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The Prison Doctor

Women Inside
Narrated by: Sophie Aldred
Length: 6 hrs and 30 mins
4.7 out of 5 stars (63 ratings)

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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)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

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    4 out of 5 stars

A worthwhile listen, tragic, heartwarming, head in hands with despair for some of these poor woman.

I had really enjoyed listening to the first book by Dr Amanda Brown, so naturally was thrilled when I saw this was coming out. This story focuses much more on the just the woman’s stories, which although there are some heartwarming moments it really does make you feel so sad that some of these woman are in these situations, of course they have committed crimes, but the life’s they have lead, usually controlled, manipulated and abused by family or by partners and drug addiction usually follows as a way to escape the hell they are trapped in. The whole system is wrong .

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Easy listen ans insightful

Easy listen about inmates stories from confessions made to a prison doctor, interesting, worth a read.

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Loved it

I’m so impressed that someone has told the stories of so many who would’ve otherwise been lost. The story is excellent. The accents are sometimes a little questionable but it didn’t detract from the story.