INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVE: How I Survived In One of Britain's Toughest Prisons: Part One


For the first time ever on my true crime blog, I'm bringing you a fascinating and explosive interview (in two parts) with a man who's been kind enough to share with me the real story and experience of what it's like to be locked up in one of Britain's toughest prisons. 

No question was off the table and he never held anything back for which I'm totally grateful as it gives us a real insight to life behind bars. Part of the deal to get this exclusive interview involved me keeping some names, locations and dates confidential but everything else is 100% for real.

I thoroughly enjoyed this interview and it was a real eye-opener and a real peek behind the scenes. I hope you too, find it as fascinating as I have. I hope to do more interviews in 2023 so watch this space. 

So let's get to it....

We'll begin by going back briefly to your background story, how you ended up in prison, was it your first time there and what was the crime that you were incarcerated for?

I grew up on a council estate and my family never had much money. I started working at an early age but never made enough money to really be comfortable. I left home as a teenager and did some odd jobs here and there but I was always treated like s**t in those jobs no matter how hard I worked. I'm quite an intelligent guy and I did attend college and university but because of financial reasons, I had to drop out. In the UK you're set up to fail if you're working class. Long story short, I managed to get a place with my wife but money was tight and a friend of mine was in the same situation so we came up with a plan to go into business together, when that didn't work out & we were on the verge of eviction, I attempted to rob a shop. I never harmed anyone and that wasn't my plan anyway, I just wanted to get some money to get us out of the hole that we were in. Yes, it was my first time in prison.

How long were you in prison for?

Because I had a knife & had stolen some items, I was given 5 years but served half of that. 

What was your cell like? Did you have to share with someone?

I spent half the time having to share with a cell mate and the other half on my own. The prison that I was in was a dump. It was freezing cold, you had two buckets, one for cleaning and the other for a toilet. For hot water you could buy a flask of water from the canteen. There were different wings in the prison, some were nicer than others, we were in the sh**est part of the prison even though we were in for petty crime. The nonces (sex offenders) and some of the lifers had better conditions (flushing toilets, warmer cells etc). Whenever prison inspections took place they would take officials to the better part of the prison to make it look like all prisoners were being treated fair in decent conditions. 

What was the process/procedure from courthouse to prison cell?

I committed my crime in the October and was arrested that same night. When I was finally allowed home I knew that I would be sent down for it (they put you away for anything in the UK except it seems that nonces get away with far too much). It wasn't until March when I had to finally appear at court, I'd seen people before me who were career criminals and had done far worse crimes and had been sent home so I thought that all I would get was a slap on the back of the wrist and a fine. I'd made a terrible mistake, a one-off mistake which I was never going to make again and I expressed this wholeheartedly. They didn't care, the Judge threw the book at me and gave me 5 years, they called it 'Armed Robbery'. I was handcuffed and taken to a police van, they don't tell you where you're going. The drive to the prison seemed to take forever. When I arrived I had to be searched and I mean....searched! I was strip searched, finger prints scanned and details taken along with mug shot. I was then placed in an isolation cell for 24 hours (they do this incase you're suicidal). The next day I was taken to my wing and it is like it's shown in the movies. Everyone, including the screws (guards) are sizing you up. I was given a breakfast pack which contained a small box of cheap cereal & a carton of carnation milk. I was wearing prison issue clothes and was under the impression that they would be giving me my bag (I took a small bag of clothes and toiletries to the court with me just incase) but they never did. 

How did you feel when the sentence was announced in court?

People have asked me this before and in all honesty, I just remember being so angry with myself. I was angry about what I had done, that I had gotten myself into that position. I was in a state of shock but soon went into survival mode. It was important not to show any sign of weakness because the screws and other prisoners would pick up on that straight away. 

What was a typical day like in prison?

They'd wake you up early in the morning and you'd have your breakfast, either having the crap breakfast pack (cheap cereal with carnation milk) or something from the canteen if you could afford it. A lot of us were encouraged to do jobs in the prison to pass time and to make a bit of money so that we could pay for phonecalls and food from the canteen. I started working in the prison chapel organising bibles and cleaning. I also took a second job in the library but that didn't last because of an incident. At night they'd turn all the lights off but it was hard getting to sleep at times, it was freezing, the blanket that I had was that itchy material. The screws would also plays head games shining torches into the cells and banging on the doors and rails at all hours of the night and morning. 

What was the incident in the library?

A nonce (paedophile) came in looking for a book on children's anatomy so I shoved his head into some metal bars. He survived but had to be taken to hospital and I got removed from the library job and had my prison visits cancelled for a week. 

What was the reaction from others in the prison?

It actually made me popular with the other guys and the screws. Some of the screws inside have 'arrangements' with some of the prisoners.

What do you mean 'arrangements'? 

If you do certain favours for them, they will do favours for you. Some will turn a blind eye to certain things like mobile phones. For me, I'm a big guy so I wanted food from the canteen. The screw had an arrangement with one of the prisoners who worked in the kitchen so if a screw wanted a nonce sorted out or frightened, they'd tell me, I'd scare the nonce and I would get extra food and phone privileges. It happens all the time, that's why you saw all of those prison videos on TikTok, the screws are allowing certain prisoners to have phones etc. 

I suppose you must have seen regular fights in there too? 

All the time, almost daily! A lot of 'suicides' too. It got to the point where you were so used to seeing the screws bring out bodies.  They would wheel one right past you and you wouldn't even bat an eyelid. A lot of shady s**t went on but you kept your head down and mouth shut. 

Continued in part two

[Thank you for checking out part one of this interview. If you have any questions you would like me to ask in a future post or you would like to take part in an interview with me (must be true crime related) please get in contact at - I keep everything in confidence, no names or private details are shared publicly. If you enjoy my weekly posts, please consider donating at: My PayPal, I hope to see you on my Socials too x]

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