognition of how it has grown into a truly national service, reaching 82 per cent of all prisoners in the jails where it operates with its mix of entertainment, information and education.  Working in the high-tech world of digital broadcasting, it provides training for inmates, up-to-the-minute skills that will serve them well in the workplace, and inspiration.  A model of transforming rehabilitation, it is its very own rehabilitation revolution.”  The prize was presented on stage at the annual Longford Lecture to Roma Hooper by Bianca Jagger and Jon Snow.

The judges also made one Highly Commended Award to the Zahid Mubarek Trust.  In their citation, they wrote: “Out of one of the most shameful episodes in recent Prison Service history – the murder in 2000 of British Asian teenager Zahid Mubarek at the Feltham Young Offenders' Institution – the Mubarek family has shown great courage and magnanimity in building from their grief a powerful organization that: challenges racism in our prisons, especially against Muslims; supports victims and their families in confronting racial injustices that occur; and remains vigilant that the mistakes that led to Zahid’s death should not be repeated."

And they also made a Lifetime Achievement Award to the Revd Paul Cowley. “After serving a prison sentence as a young man, Paul Cowley has gone on, first through the army and later after ordination in the Church of England, to spend 20 years helping others who have walked the same path to rebuild their lives.  He has founded two charities – Caring for Ex-Offenders and, more recently, the William Wilberforce Trust - which tackle poverty, deprivation and the marginalisation of the vulnerable.  His story, one of those who nominated him writes, 'is one of ruin to right living, of rejection to robustness, of shaken value to beyond value.  Paul is one who has and does, a man whose life really matters'."

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