Ex-Liverpool drugs boss ‘Juicebomb John’ honored for his work with ex-convicts

A former criminal who was jailed for his role in a £1million drugs plot has won an award for his work in helping hundreds of ex-offenders find long-term jobs.

John Burton, of Vauxhall, was sentenced to nine-and-a-half years in 2012 after orchestrating a £1million plot that supplied cannabis, cocaine and amphetamines to peddlers in South Wales and of the West Midlands.

He later had a further 30 months added to his jail term after police unraveled an elaborate money laundering ring. Liverpool‘s father was once known as ‘Juicebomb John’ in the underworld due to his muscular looks.

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John’s experience within the prison system convinced him that the conditions contributed to a tendency to recidivism. John realized that his own family was suffering while he was serving his sentence and decided to reject crime.

Towards the end of his time in the system, he became an advocate for prison reform. He spent hours reading in the prison library and discussing his ideas with prison directors.

Upon his release from prison in 2017, John founded Inside Connections, a nonprofit aimed at providing released prisoners with housing and work. Since then, the company has found work for 520 former prisoners.

Yesterday (Tuesday) John won the Robin Corbett Prize at a ceremony in the House of Commons. Robin Corbett was chairman of the all-party Criminal Affairs Group for 10 years until his death in 2012.

John, 51, told ECHO: “We are absolutely delighted to have won the 2022 Robin Corbett Prize. Winning a prestigious award like this is incredible and I would like to thank Lady Val, the judges, our team, all the employers we work with and the prisons.

“Given my experience, it has been difficult to secure the funding to launch Inside Connections, but we have succeeded and I am proud of the work we have done and will do in the future.

The panel of judges included the director of the Prison Reform Trust, a retired High Court judge and the chairman of the Prison Governors Association.

John Burton at Kirkdale Community Center

Lady Val Corbett, who founded the award, said: ‘It’s a true story that with his background, John turned his life around to help others, knowing that the problems of released prisoners recur in society. In that year alone, 182 people enrolled in their program achieved industry qualifications, with a pass rate of 98%. And 145 people have a permanent job.

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

Inside Connections primarily works with people who have served or are about to serve prison time. The company engages with employers in the construction, energy and technology sectors to facilitate placements, training and careers for ex-offenders. Inside Connections also spends time with young offenders to help them stay out of trouble.

The Robin Corbett Prize for Prisoner Reintegration 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 non-profit social enterprise.

To find out more about Inside Connections, email [email protected]uk or visit here.

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