Turning it around

New Blog Series

Earlier this year I did a reader survey with subscribers to this blog. One of the questions I asked was which groups of people would you like to hear interviewed on a new criminal justice podcast I’m planning. Over 60% were interested in hearing about ex-offenders who had turned their lives around and made good.

Well the podcast is still at the planning stage, but I thought I’d get cracking on the idea of featuring the individual stories of people who had pointed their lives in another direction and moved away from crime.

Obviously, there are millions of people in this category; so to give the series a little focus, I decided to invite offenders who had gone straight and now work, in one way or another, in the criminal justice sector.

I’m delighted that a number of people have accepted the invitation to take part and starting next week, every Saturday I’ll be sharing their stories on the blog.

Since everyone’s story is unique, I’ve not been prescriptive at all. I asked just four things of every contributor:

  1. Tell you own story in 500-1,000 words
  2. Include your biggest challenges
  3. Please share any key lessons you’ve learnt
  4. Provide a profile pic

It may be that I waive even the first of these requests if someone wants to tell their stories via a short vlog.


To be honest, I’m more than a little excited about the new series. The main purpose of the blog, as regular readers will know, is to keep you up-to-date with the latest developments in the criminal justice and substance misuse sectors. Inevitably, this means that a large proportion of content is demoralising to say the least (even if it is important to know). In the last year, common themes on the blog have been:

So, I’m looking forwards to a series which celebrates success and all the human attributes which go with it — resourcefulness, persistence and sheer determination to overcome the odds.

In 2017, it seems like we could all do with a bit more inspiration.

The series kicks off next Saturday with Ben Gunn’s story. As many of you will know, “Prisoner Ben” was the first British prisoner to publish (legally) a blog from custody.

Sentenced to life with a 10 year recommended tariff as a 14 year-old, Ben eventually served 32 years before being released in 2012 and picking up a new career as a criminal justice consultant, campaigner and commentator.

Find out more next week.


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