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  • Behind These Doors

  • Stories of Strength, Suffering and Survival in Prison
  • By: Alex South
  • Narrated by: Sofia Zervudachi
  • Length: 12 hrs and 18 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (97 ratings)

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Behind These Doors cover art

Behind These Doors

By: Alex South
Narrated by: Sofia Zervudachi
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Summary

A powerful and affecting look at life in prison

The men I have worked with and the staff I've worked alongside over the last ten years in prison have taught me strength, compassion, courage, and fundamentally, the need to talk, the need to share and the need to tell these stories. These are the stories of lives lived, lost and taken, behind walls so high we can pretend they hide another world entirely. But at what cost?

Behind These Doors is a provocative, insightful and illuminating interrogation of what it is to live and to work in the UK's most infamous prisons. The individuals Alex introduces us to are, for the most part, living on the margins of society and the impact of the cycles of violence that so often accompany those lives is clear to see. Alex takes us by the hand, behind the gates and through security into prison cells, to the shared kitchens, the prison library, down the corridors and into the 'seg' (segregation unit); we will meet men who will surprise and shock us in equal measure, as well as prison officers who struggle to contain the challenges the job presents.

This is a no-holds-barred depiction of life in prison and its many devastating and astonishing, and sometimes inspiring, consequences. As a woman in this environment, her perspective feels especially urgent.

©2023 Alex South (P)2023 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

Critic reviews

'This beautiful book really resonated for me as a true, compassionate and honest account of what it is to work in our prisons; and the massive political challenges that go with incarceration.' Dr. Gwen Adshead, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Devil You Know
'This is a beautifully written account about hope and optimism, of humanity, realism, resilience and the complexity of people - some of whom wear a uniform and others who don't. Oh and it's also an account that's personal, warm and inspiring and so perhaps you'll be surprised when I tell you it's a book about prison and the people who live and work there. I'm just sorry that not all Prison Officers are like Alex South.' Professor David Wilson
'I was completely gripped whilst reading it - it's such a powerful memoir and one that shines a light into a world most of the public rarely see, but need a greater understanding of if the system is to change for the better. A fascinating and heart-breaking insight into those who work in the prison system as well as those incarcerated within it.' Nikki Smith, author of The Beach Party

What listeners say about Behind These Doors

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    4 out of 5 stars

Good story but missed one main talking point

Another book NOT talking about the problem with Islamist extremism gangs that are running the wings!!!! This is a fact and that every book about prisons is not prepared to talk about or more importantly they aren’t allowed to. because I know for a fact it’s the biggest problem on wings.

And to say capital punishment isn’t needed, tell that to the families who have had their daughter or mother or wife raped or abused.

Some people don’t deserve to live.

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4 people found this helpful

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A Brilliant Book, Brilliantly Narated

There are some very rare books that you just know you're going to listen to a second time. This is one. Riveting, harrowing, desolate, and hopeful. The narration has a way of drawing you in just close enough for you to let your guard down, only for events to flip and hit you full square in solar plexus. But this is no cheap device it is just another day on shift in one of the toughest jobs imaginable.

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Honest account

I work in a prison, I’ve only been there 6 months but this was so relatable, really enjoyed the book gave me valuable insite to the job

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interesting insights into the screws

the negative impacts, the government being tight, always the same. cuts cuts cuts. its a wonder things go tits up

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Good true story read

Good book, interesting and eye opening. Show the true failure of our uk system, from all angles. Keeps you listening and I loved it. Well worth a listen.

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Brilliant look inside a broken system

I loved Alex's writing and her ability to tell a story. A great book looking inside the UK prison system

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  • 23-01-24

insightful and full of feeling

An interesting look at the career of a female prison officer working within male prisons. a wide range of experiences and different types of people featured which make it an intriguing listen throughout. The narration is top notch.

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A gripping true life read

A really true down to earth book about the ups and downs, the challenging and disheartening life of a prison officer. I thoroughly enjoyed being taken along for this traumatic and life on the edge job. Very well told, and a definite eye opener to the life of a prison officer.

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hard hitting insight into the prison service.

eye opening insight into the life of a female prison guard working in some of the worst prisons in the UK. hard-hitting open and honest account of working within some truly scary places where the biggest problem is keeping the rats out of the building along with the phones and drugs. the lengths people go to bring in contraband . a truly great listen and highly recommend.

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An eye opener

What a great listen. Alex takes you through her journey of her career in the prison service and details the contrast of highs and lows. I've completely changed my mindset on prison life, day to day challenges, fear, routines and absolute opportunism by the residents. You'll laugh, be shocked and be inspired by her determination to make a difference. I just loved it. Thank you to Alex and all prison workers, you're special folk and your undoubted sacrifices are appreciated...by me at least. I hope to never meet any of you at your work.

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