The Punch

BBC Radio 4

Aged 19, Jacob Dunne threw a single punch in a drunken brawl outside a pub in Nottingham. His victim,James Hodgkinson, died in hospital nine days later. Jacob was convicted of manslaughter.

Now 27, Jacob has a young family, and has recently gained a first class degree in criminology. But it was only after taking part in a process of restorative justice that he began to turn his life around. Meeting face-to-face with the parents of the young man he killed had a profound impact on both sides. The resulting relationship has changed Jacob’s life in all kinds of unexpected ways.

He has set his heart on a career helping others, while at the same time trying to understand his own transformation from angry teenager to responsible father. Jacob has travelled the country giving speeches and workshops to students, prisoners, prison officers, hospital staff, educators and young offenders. Last month, he gave the keynote speech at a graduation ceremony for trainee prison officers.

In this five-part series, he retraces the key moments in his life since he was released from prison. It isn’t a straightforward story of rehabilitation but a complicated, often painful experience. Recording himself at home during lockdown, he makes contact once again with his former parole officer, a prison officer, mentors, others who’ve also benefited from taking part in restorative justice.

Produced by Kim Normanton and Victoria Ferran

Scripts for episodes 1-3 are available to read here

Broadcast Dates: July 20th-24th 1.45pm 2020 on BBC Radio 4 and available on BBC Sounds