Jim Dawkins left home at the age of sixteen to pursue his dream of joining the army, and subsequently served with the Royal Green Jackets, including tours of Canada and Northern Ireland. During that time he learnt many important lessons in the ‘University of Life’ that would serve him well in the future, such as discipline, respect, pride and honour, but which, at the same time, would lead to insufferable stress as he constantly battled with his conscience and struggled to swim against the tide. Once back in Civvy Street, and with a new house and a baby to support, Jim decided to join the Prison Service. But what faced him in this new career, which centred on Wandsworth, Wormwood Scrubs and Belmarsh prisons, shocked him to the core. For this ex-squaddie, who believed in establishing good working relationships with inmates, including notorious long-termer, Charles Bronson, the cancerous environment of staff bully-boy tactics and prisoner victimization was sickening. Jim tells his story, which, although peppered with humorous anecdotes of often lager-induced incidents from both his army and prison days, bears witness to the stark reality of what actually goes on behind prison doors, and exposes both the glaring flaws in the prison system and the atrocities perpetrated in the name of justice, which ultimately forced his decision to leave the Prison Service seven years later.
Keywords: bronson, criminal, luton, bouncer, bodyguard, mad, fitness, prison, nightclub, respect, respected, prisoner, kidnap, hostage, wormwood, belmarsh