An ex-prisoner of HMP Wandsworth has published the diary he kept while in prison to expose what he claims life is really like on the inside.
The ‘Secret Prisoner’ was a South West London Category B jail for fraud. He says he witnessed horrendous living conditions, including sex attacks and rapes of inmates and the inability to get toilet paper.
The fraudster-turned-author claims he wanted to show “people who may think jail is a free vacation” the true horrors behind bars that has left him suffering with PTSD.
Speaking to the Central Recorder, the anonymous ex-convict claimed: “I was released last year. It’s taken this long to get over the PTSD of prison, back on my feet and get this diary in a readable presentable manner to stand up as a ‘book’.
“I’ve seen scenes such as potting (prisoners chucking buckets of poo over officers), spice attacks, violence, self-harming, drug misuse.
“When you’re not used to this world is a shock to the system, you then become numb to it when someone’s stood outside your cell threatening to jump or yet another stabbing… that shouldn’t be normal but you have to switch off.
“It definitely catches up with you once it’s all over, sometimes I sit and think how did I survive that unscathed? Things will trigger memories like seeing a white van that looks like a sweatbox, a whistle reminds me of when it’s all kicking off and the officers need help or jingling keys like an officer just about to walk in your cell.”
He claimed the joke of “It is important to remember that “don’t drop the soap” should not be used in jail.
“The stereotypes from what the showers are like, the old saying don’t drop the soap was ringing in my ears as I dreading my first experience of going in the showers, meeting my first cellmates and getting used to their habits,” he added.
“The poor conditions and trying to get hold of even the most basic of items like toilet roll was like trying to find rocking horse poop.
“It was much easier to get a phone in prison than it was to get paracetamol for headaches.
“We shared the landing with pigeons, the basement where we got our food with cockroaches and mice and to have to get used to doing your toilet business in front of another man in the cell takes some getting used to.
“I hate the saying prisons are like a holiday camp. Try living in your bathroom with a packet of noodles to eat, with another man, in the middle of summer and the window doesn’t open and you’ve both got a bad stomach from the out of date food last night, one toilet to share – it’s not the holiday camp I want to visit that’s for sure.”
So far the book, which was released earlier this month titled The Secret Prisoner: Diary Of A Prisoner has been well received, reaching 4.5 stars on Amazon.
One reviewer said: “A very real insight into the UK prison system and everyday prison life. It’s gritty and very revealing to anyone who’s interested in prisons and prisoners lives.”
Another added: “This is a frank and honest book about the obstacles and challenges this author experienced in prison.”
However, HMP Wandsworth has denied the allegations.
A Prison Service spokesperson said: “We do not recognise these anonymous claims.”
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