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.
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.
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.