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A Bit of a Stretch: the Diaries of a Prisoner

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Chris Atkins

Saturday 9th October 16:00 - 16:45 | Digital

Where can a tin of tuna buy you clean clothes? Where is it easier to get ‘spice’ than paracetamol? Where does self-harm barely raise an eyebrow? Welcome to Her Majesty’s Prison Service. Like most people, documentary-maker Chris Atkins didn’t spend much time thinking about prisons. But after becoming embroiled in a dodgy scheme to fund his latest film, he was sent down for five years. His new home would be HMP Wandsworth, one of the largest and most dysfunctional prisons in Europe.

With a cast of characters ranging from wily drug dealers to senior officials bent on endless reform, this powerful memoir uncovers the horrifying reality behind the locked gates. Chris shares his shocking and darkly funny account of the reality of Britain’s prisons.

“An incredibly compelling account, not just because of Atkin’s 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

 

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