Lifer Slams Hard Time - Reviews by Prisoners No. 2: Peter
Peter is a lifer at HMP High Down in the UK. This review is from issue 15 of Not Shut Up magazine, who interviewed me earlier this year.
When I pick up a book I like to escape the world I’m in. Since I’m serving life, I tend not to read about other people’s jail or crime experiences. This is no different at first, rich Brit gets involved in the rave and party scene, ends up in jail on a drugs charge. Does not sound that interesting. And it is not.
But some jail this is. The indifference of the guards and inmates to violence, abuse, and the conditions is just plain shocking. From the rotten food and overcrowding to the injustice and on top of it all the self-righteousness of the warden who seems to think nothing wrong in treating his inmates worse than cattle. It raises your blood pressure whilst reading. I wish for every person who reads this book to write a letter to Sherriff Joe Arpaio urging him to improve the conditions in his jail.
Most of us are inside for good reason but to push human beings this far is not acceptable. I finished reading this book with mixed feelings. If you like things like Ross Kemp on gangs or those shows about prison life you find late at night on TV, you’ll like this book.
Shaun went through a lot during his time behind bars but he’s not that much of an engaging person or a writer, so I felt for him not with him. His letters home were the best part of the book. There are also some supposedly humorous moments, which I failed to see, but this again could be because prison life is my daily routine and not something to joke about.
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