In the mid 1980s Erwin James was sentenced to life imprisonment. Over recent years, he has written powerfully about prison life for the Guardian. In his columns, James has written candidly about learning the who, what, why and when of the prison world.
He describes the struggle to keep sane; the dynamics of paranoia and solidarity; and the commitment that it takes to prepare for life outside. Along the way, James introduces us to other prisoners. There is Rinty, the big Dundonian and enthusiastic fan of 'Antiques Roadshow'; Cody, the elderly former sergeant who still protests his innocence after 24 years; and Felix the Gambler - serial schemer and sometime Buddhist. It is through their stories, told with humour and warmth, that James reveals the reality of prison life.
A Life Inside does not glorify wrongdoing, nor does it seek to justify the crimes of its author or any other prisoners. Rather, it is a portrayal of life behind Britain's prison walls that no one who reads it will readily forget.