Try an audiobook on us

Strangeways

A Prison Officer's Story
Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble
Length: 8 hrs and 41 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (415 ratings)
£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

Summary

A jaw-dropping account of life as a prison officer in one of the country's most notorious jails. 

Neil ‘Sam’ Samworth spent 11 years working as a prison officer in HMP Manchester, aka Strangeways. A tough Yorkshireman with a soft heart, Sam had to deal with it all - gangsters and gangbangers, terrorists and psychopaths, addicts and the mentally ill. Men who should not be locked up and men who should never be let out. 

Strangeways is a shocking and at times darkly funny account of life in a high-security prison. Sam tackles cell fires and self-harmers and goes head to head with some of the most dangerous men in the country. He averts a Christmas Day riot after turkey is taken off the menu and replaced by fish curry and stands up to officers who abuse their position. He describes being attacked by prisoners and reveals the problems caused by radicalisation and the drugs flooding our prisons. 

As staffing cuts saw Britain’s prison system descend into crisis, the stress of the job - the suicides, the inhumanity of the system and one assault too many - left Sam suffering from PTSD. This raw, searingly honest memoir is a testament to the men and women of the prison service and the incredibly difficult job we ask them to do.

©2018 Neil Samworth (P)2018 W. F. Howes Ltd

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    274
  • 4 Stars
    97
  • 3 Stars
    33
  • 2 Stars
    8
  • 1 Stars
    3

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    272
  • 4 Stars
    70
  • 3 Stars
    29
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    3

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    248
  • 4 Stars
    91
  • 3 Stars
    30
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    5
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The Honest and Brutal Truth. Loved It...

I enjoyed this book so much I have to give it a 10 out of 10.
As a person who previously only had the black and white picture of prison life as given in the official line and dodgy press coverage, this book opened my eyes and heart to the full colour picture of the pressures and dangers that prison staff have to deal with every day while feeling undervalued.
The content was so well balanced, brutal, heart breaking and so honest that it hurt some times, but then it also made me smile a lot too. I am dismayed, distressed and angered at some of the revelations within this book. The story that unfolded was real, sharp and at times also heartwarming. All my emotions were heightened. I will be listening to it again, and recommending it to all.
I would like to thank Neil Samworth for his honesty, bravery, and for writing such a valuable piece of work...

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant and enlightening

Good read brought back many memories both happy and sad of my time as an OSG at Manchester prison and later as a member of the I MB at Forest Bank
The writer displays a compassionate, firm and fairDescription of his past vocation

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Good insight

An informative insight into prison culture. Whether you sympathise or empathise with the characters is up to you and your politics.
Are prisons tough enough on offenders or are they too soft and easy going on inmates. Is punishment properly dealt with from a crime victim's point of view. I learned a lot from this book. I'll say no more.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

A prison Officers Story

this book is utter fantasy. I am a Principal Officer (Health Care) retired. It is a man who knows nothing of the system seems to think he knows it all and yet did not last long. his story telling is just that and seems to think he was the man to go to to tell it as it is. because he says I'm a Yorkshire man. my advice do not waste your money.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Eye-opening

A riveting account of life as a prison officer. well written and well read, with occasional touches of humour in what is very gritty story. It has enlightened me on the prison service. Being a wimp, I found the section on prisoners who self-harm a bit difficult, but it is important to hear it.

I found suggestions on how to improve the prison service particularly interesting. it was also nice to hear the author's actual voice at the beginning and at the end of the book.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

100% Solid

This is real. The total reverse of what the media tell us about prison. Very well narrated.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great story, well worth a listen.

When it started and the author began reading, I thought god this is going to be a train wreck. Accent aside, he really isn't a book narrator. When the proper narrator took over I breathed a sigh of relief.
It's a good chronicle of Sam's life as a screw and how it ultimately affected him and his family.
My only criticism of the narrator is the lack of a pause between the last sentence and introducing the next chapter.

Well worth a listen or a read.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent!

An eye opening experience. It should be made into a TV Series! More people should be aware of what's going on.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Like a chat with an uncle.

Interesting and honest, not too preachy. Highlights some of the conditions that some people have to work under.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Gave up half way through

Found the story surprisingly uninteresting and the writer a bit of a know it all. Exchanged book on audible no problem though.