Shocking, scathing, entertaining...
If you thought you knew how bad British prisons are, you haven't read this book... It's an inside story to make you weep at the incompetence, stupidity and viciousness of the current system. * Guardian *
An incredibly compelling account
, not just because of Atkins' incongruity and his knack for black, observational humour
, but because it lays bare a system that has become utterly dysfunctional. Atkins is thrust into the heart of Britain's prison crisis and can never quite believe what he is seeing. It's a sort of Kafkaesque haplessness. A bleak catalogue of absurdity. * The Times *Surreal
, darkly funny
, at times horrifying but always humane
account of what it's like to be locked up. * Observer *
A soul-searching account... A pacy memoir which is imbued with a dark humour... heartbreaking. [Atkins is] honest enough to have left in the parts that would make his mother wince.
* Sunday Times *
and darkly funny
memoir... * Spectator *
A highly readable
account, which illuminates a failing and anachronistic institution in dire need of a radical overhaul. * Daily Mail *Powerful
... a dispassionate record of the grinding down of the human soul, deliberate hopelessness, insane and moribund bureaucracy, the whims of bullying guards, roll calls, curses, kicks and punches. * Roger Lewis, The Telegraph *Terrifically vivid
... what makes the book so riveting
is that Atkins takes us behind the statistics to show us prison life in all its chaotic, sometimes surreal weirdness. * Reader's Digest *A Bit of a Stretch
shows a system in chaos, as guards struggle to deal with mentally ill, poorly educated men housed in decaying old buildings. It is also, in places, very funny
. * Helen Lewis, The Atlantic *Heartbreaking and hilarious.
* Christie Watson - bestselling author of The Language of Kindness *
memoir, but also an indictment of our creaking, underfunded prison system. * The Times *
diary of his time behind bars is a must-read
. * Independent *Powerful and highly readable.
* Peter Dawson - Director of the Prison Reform Trust and former prison governor *Funny, shocking and powerful.
* The Secret Barrister *Gripping, warm and empathetic
. Atkins exposes the shocking gap between what politicians claim about prison and the humiliating reality. You'll roar with laughter before turning to deep despair.
* Isabel Hardman - author of Why We Get the Wrong Politicians *Fabulous. Candid, funny and never self-pitying
, this is a must-read
insight into why prison simply doesn't work. * Jon Snow - presenter, Channel 4 News *Shocking, funny, and very moving.
* Mark Thomas - comedian *Absolutely extraordinary
without being self-pitying, shocking
without being gratuitous and, of course, very, very funny
. * John Niven - novelist and screenwriter *
Harrowing... required reading
for anybody concerned with what entitles a society to call itself civilised. * Law Gazette *Honest and authentic
. Atkins perfectly captures the madness, hope and despair of prison. Please read this
. * Professor David Wilson - founding Director of the Centre for Applied Criminology at Birmingham City University and former prison governor *
An important, urgent and entertaining memoir
. It made me laugh, cry my eyes out and think hard, not only about forgiveness, but about love and life in general. An essential read
. * Sathnam Sanghera - bestselling author of The Boy with the Topknot *