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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

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  • Overall
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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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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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

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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.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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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.

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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

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A very enjoyable book

I really enjoyed listening to this very excellent account of what it is like to be a prison officer. Mr Samworth deserves great praise for this very real account of life behind bars, with stark realism, and also quite a bit if humour along the way, very very good !

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    5 out of 5 stars

I would make this book mandatory reading!

This book should be made mandatory reading for all MP's and all Management within the prison system. It's compassionate, without thrills, and pulls no punches. The author is a survivor and this honest piece of work, is a true credit to him.
For this society's sake, I hope his recommendations are listened to.

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great listen

great book and great story! good insight and heart touching story. Top man and top book

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Great Listen

Never been in Prison. Fingers crossed never will. Great insight into what actually happens / relationships. Plus a mans life

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Amazing!

Amazing from start to finish!! Listened to it all within 2 days as I couldn’t stop!!