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Second Chance

Author: Raphael Rowe

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Second Chance is a podcast series that explores the theme of second chance. It raises the questions who deserves a second chance, who decides who gets a second chance and what a second chance actually means. On this podcast we speak to people from all walks of life about their experiences, some who have been given a second chance in life, some who might be considered to be beyond deserving a second chance. The host of the podcast series is Raphael Rowe, host of the critically acclaimed series ‘Inside the World's Toughest Prisons’ on Netflix. He is also a former correspondent for the world's longest running BBC TV current affairs show Panorama the BBC Radio 4 Today programme as well as a regular contributor on The One Show and Sunday Morning Live on BBC One. In 1988, aged 20, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for a murder and robbery he did not commit. In July 2000, after 12 years in prison, the Court of Appeal quashed his wrongful convictions and he was freed.
56 Episodes
In this episode I’m speaking with Junior Smart who was arrested in his mid twenties for possession of several kilograms of crack cocaine. Junior was left homeless after his mother died of a stroke, causing him to go into depression and become suicidal, planning to kill himself. On that day, an officer slid an envelope under the door of his cell containing photos of past family get-togethers. Junior said the photos snapped him back to reality and saved his life. He then seeked help from the Listeners and decided to train to become a Listener himself but soon discovered areas that lacked in support. He wanted to do something about it and make a change. He became a mentor for young offenders in the YOI, leading him to meet with St Giles Trust and setting up his successful SOS project which became London’s largest gang exit project.For more information on Juniors work:
WARNING: This story contains details some listeners may find distressing.Clare Topcu and her young son were the victims of a burglary and vicious attack by a group of young men who broke into her farmhouse by removing roof slates and climbing into her home through the roof. Both she and her young son were beaten and bound with tape before the burglars made their escape. It was a terrifying ordeal they are still affected by today. When one of the burglars was arrested and imprisoned Clare agreed to meet him in prison as part of a restorative justice process. At the time she agreed to meet the burglar she was determined to reap her revenge. Further informationWhat is restorative justice?Do you need restorative justice?Restorative JusticeRemedi
After being caught attempting to smuggle cocaine from St lucia to Canada, Emily O’Brien was sentenced to four years in a federal prison. Determined to make the best out of a negative situation, she created Comeback Snacks while serving her sentence: a company that was inspired by her fellow inmates’ love for popcorn and their specific flavouring choices for the snack. By being able to map out a new life for herself while still incarcerated, Emily is now passionate about inspiring others to turn their lives around in the same way.SOCIAL LINKS:Instagram: @ComebackSnacksFacebook: @ComebackSnacksTwitter: @ComebackSnacks
On this Episode Raphael answers questions sent to him by listeners. The questions range from how dangerous it is hosting the Netflix series Inside The World's Toughest Prisons to  what were the challenges smuggling diamonds as an undercover investigative journalist.  
The host Raphael is on a short holiday break in Spain so was unable to record an in depth chat with a guest. So, recording  from under a duvet and pillows in a hotel room, in this episode Raphael shares his own story on how he started his career from a chance meeting with a senior editor at the BBC.
British born actor Jessica Allain left her family and home in London to take a chance in LA. Her move was hard and at times desperate but it started to prove successful. She appears in the Netflix hit The Laundromat, alongside Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas, a film directed by award winning director Steven Soderbergh. Yet, as a black female actor she is still having to endure shocking comments from casting directors about the tone of her skin colour. JESSICA ALLAIN (@jessicaallain) • Instagram photos and videosJessica Allain (@itsjessallain)Jessica Allain
Falling in love with a prisoner who will never be free is not the typical fantasy of most women growing up. However, love knows no limits. When Laynara and Aaron Howerton fell in love, they knew it would change both of their lives forever. Aaron has joined us previously for two episodes, discussing his life in prison. Now we hear from his fiancee on the outside - Laynara - about the harsh realities of dating an inmate.
Jeff Korzenik is Chief Investment Strategist for one of America’s largest banks. This man is responsible for the investment strategy and the allocation of over $40 billion in assets. His insights into the economy, markets, manufacturing, and the workforce is invaluable. His book Untapped Talent is the first of it’s kind to inform and inspire business leaders to broaden their hiring to this population. The book identifies the challenges and opportunities in hiring people who have been marginalized from the workforce. It presents the business case and best practices for hiring people with criminal records. He calls it ‘Second Chance hiring’.  So why has Jeff Korzenik dedicated his time convincing local and multinational corporations to hire people with criminal records?Find out more about Jeff Korzenik :Untapped Talent: How Second Chance Hiring Works for Your Business and the CommunityJeffrey KorzenikJeffrey Korzenik (@JeffKorzenik)Jeffrey Korzenik - Chief Investment Strategist - Fifth Third Bank
Aaron Johnson is passionate about diverting young offenders away from a life of crime because he is all too familiar with what it’s like to be criminalised. He works for Divert, a Metropolitan Police custody programme designed to help get young offenders into work or education. The project has helped change the path young offenders find themselves on by offering them alternatives. Aaron is one of the custody intervention coaches who meets the offender inside a police custody cell. It is critical prevention work that is making a real difference at giving people a second chance. DIVERTYouthHow we DIVERT young people away from crime and towards opportunity (@DIVERTLondon)
Life changing experiences can make you the person you become. That’s Andy Chaggars story. He was caught up in one of the world's most lethal natural disasters, a Tsunami. It swept through Thailand causing major damage and killing over 5000 people, including 2,000 foreign tourists. One of those was Andy’s partner. Andy Chaggar’s story is incredible, full of resilience and determination. The humanitarian work that he's done since his own experience is telling of the type of character he is. If you want to learn more about Andy’s charity work, follow these links:https://speaker.andychaggar.com
Warning: Please be aware that this episode contains details of sexual violence and abuse that you may find distressing. Rotherham in the UK is known for the gangs of men who abused, raped and even impregnated young girls. Their secrets came crashing down when a few brave girls stood up and told their story to the press, and the police.  Sammy Woodhouse is one of these brave women. After years of coercion and manipulation by an older gang member, Sammy was left with her life in pieces.  She became pregnant and had a child for the ringleader and was involved in armed robberies.  Sammy now uses her platform to help other women and children who may have experienced similar traumas, focusing on helping to get crimes pardoned, which the victim was coerced into committing. 
Warning: Please be aware that this episode contains details of sexual violence and self harm that you may find distressing. Also be aware that this episode contains explicit language. My Second Chance podcast guest booker, Tegan Parsons, shares her own story. It’s a reminder that no matter how much you think you might know someone, or things about that someone, you never really do. Her descriptive details of being groomed and raped, when she was a teenager, is horrific. These are not comfortable conversations to have but they are vitally important. Statistics show that 90% of victims of sexaul assualt know the offender. And like in many other cases of sexual violence, her perpetrator was never brought to justice. Tegan is not a victim, she has been empowered by her experience and by sharing her story we hope it will provide an insight that will empower individuals to share their experience, educate and protect others. Links: about sexual violenceNature of sexual assault by rape or penetration, England and Wales
Once upon a time, when I was a teenager I wouldn't give a police officer the time of day. Now, things have changed and I find myself supporting one of their initiatives that is aimed at diverting young adults away from a life of violence and crime. Speaking with Chief Inspector Jack Rowlands of the Metropolitan Police on my podcast about his project Divert is insightful and groundbreaking. He is a man who wants to give people a second chance in life from the moment they find themselves in a police cell in police stations across London. The early intervention programme he talks about can be a real game changer for those who make mistakes and end up on the wrong side of the law. It’s also a project that I believe should be available in every police station across the country as well as the globe. DIVERTYouthHow we DIVERT young people away from crime and towards opportunityChief Insp Jack Rowlands (@earlyyearscop)
For many, the Manchester Arena Islamic terrorist attacker, that took place on May 22nd 2017, was both shocking and devastating. More so for the 22 victims who lost their lives, and those who barely survived with their lives. Two of these survivors were Martin Hibbert and his 13 year old daughter Eve. Martin was left with 22 pieces of bomb shrapnel in his body, and paralysed from the waist down. Eve was struck in the head with a bolt. Somehow they both survived. Martin has used his incredible strength and mental resilience to push forward, and inspire others. He now trains for the climb up Mount Kilimanjaro, raising money for the Spinal Injuries Association. The link to donate is below.  This episode describes details of a terrorist attack,  which some listeners may find difficult. Donate here:’s Twitter: @MartinHibbertMartin’s Instagram: @martin_hibbert_ 
Today, Joey Barnett is an inspiration to many, guiding others away from drugs and crime; a life he once knew too well. Joey unwillingly traded most of his young life for a prison sentence, after a spree of bank robberies which allowed him to afford his expensive crack cocaine addiction. Through embracing faith, Joey found a way out. 
A follow-up episode to Episode 31: Musical Murderer. From inside Monroe Correctional Facility, Aaron Howerton talks of hope and the future, despite being given a life sentence without the possibility of parole at just 19 years old. Howerton talks about finding love from his 6-by-9-foot cell, injustice and the criminal justice system in America. Aaron sheds light on life on the inside. 
At just 19 years of age, Markie Dell was sex traficked by someone she believed was her friend. After being made to strip and have sex for money, she eventually was able to run away - in 8 inch heels - and start a new life for herself. However, trauma like that never leaves, and knowing that it continues to happen to women all over the world doesn’t make it any easier. Markie shines a light on how women can become vulnerable to trafficking, and the dark realities of sex work. A story of true bravery and escape. 
Although knife crime remains a serious issue, incidents are falling here in the UK. That is, to some extent, to do with those who share their experience. Stuart Newton is one of those individuals. He was brought back to life from the brink of death after being stabbed numerous times in an unprovoked knife attack. He wants people to know what it feels like to be stabbed, and how it affects a victim. Knife crime is committed by the young and old. It affects people from black, white and asian and ethnic communities. It happens to the rich and poor. It is not a social class issue. And stories like Stuarts need to be shared in an attempt to prevent others becoming victims or perpetrators. 
With a series of traumatic events in her past, Jessica Impiazzi manages to find the silver linings in each, and push herself forward. Known for her appearances on the reality TV shows  ‘Ex On The Beach’ and ‘Celebrity Big Brother’, she has also been in the spotlight for her modelling work, her marriage to a famous rugby player, and now her true passion - acting.
Gregory David Roberts was once Australia’s Most Wanted Man. The armed robber escaped from prison, fled to India and joined the Indian Mafia. On a smuggling trip to Germany he was caught and extradited back to Australia to serve out the rest of this 19 year sentence. While in prison he wrote the bestselling novel Shantaram, which is based on his own life experiences. From his home in Jamaica we talk about his journey of redemption, discovery and his spiritual devotion.
Comments (6)

Sevcan Alxasova


Jan 6th

Lyn Evans

have just finished podcast 20 very interesting

Jan 6th

Lyn Evans

just finished episode 19 I didn't enjoy this one as much as I have the other he didn't sound very authentic in my eyes but I do enjoy your podcast

Dec 31st

Eddie Daly

very interesting, Raphael is a very good interviewer who is not afraid to stop the interviewee and clarify points.

Dec 13th

Lyn Evans

Have just listened to your podcast number 12 it brought tears to my eyes such a moving story thanx

Nov 12th

Marzie Niknejad Madar


Aug 13th
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