The radio documentary starts with Liam, who was sent to prison at just 18 for aggravated burglary and a range of other crimes. After he was released, he was sent back to prison within just two months for reoffending - and the cycle began again.
Locked up for 23 hours every day with few opportunities for self-improvement, Liam came to the view that prisons did little to rehabilitate offenders, especially those with drug addictions or mental health issues.
Eventually, thanks to the intervention of some charities, Liam found fulfilling work on a rural farm which set in motion his return to a life away from criminality and drug use. Being surrounded by nature and a new environment allowed him to gain a sense of purpose he wasn’t able to find behind bars.
Latest figures show that one in four people who commit a crime in the UK go on to reoffend. The numbers are higher in the North East of England. Liam wants to understand why so many people end up in prison multiple times, costing the economy billions, and what opportunities and pitfalls there are in rural communities for people like him who have left prison.
Could the countryside hold the answer to pushing down the number of reoffenders? To listen in full, please visit https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m001bbnv
Producer: Emily Finch
Executive Producer: Robert Nicholson
A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4
/ Related news
How the pandemic hit the North the hardest
A new book - ‘Northern Exposure: Covid- 19 and Regional Inequalities in Health and Wealth’ - details how people in the North suffered significant inequalities during the pandemic.