The show, recorded inside Brixton Prison, gave the victims or their relatives the opportunity to look the prisoners in the eye and tell them about the effect crimes had had on their lives. Among those taking part in the programme were Ray and Vi Donovan, whose son Christopher was killed in an attack in 2001.
The encounter was chaired by the psychologist Tanya Byron and broadcast on National Prison Radio as part of an initiative to familiarise prisoners with restorative justice, a process that encourages criminals to reflect on their crimes by bringing them face to face with victims.
The idea for the programme came after a prisoner suggested to the PRA that it could improve a show it was making by including the victim's voice. The production team recognised that it was a good idea but also realised that it would require specialist skills, so it approached Victim Support for help. The charity ended up playing a crucial role in the programme by advising the PRA production team on the issues faced by victims of crime and by ensuring that contributors were chosen appropriately and were looked after during the recording process.
The two organisations estimate that thousands of prisoners tuned in to the programme and say it had a profound impact on them and on the victims. It also got favourable coverage on BBC Radio 4's Today programme and in The Guardian, helping to raise awareness of the effectiveness of restorative justice and boosting the charities' profiles. The programme has already won Sony Radio's Best Community Programme award.
Caron Bradshaw, chief executive of the Charity Finance Group and one of the judges, said: "It was a powerful and creative way to deliver on both parties' complementary objectives."
Caron Bradshaw, chief executive, Charity Finance Group
Chris Harris, partner, MHA MacIntyre Hudson
Malcolm Hayday, chief executive, Charity Bank
Alison Paines, partner, Withers
Brook with FPA, for their formal collaboration