Inside Connections John Burton wins award for prisoner reintegration
Monday 20th June 2022
Published by Liam
Back to News


Tuesday 14th June 2022


The winner of this year’s prestigious Robin Corbett Award (RCA) is leading prisoner reintegration charity, Inside Connections whose founder, John Burton, served a 12 year prison sentence for drug dealing and cigarette smuggling.

Since John’s release, Inside Connections has supported 520 returning citizens into permanent, sustainable employment in construction, fibre optics and renewable energies, all areas with well-documented national skills shortages.

The RCA judging panel were impressed by the practical way Inside Connections supports returning citizens from the Gate into employment with help, training and support. Judges include the Director of the Prison Reform Trust, a retired High Court Judge and President of the Prison Governors Association.

Lady Val Corbett, Founder of the Robin Corbett Award for Prisoner Reintegration, says: “ It is a fabulous true story that, with his background, John has turned his life around to help others, knowing the problems released prisoners have reiterating back into society. In this year alone, 182 people on their programme have achieved industry qualifications (with a 98% success rate) and 145 people have got permanent jobs.

“Inside Connections, formed in 2017, empowers individuals to change their lives just as John did and they are a worthy winner on many levels.”

John Burton, Founder of Inside Connections says: “We are absolutely delighted to have won the 2022 Robin Corbett Award. To win a prestigious award like this is unbelievable and I’d like to thank Lady Val, RCA Judges, our team, all the employers we work with and the prisons. It was difficult with my background to get the funding to start Inside Connections but we managed it and I am proud of the work we have done – and will do in the future.”

As this year’s winner, Inside Connections will receive £5000, a glass plaque donated by James Timpson and a book “A Life Well Lived”, about her husband, written by Lady Corbett.

The Robin Corbett Award other winners include two Highly Commended awards: Belong  and Recruitment Junction who both receive £2,500, a glass plaque and the Robin Corbett book.

BELONG  Founded in 2010, they support children, young people and adults in custodial and community settings. Services include mentoring, creative psychotherapy and restorative justice. In 2020-2021, they supported over 2,335 people, working from within nine prisons and Young Offenders Institutions.

Recruitment Junction have a social heart on a commercial mission. As the only recruitment agency for people with prior convictions in Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, they place people into paid work with a programme which gives candidates the necessary tools to get a job. These include online job search practice, CV, disclosure letter, interview preparation and outfit, right-to-work documents. Remaining in contact for up to 6 months, they offer practical and moral support that allows the person to sustain in work, or to pick them up and 'go again’ if they don't.  

For more information please contact:

RCA Publicity Director


07753 811 918



The Robin Corbett Award rewards the best in prisoner reintegration. We believe that returning citizens deserve the very best chance for a fresh start after they have served the time for their crime. The Robin Corbett Award for Prisoner Re-Integration was established in 2013 by members of Lord Corbett’s family in conjunction with the Prison Reform Trust. It is now administered by The Corbett Foundation, a not-for-profit social enterprise.

Lady Corbett says: “This Award was created to honour my husband’s work in prison reform – he was Chair of the All Party Penal Affairs Group for 10 years until his death in 2012. Privately he also wrote to and met many people in prison and after release. Through this Award his legacy lives on and my family and I are proud that it does.”  

For more information: https://www.robincorbettaward.co.uk



Inside Connections Support CIC is an organisation set up to support individuals with training opportunities that are labour market linked in order to provide a positive pathway into sustainable employment. 

The individuals for whom we work with have experience of the Criminal Justice System and are either currently serving in a category D establishment or have been released from custody. However, we are pro-actively work with young people who need a positive intervention, those in or exiting care and ex-service personnel. Everyone who comes to us is provided with one-on-one mentoring support to ensure the greatest opportunity for success.

For more information: https://www.insideconnections.co.uk


ABOUT Recruitment Junction (Highly Commended)  - is a recruitment agency for returning citizens. They are a not-for profit enterprise with a social heart on a commercial mission.


ABOUT Belong (Highly Commended) – Inspires change and hope by providing long term individualised responses to conflict and crime. http://www.belongmakingjusticehappen.co.uk/index.html




Sign up to our newsletter
Please select all the ways you would like to hear from Inside Connections:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails.  For information about our privacy practices, please see our privacy policy.