Latest Issue

The prisoner

The prisoner thought he would prove an excellent defence counsel in his own case. He had not bargained on prison justice

By Peter Wayne   February 1999

My bags were packed. George had been informed. In buoyant mood, with four other prisoners, I waited in the transfer cell to board the meatwagon which was to whisk me off (again!) to penal pastures new. In four hours I’d be sitting pretty in one of the cushiest nicks in England. In prison parlance, I’d “had a right result.” We heard the rattle of keys outside. “We’re off, lads. In-cell tellies, here we come.” But when the door opened, a long-faced screw stood staring me straight in the eye.”Wayne. Pick up your bags and get back to the draft.”


Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect