Kimberley prison radio show instils confidence in inmates

‘West Kimberley Regional Prison Radio Hour’.

A remote high-security prison in the Kimberley has created a weekly prison radio program, presented entirely by inmates of the West Kimberley Regional Prison. 

The WKRP show was first devised as an internal broadcasting service to give updates on the goings on of the prison, and the initiative was so popular it received permission from the State Government last year to produce a weekly hour-long show through the National Indigenous Radio Service. 

Producer Brad Spring (Derby Aboriginal Media Corporation) said it had given the inmates new opportunities.

“It takes away the shame and that shyness,” he said.

‘I’ve seen some people suddenly come alive and the way they speak has changed.’

What started as an internal program is now broadcast nationally, with inmates putting together a weekly show which airs on community stations around the country. 

‘Jamie Boy’, an inmate and radio presenter told the ABC:

“Doing it in here makes me feel like I’m somebody, it makes me feel important.”

“I just pushed myself to do it, I’ve done a lot of self-confidence building and that’s going really good.”

Media teacher Rebekah O’Meara who provides broadcast training to inmates said:

‘The people want to learn and they want to know how to be better broadcasters, and then when you explain how this is going to help them outside, that every community has a small radio station, once they know how to broadcast and they have those skills and get that confidence, that’s another avenue for them.

‘But it’s a real shame that we have to wait until people are incarcerated before we give them the skill to help them within their life.’

Jamie Boy enjoys broadcasting, saying ‘it’s okay here, but being away from family, day by day I go through it knowing I’ll be out one day.’

WKRP has a no shout-out policy, but Jamie Boy told the ABC his message for his children would be ‘I love you, miss you, and dad will be back soon.’

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