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Summary

The Fascinating Sunday Times Top 10 Best Seller

Assaults. Riots. Cell fires. Medical emergencies. Understaffed wings. Suicides. Hooch. Weapons. It's all in a week's work at HMP Parkhurst.

After 28 years working as a prison officer, with 22 years at HMP Parkhurst, once one of Britain's most high security prisons, David Berridge has had to deal with it all: serial killers and gangsters, terrorists and sex offenders, psychopaths and addicts. Inside Parkhurst is his raw, uncompromising look at what really goes on behind the massive walls and menacing gates.

Thrown in at the deep end, David quickly had to work out how to deal with the most cunning and volatile of prisoners, and learn how to avoid their many scams. He has been assaulted and abused; he has tackled cell fires and attempted suicides, riots and dirty protests; he has helped to foil escaped plans, talked inmates down from rooftop protests, witnessed prisoners setting fire to themselves, and prevented prisoners from attempting to murder other prisoners. And now he takes us inside this secret world for the first time.

With this searingly honest account, he guides us around the wings, the segregation unit, the hospital and the exercise yard, and gives vivid portraits of the drug-taking, the hooch-making, the constant and irrepressible violence and the extraordinary lengths our prison officers go to everyday. Divided into three parts - the first from David's early years on the wings, the second the middle of his career and the third his disillusioned later years - David will take listeners into the heart of life inside and shine a light on the escalating violence and the impact the government cuts are having on the wings.

Both horrifying and hilarious, David's diaries are guaranteed to shock and entertain in equal measure.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2020 David Berridge (P)2020 Orion Publishing Group

What listeners say about Inside Parkhurst

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Accent was a major issue...

I had absolutely no issue with the book.
It was insightful and interesting (if a tad repetitive in parts....as if the author had forgotten stuff he'd already told you etc)
However the major issue for me was the narration.
Maybe David John was chosen to narrate this book as the author liked his voice or perhaps that's what the author sounded like but this strong west country accent was horrendeous and I almost gave up after ten minutes of listening.
I would avoid any books in future with this narrator reading them.

3 people found this helpful

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Disappointed

I’ve had this book in my wish list for months. Having read strangeways by Neil Samworth I think I was expecting too much.
There’s only so many times you can hear blood referred to as ‘claret’ before it gets old.

Lots of tales about how prison officers exert their powers on the vulnerable ‘by accident’. On the whole I didn’t like the tone of it. How are we supposed to rehabilitate those in our prisons when the people in charge can’t behave like role models.

Prison is a punishment, but it’s also an opportunity to interrupt intergenerational cycles of abuse, violence and crime. Having heard first hand how some prisoners are treated, I cant bring myself to agree with people in power perpetuating the treatment most of these prisoners have known their whole lives. We could learn a lot from our Scandinavian peers about how to rehabilitate criminals - sadly all that’s described within these pages is abuse and gaslighting, the prison service and prisoners alike are probably grateful this generation of people are off to retire. Refund requested.

3 people found this helpful

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2 day listen

Completed this in 2 days. Absolutely wicked book to listen to, I never read books and this has made me question why I don’t read more often. I live on the Isle of Wight and often pass the prison, just praying they don’t escape lol

2 people found this helpful

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Refreshingly Honest!

Loved it!
At last someone who recognises that we have gon soft on crime and is not afraid to call a spade a spade!

1 person found this helpful

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really struggling with this

this is not the gritty insight I was expecting. the chip queue drama is about the most interesting point and I'm doubtful I'm ever going to finish this

1 person found this helpful

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life in the prison service

This book is the best book I've read on life in prison written by members of staff. I have read many books on the subject but none are as graphic and as gripping as this book. The book follows the author through the beginning of his prison service until the end of his career.

This book is not for the fainthearted there are areas of this book that literally leave you speechless, but also there is great humour in what must be a very difficult dark job. The book basically is the author's story with a lot of anecdotes about his prison career, sometimes also gripped that I wanted to know more about particular story or experience that the author had conveyed but before I knew it he was onto the next disturbing adventure/chapter.

The narration is excellent and sets the right tone of grit and drama throughout the book. There is a handy glossary at the back of the book as there are a lot of acronyms which you will need to get your head round but even if you don't look at the glossary this does not detract from the story in anyway.

If you like books on prison this book is for you, if you think you know what goes on inside a prison then this book will certainly open your eyes!
One of the more poignant areas of the book is towards the end of the author's career he struggles with the changing ethos of prison as it becomes less about punishment and more about reforming.

I really love this book and I will keep in my library although it is not a book would automatically reread but I have to say this book is superb!

1 person found this helpful

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Not for me

A very slow and boring book. The narration didn’t seem natural. Oh well live and learn

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Great story, bad delivery.

Really interesting book, but the narration was very slow, so I would loose concentration.

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Great insight

I really enjoyed listening to this book. The narrator was fantastic.
It gave a great insight into what prison officer life was once like, and it is easy to see how the prison system has became a shambles.
I would be nice if this book made those making the decisions actually take note, and see where they have done wrong, but I won't hold my breath.

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A very realistic and un exaggerated book.

I am retired nearly 15 years and this book brought on the PTSD I had not realised I have. I know there is no way I could work in a prison today, and feel sorry for new recruits who are like lambs to the slaughter

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  • Terence
  • 31-08-21

Unbelievably Bad & Utterly Boring

If your idea of fun is listening to your grandfather regale you with stories about his brilliance, and the inferiority and incompetence of the rest of the world, this one's for you.

1 person found this helpful