Introduction 19 One The Son and Brother 25 Two A South London Boy 49 Three A Suspected Murderer 59 Four Prisoner MP3660 Rowe 73 Five The Case Against 99 Six Fighting for my freedom 117 Seven Staying Alive 129 Eight Hunger Strike 145 Nine A Second Chance at Life 175 Ten Joining the BBC 185 Eleven Porto Velho Prison 227 Epilogue 243
I am Raphael Rowe and my career was born as a result of spending 12 years in prison for crimes I did not commit. 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. This curiosity is something I have in common with the viewers and it led me to study a degree in Criminology late in life. It is important to change the narrative surrounding crime, criminals and the criminal justice system. A more transparent discussion about what works, and what does not, is needed in order to reduce both the causes of crime and understand the effect criminality can have upon both the victims of crime and society as a whole.
I am a serving police officer and your documentaries have really hit home and have really given me an insight into what it's like from the point of view of an offender. Tony, UK; How you make us think between the argument of punishment versus rehabilitation of inmates is incredible. I really appreciate the rawness and I have so much respect for you. Lent, South Africa; Another inmate I met and befriended was Raphael Rowe. He was a good looking half caste with dreadlocks who'd been convicted of the M25 murders along with some others. He showed me the papers regarding his case and also talked to me about it - i was convinced beyond any shadow of a doubt that he was innocent of the crime. It was blatantly clear that he was fitted up by the police. The witnesses in the case gave descriptions of white male perpetrators yet Raphael was still convicted. He was later freed on appeal. Reggie Kray - In A Way of Life ; Your work on World's Toughest Prisons has totally changed my perspective. I want to get involved with advocating change and rehabilitation like you saw in Norway. Thank you for asking hard questions and being so inspirational! Marco, Norway;. The insight into different reform systems in different countries is insane. You are one of the best presenters I've ever seen. Patricia, Scotland; Raphael Rowe was a unique voice among the reporters on Panorama championing his own ideas with both passion and commitment. He was the driving force behind a string of sharp and timely investigations on environmental issues. He has also reported with great flair and clarity on the criminal justice system. He is a talented story spotter and was alone among the Panorama reporters in achieving a near 100% hit rate for getting his own ideas to air. Frank Simmonds, Deputy Editor, Panorama ;Raphael is a first class investigative journalist reporting for a range of BBC outlets including the six O'clock News and the Today Programme BBC;