Strangeways Unlocked, Neil Samworth’s follow-on from Strangeways: A Prison Officers Story, is another educational read if you can stomach the awful reality of the British Criminal Justice System. (Spoiler : it’s a mess.)
Mainly coming from ex-prisoners perspectives, or ‘customers’, as Sam prefers to call them, we hear from the people who got on the wrong side of the law and paid the price (or did they?) in the high-security HMP Manchester, aka, Strangeways.
As I said in my review for the first book, Yorkshireman Sam, tells it how it is. I’d like to think that I’m pretty clued up in Yorkshire-isms, it’s a language unto itself, at times. However, I got used to the way it was written pretty quickly. I do love an accent, me, so if you fancy yourself some true Brit-grit, grab a brew, read this book and…
Anyroad, (ha!) vicious and vile, brutally funny, yet oddly mesmerising, this isn’t your average non-fiction true crime read. Those of you that are aware of my reading tastes know that I’m not easily shocked, especially when it comes to what (fictional) humans are capable of, but seriously, this is something else. Why? Because the deeply sad and troubling things in this book are true.
And there’s the swearing, and I mean, all the sweary words, guys! This isn’t a book for everyone, but, if like me, you’re fascinated by crime, gang culture and the usual skullduggery that comes with it, you’ll fly through this one. It comes with all the feels! (Good and bad!)
This isn’t one for the faint of heart, subjects throughout include drug abuse, self-harm, murder, suicide, sexual assault, and no surprise – the impact it all has on the mental health of the prisoners, their loved ones, and of course the staff.
Sam left the prison service back in 2016 due to being diagnosed with PTSD, but has continued his mission to educate and try and remove the stigma from people who end up held at His Majesty’s Pleasure.
So if you ‘enjoy’ your true crime harsh and horrifying, I recommend picking this one up. Just don’t come back to me about the eye-socket incident, okay?! You’ve been warned.
It’s a solid 4 stars from me! 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Thanks very much Sam, I’m very grateful to you for sending me a signed copy.