Jeffrey Archer's final volume in his trilogy of prison diaries covers the period of his transfer from a medium security prison, HMP Wayland, to his eventual release on parole in July 2003. It includes a shocking account of the traumatic time he spent in the notorious Lincoln jail and the events that led to his incarceration there, and also shines a harsh light on a system that is close to its breaking point.
Told with humor, compassion and honesty, the diary closes with a thought-provoking manifesto that should be applauded by reform advocates and the prison population alike.
In 2001, bestselling novelist Archer (Sons of Fortune; etc.) was sentenced to four years' imprisonment for perjury. Volume one of his diaries detailed his first 22 days at a facility for violent offenders; volume two described his move to a place mostly populated by drug offenders and armed robbers. Volume three opens on Day 89, as Archer arrives at North Sea Camp, an "open" prison for well-behaved lifers and convicts nearing parole. As hospital orderly, Archer has certain perks a private room with bath and a full work schedule, essential for staving off prison's big challenge: boredom. Being a writer helps; he fills the hours writing his diary and interviewing fellow inmates. There's a whole lot of tedious "what I ate for breakfast"-type entries which make a strong case for how dull prison life really is. There's no discussion anywhere of Archer's crime and little talk of British Conservative politics; the focus stays on daily prison life. Archer's fiction fans will read this volume just to see him home free; for prison reform advocates, the entire series may open doors to Archer's other work.