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The University of Southampton
Institute of Criminal Justice Research

The Truth about Prison: Inside and Out Event

15 May 2013
Highfield Campus, University of Southampton

For more information regarding this event, please email Professor Jenny Fleming at .

Event details

A prison is as valuable to society as a hospital or a school and should be afforded the same respect if we want people to come out better than they were when they went in. But its not just what happens inside prison that counts. What happens afterwards is just as important.

"I walked out of the prison gate for the last time on the brightest, sunniest August day in 2004, exactly 20 years after I had been taken into custody. The euphoria was overwhelming. For two incredible weeks it felt as if I was walking on air. Then, out of nowhere, I was hit by an almighty sense of despair and emptiness. It did not seem to matter that I was free, fit and healthy and was surrounded by an abundance of opportunities. Despite having thought about it often during the months leading up to it, planning and preparing carefully for it, there was something so odd about the reality of it."

Speaker information: Erwin James

Erwin James talks about his life inside and the difficulties of facing the outside after twenty years.

Erwin James served 20 years of a life sentence before his release in August 2004. In prison he took a degree course with the Open University, majoring in history, and graduated in 1994. His first article for a national newspaper, the Independent, appeared in 1994. He won first prize in the annual Koestler awards for prose in 1995. His first article in the Guardian appeared in 1998 and he began writing a regular column, entitled A Life
Inside, in The Guardian in 2000. A collection of his columns, A Life Inside, a Prisoner's Notebook, was published in 2003. A follow-up, The Home Stretch, From Prison to Parole, was published in April 2005.

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