Concerts Inside

Ex-inmate Carl Cattermole discovers stories about concerts that have taken place in jails
Ex-inmate Carl Cattermole explores the power of concerts that have taken place in jails.

Music lover Carl recently served an 18-month prison sentence. While inside, he found solace by listening to music through his headphones - but never had the experience of listening to music with others. He was aware that,  over the years, several concerts have taken place inside prisons and so, on release, he set out to find out about these musical events – discovering how the communal experience of prison concerts can transform lives.

Ex-offender Erwin James talks about folk singer John Martyn’s performances at Long Lartin jail - and the effect that concert had on some the UK’s most hardened criminals.

Writer Ivan Hewett relays the story of Olivier Messiaen composing his Quartet for the End of Time during his incarceration in a prisoner of war camp in Silesia.

Music journalist John Ingham recalls the time in 1976 when he accompanied the Sex Pistols into Chelmsford Maximum Security Prison, where the band played a gig for 50 inmates on a hot sunny afternoon.

Finally, musician George Caird tells Carl about the time Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears went into Wormwood Scrubs on 11th July 1943 to perform for the prisoners there. The inmates included their great friend Michael Tippett, who was serving a three-month sentence for being a conscientious objector.

Presenter: Carl Cattermole
Producer Rosie Boulton
A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4

Probation services back in public hands

Part-privatisation of probation services overturned.
The Justice Secretary has confirmed that the supervision of all offenders on probation in England and Wales is being put back into the public sector after failings with the part-privatisation of the system.

It reverses changes made in 2014 by the then Justice Secretary Chris Grayling. 

Alicia McCarthy reports.

And you can hear a full round up of the day in Parliament on BBC Radio 4 at 23:30 every weeknight.

Labour calls for scrapping of private probation contracts

Private monitoring of offenders is "flawed"
Earlier this year, the chief inspector of probation said the current system in England and Wales - with private firms monitoring offenders serving community services - was irredeemably flawed.  

The government says it will announce new arrangements in due course.  

Labour used a debate on on prisons and probation, to call on ministers to scrap plans for new private probation contracts and new privately run prisons. 

Mandy Baker reports.

There's more from Today in Parliament at 11.30pm on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Sounds