Chris Atkins was sentenced to five years in prison for fraud and tax evasion. He’s not the stereotypical prisoner we’re used to hearing about – he doesn’t do drugs, in fact he doesn’t even smoke, he’s middle class and got a degree at Oxford – and as a way of coping with prison life he writes down a little about each day.
His diary of life inside Wandsworth is both fascinating and horrifying and makes for compelling reading. There are ways of climbing the hierarchy system and being an educated man, Chris is able to get close to the top. This enables him to avoid twenty-three hour ‘bang up’ like most of the other prisoners and have a few comforts like a duvet, his own clothes, a kettle and use of the library.
Chris has written an honest account of his time in Wandsworth, sometimes negative about the system, often positive about his outlook. He doesn’t make excuses for his wrong-doing and we see the raw emotion of losing his family, especially his young son. It’s well executed, a real eye-opener, and I found it very difficult to put down.