This introductory chapter discusses the process through which relatively small-scale media activism, based on prisoners' rights, came to be an intrinsic part of prison culture in the UK, playing a central role in institutional operations. It considers prison radio growth within the context of political and economic change, and argues that the successful development of an independent, prisoner-led service represents resistance against the forces of corporatisation and managerialism that have redefined the organisation and function of broadcasting, punishment, and social welfare. Against a backdrop of public service privatisation and media commercialisation, the growth of the Prison Radio Association (PRA) illustrates the complex processes of working in partnership with institutions and agencies to give a voice to people in prison.
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