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Summary

From the Sunday Times best-selling author Dr Amanda Brown.

Insights into the world of a prison doctor, this time taking us deeper into the walls of Bronzefield, the UK’s biggest women’s prison.

From the drug addicts who call Amanda ‘the mother I never had’ to the women who’ve pushed back at domestic abuse, to women close to release in their 70s, who just want to stay in the place that they’ve always known, these are stories that are heartbreaking, harrowing and heart-warming. Amanda listens, prescribes and does what she can. After all, she’s their doctor.

©2020 Dr Amanda Brown (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"Written with both humour and deep concern for the lives of her incarcerated patients. It’s a poignant, compassionate read, giving an insight into the complicated and damaged lives of some of the offenders...a thoroughly enlightening and engaging book." (Mail on Sunday)

"A fascinating, sometimes funny, often gruelling account of working behind bars." (Observer)

"All of the highs and lows of prison life, with heart-warming honesty and anecdotes to make your sides split and your jaw drop in equal measure.... Amanda has filled her book full of funny tales that both she and the inmates have had a good giggle at." (Sunday Express S Magazine)

What listeners say about The Prison Doctor

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There but by the grace of God....

As Amanda Brown says in this excellent follow-up to The Prison Doctor, and illustrates so powerfully with the anonymised stories of some of the female inmates she has treated, the lives of any one of us have the potential to take a wrong turn, resulting in incarceration. For many of the female residents - not prisoners - as she explains compassionately and compellingly, it is no surprise that they have ended up inside and, sadly, no surprise that so many return, often with near certainty.
There were two key take home messages for me. First, that for many of the patients she supports prison is a place of welcome safety, given the physical and mental abuse to which many of the women have been subjected in the outside world. Second, that the sentences received by many are simply far too short for them to receive effective support in helping them recover from substance abuse. An issue whose effects are exacerabted and multiplied by the lack of effective support and housing once released.
The power and strength of the book is that each chapter focuses on the situation and circumstances of one resident, ranging from a Romanian migrant duped in to prostitution by brutal pimps to a middle-class professional who snapped after years of coercive control and then found herself inside after stabbing her husband with a near-at-hand bread knife. Her story was very similar to that of a client when I was doing my articles, a delightful and very gentle lady whose life was turned upside down when, in self-defence, she picked up her husband's shotgun, left permanently loaded inside the kitchen door so he could take a pop at rabbits on their forest-gladed lawn, to avoid yet another beating. Unbeknown to her the safety latch was off and a split second later both their lives were irrevocably changed forever.
My one criticism of the book is Sophie Aldred's narration. Although very good for the most part, her delivery of Amanda Brown's praise for a resident's achievement is somewhat gushing. This is, however, a minor quibble for an otherwise riveting deeply disturbing, yet somehow life-affirming read. Life-affirming because one is full of respect and admiration for the work that Dr Brown and her colleagues do andfull of even greater admiration for the resilience, humanity and determination of the extraordinary residents she describes.
Don't get me wrong, this is not some soft, limp-wristed paean to prisoners - although it would've been better to acknowledge that there are clearly some real wrong'uns in the female prison population. It's a profoundly moving exposition of the particular challenges faced by many female inmates and a call for more considered,coherent support that enables fragile, shattered lives to be rebuilt.

2 people found this helpful

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Insightful but too much dialogue

I loved the first book of Prison Doctor but this one was a bit boring to be honest. Although it was insightful into women’s prisons and how some people in society live, there was far too much dialogue and the accents were too exaggerated and cringy. It would have been better if she didn’t put on all those cockney accents and just narrated it normally. Also I don’t know how she remembered so much dialogue as that seems impossible to me, but I found the dialogue too excessive for a book. I’m going to hope the sequel is better, the first book was much better than this one.

1 person found this helpful

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Sn unrealistic portrayal of reality at Bronzefield

This book paints a falsely over rosy picture of life in Bronzefield. There is an inconsistency, the Dr says she often hasn't time for the ten minute consultation, yet listening to the book, the consultations often seem longer contradicting herself.
If you want a more realistic account of Bronzefield and life on release, read Breakfast at Bronzefield by ex inmate Sophie Campbell. Prisoners are antagonised my officers. They are often deprived of medical care. Water supply is turned off in cells. Drugs are rife. The prisoners in the mental health are doped up. Rehabilitation is denied. On release prisoners can be recalled for breach of license if they cannot find somewhere to live. Many prisoners are released homeless. I won't give the book away. As for this one, the Doctor seems to talk often about how good the prisoners think she is. Prisoners who come in addicted to benzodiazepines are taken off cold turkey. This is dangerous, while prisoners are given drugs to prevent seizures, cold turkey benzodiazepines can result in psychosis, this book even one lady mentioned being blinded temporarily and was sectioned on release. They claim benzodiazepines are not allowed in prison, because of addiction, yet all drugs are easier to get hold of in prison. Psychosis is dangerous as people can do anything, putting themselves, each other, and officers at serious risk. I feel this book is a totally unrealistically rosy account of prison life.

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Stupid accents ruined it

Good stories, although there is no way she could remember such detailed conversations. But it was ruined by the ridiculous put on cockney accents, as though everyone in prison sounded like Nancy from Oliver Twist. So cringey.

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A book I didn’t want to end

Loved Dr Brown’s first book and this is equally excellent. Easy to listen to, heartwarming and relatable

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Fantastic insight

Loved the stories shared in this book, it really shows a new perspective on prison life and the issues we should be addressing in society.

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Wow

This book has totally changed my perspective of the prisoners who we see at A&E….so many sad stories …. Heartbreaking but with a twinkle of hope that kind empathetic souls like provide

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Sad and shocking stories

Another good read by Dr Amanda Brown. She has a way of telling some very emotional and interesting stories.

It must be a scary world behind bars for anyone. When you are a doctor that hears more than most though from the patients you are treating, life at times must become quite tough.

A gentle reminder why I never want to go to jail!

I would recommend but much like the first.

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Step away from the accents

My main issue with this audiobook is the narrator. Her voice is lovely for the passages of general narration, but it’s really off-putting when she tries to do the accents of the characters. They come out really patronising and stereotyped. They really distract me from listening to what the characters are saying when they are speaking in the voice of Farmer Giles, Up-The-Apple-And-Pears cheeky cockney or Boss Liverpudlian scally. The writer herself comes over quite arrogant in her writing style which is very much “how great am I?” I would’ve liked more about the characters and their journeys than about the doctor and how great she thinks she is. But strike-a-light Guv’nor it was okay and was useful for putting me to sleep.

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Great interesting stories

Narrator is great the voices really make this audio book and it is written so well. just really enjoyed it. you want Dr Brown to be your doctor she seems so good and non judgemental.