A Bit of a Stretch: The Diaries of a Prisoner, by Chris Atkins (Atlantic Books, 2020)

The prison diaries of a fraudster, focusing on an initial nine months in HMP Wandsworth. A privileged perspective as the author notes (a middle-class documentarian), but a vivid account nevertheless, evidencing the UK penal system as chronically underfunded, dysfunctional, and counter-productive towards rehabilitation. Darkly funny throughout, though more focus on the regime mechanics would have been interesting.


My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Prison: A Survival Guide, by Carl Cattermole and others (Ebury/Penguin, 2019)

Prisoners’ perspectives of the UK penal system; what it’s really like on the inside, and where to get help. An invigorating, detailed and illuminating read, that’s critical but fair-minded in its assessment of what life in jail is like, and on what works (not much) and what doesn’t. Recommended.

My own books here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.