Bringing together a range of first-hand testimonies of captives, this personal and arresting collection provides an overview of what life inside is actually like. Drawing on memoirs of captives - including those imprisoned for stealing money, murder, illegal protest or no reason at all - this book presents the universal experience of being incarcerated and brings to life the humanity of those behind locked doors.
Tracing the career of the captive from the moment the door is first locked behind them, to analysis of the oddities of relationships developed in prison and how the deprivation of sex is dealt with, the book then reflects on the cruelties faced while inside, and concludes by looking at the problems faced when the supposedly happy day of release finally arrives. These insightful accounts help empathise and reflect on the impact of prison practices on inmates.
This book uses the words of prisoners of all varieties - criminal, political, wartime - to give a moving flavour of life in confinement. It should be read by all those with an interest in penology, by those responsible for administering a penal system, and by those of us in whose name imprisonment is inflicted on others.
— Professor Bill Forster
Prisoners are often talked about, but less often heard. By foregrounding the voice of those who have been subjected to imprisonment, JE Thomas illuminates their emotional and psychological experiences. This approach is compassionate and humane, resisting the marginalisation of prisoners and challenging popular misconceptions about prisons.
— Dr. Jamie Bennett, Governor of HMP Grendon & Springhill and Research Associate at University of Oxford
What a good idea for a book! The author is someone with extensive professional experience of prisons and of prisoner education and welfare. He is also a man with a humane understanding of the varying psychological conditions of prisoners. These qualities do not necessarily go together. They have enabled him to write a book that explains such conditions to the reader in a detailed and empathetic way. It provides an account of a regrettably common and yet far from uniform part of the human condition too often either ignored or regarded with prejudice.
— Professor W. John Morgan, Leverhulme Emeritus Fellow, Cardiff University
About the Author:
J E Thomas is Robert Peers Professor Emeritus of Adult Education at the University of Nottingham. He has over 50 years' experience working with prisoners including working in Zambia, as Governor in HM Prison Service and a consultant in the UK and Australia.