Raphael Rowe


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 I spent 12 years in prison for crimes I did not commit. The only reason I am here now and able to share my story with you is because I never stopped fighting to prove my innocence. Eventually, I won and my convictions were overturned by the Court of Appeal in 2000. I was free…but changed forever. I knew, at first hand, what injustice felt like, looked like and what prison can do to a human being. I am scarred by my life experience but I have not allowed it to hold me back.This is my story.

I learned about criminal behaviour, crime and the law from the confines of a maximum-security prison cell. I transferred the determined questioning and methodological research skills I acquired in prison to become a respected and unwavering reporter that specialised in social and criminal justice. This is why I go into some of the toughest prisons in the world; people need to see what justice, injustice and reform look like around the world. I have visited many high security prisons around the world, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Britain, Papua New Guinea, Colombia, Brazil, Ukraine, Belize, Romania, Costa Rica and South Africa to name a few. Inside I meet with some of the world's most dangerous prisoners, the guards, prisoners' families and politicians and talk to them about crime and punishment. Is it dangerous? Yes, it is, but I believe it is crucial to show an insight into how prisons around the World work. Only with greater knowledge and understanding can real reform take place. My reporting and investigative journalism about prison, crime and criminal behaviour has significantly changed people's perceptions and I am very proud of that achievement. I left school at 16, and so my academic achievements have been limited but I do not see that as a failure. It is part of who I am and is testimony to overcoming the financial and social challenges I endured growing up in a deprived area scarred by racial discrimination and inequality. After all I went from there to prime time television and a career in investigative journalism that has taken me around the World!
I am successful in my chosen career because I am a curious individual, a skilled researcher, an experienced interviewer and a tenacious investigator of facts. I have overcome many challenges and learned to channel my adversities into action and energy and believe this trait is within all of us. Finding yourself can be the ultimate challenge. This is why I volunteer my time to social justice projects I care about. Encouraging and motivating people to overcome their own adversities and achieve their own dreams is important to me, regardless of whether they come from a deprived background with limited qualifications, or are successful postgraduates, or just an ordinary person seeking inspiration.
The response of the viewers to my investigations around the World inspires me to continue with my work. People are curious to understand more about why people commit crimes, and the different responses and reactions of societies towards criminal behaviour.

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241 printed pages
Original publication



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