This storytelling project is not intended to minimise the offending of anyone we have profiled. The aim is to give a more complete picture and to humanise the crime and punishment debate. All of these stories are in the words of the people interviewed. In the editing process we have neither put words in people’s mouths, nor sanitised the stories. Often we selected one thread of a long interview to give the story some flow. Other aspects may be included as a follow up story. Not all of the stories are from people who have been inside; some are from people who work in reintegration and support, and a few work in prison.

The Howard League Humans of Our Prisons project is supported and maintained by Anglican Advocacy.

Simon

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“I ended up out at Rolleston Prison. Had a few hassles at first with one guy who wanted to beat me up, but then I got a job in the kitchen. When you have a job in the kitchen no one touches you because you have control of their food.

Irene

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It was death that broke the cycle. I went out and used drugs and got myself into a bit of trouble and then I had a heart attack and died one day at my brother’s. He did CPR on me for twenty-seven minutes. And I woke up in hospital the next day without a brain injury. My children were at the end of my bed that day and I knew – I just knew – that this was not how I should love them back.

Richard

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I enjoyed school, but I wanted to get out and work. That was at the age of 17. Things started to go haywire, and I ended up on the wrong side of the law. I was in and out of prison, in and out of court.

Norman

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I don’t know what prompted me to think “grab some books to keep your mind engaged,” but that’s what I started doing. I asked the officers if i could get some books from the library and I started to reading. It was probably the thing that saved my sanity to be honest. Once I got my school cert I had this sort of epiphany: “My mum fucking lied to me…

Kate

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“My husband and I are completely opposite. He’s challenged me in so many ways to turn my life around. If not for him, there’s a very real chance I could have been in prison as opposed to helping prisoners, which is an absolute asset to my job, because I know what it’s like to have addiction issues and stuff like that…

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