For many months now, I have impatiently anticipated writing this: the last thousand words of my sentence. The time has finally come to reflect on the past 3,172 days, served under five home secretaries, in 12 different prisons. It seems an eternity since it first began, back in 1988, when the prison population stood at a mere 48,000 (it’s now more than 62,000) and Margaret Thatcher still lived in Downing Street.
The Flying Squad arrested me at gunpoint for a series of robberies on a string of bank and building societies. I had committed these during a summer of madness,…
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