Better to be Feared: Jail Life in the Raw

Random House
6
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Better To Be Feared is the true story of a 48-year-old businessman who, having pled guilty to perpetrating a fraud involving a fake business contract, was plunged into the dark world of life inside some of Britain's hardest jails.

Never having had any contact with criminal justice previously, Sean Bridges' adjustment to life behind bars raised many questions and forced him to confront the daily round of violence and drugs abuse within these maximum-security prisons. His life inside exploded when he witnessed another con being badly beaten by three fellow prisoners. He planned revenge and exacted it in spectacular fashion. Bridges became a problem by challenging the inadequacies of an antiquated system which effectively feeds itself - never to be short of repeat customers.

This is not the story of another white-collar criminal's time inside. It is a shocking personal account of the reasons why the criminal justice system fails society today. That system has changed Sean Bridges forever.

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About the author

Sean Bridges is a former businessman who was imprisoned for four years for fraud and served time in some of Britain's toughest jails. An accomplished rugby player, Bridges made his business name in the commercial side of professional sport before his imprisonment. He is married with two grown-up daughters.
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3.5
6 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Random House
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Published on
Aug 12, 2011
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Pages
240
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ISBN
9781780573007
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / General
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Social Science / Criminology
Social Science / Penology
True Crime / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The Lone Brit on 13 is a gripping true story of violence, degradation and adventure penned in the confines of a grim Malaga prison cell. Imprisoned for drug-smuggling, the lone Brit on Wing 13, Chance, reveals the horrors he experienced among cut-throat villains and screws in the netherworld of the Spanish prison system.Chance takes to writing in his dank prison cell in an attempt to escape his surroundings and recalls various episodes in his life: his time serving as a soldier in Thailand and Malaysia; his involvement with the 3 Para snatch-squad in the 1970s Belfast; and his subsequent descent into drug dealing and trafficking, which culminated in a high-speed boat chase and his imprisonment in a top-security Spanish prison. While inside, Chance fought his way to the surface of a cesspool of iniquitous scumbags using his fists: the only effective means of being understood in an environment of desecrated morality and non-existent integrity. With predators lurking everywhere, Chance had to be constantly on guard and in order to survive he had to be mentally prepared to inflict the necessary violent retribution on any would-be attacker or racist thug. As the sole British inmate, Chance was a prime target for the intimidating Spanish hardmen who thrived on cruelty and treachery. But his martial arts skills and Samurai philosophy proved to be more than a match for the aggressors. Once a respected and successful businessman admired by his peers - he had operated his own martial arts business in Spain before being jailed - Chance took one wrong turn in life and lost everything except the love and support of his loyal wife.
*Silver Medal, 2015 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards, Best New Voice*

*Finalist, Memoir, 2015 Maine Literary Award*

In this gripping nonfiction account, Robert Reilly provides a look inside America’s prison system unlike any other, and the way that it affects not only the prisoners themselves but also the corrections officers and their families.

After 13 years of struggling in the music business, Robert Reilly found himself broke and on the edge of despair. The specter of success in the music business had become a monster about to ruin his family life. Something had to change, or something was going to break beyond repair.  

A chance conversation with a neighbor led him to apply, somewhat half-heartedly, for a job at the county prison. Although he hated the thought of a “real job,” a regular salary of $40,000 with benefits, and paid time off seemed like a small fortune. “Amazingly, I somehow got hired. So, in an effort to do the right thing and put my family first, I left the madness of the music business and entered the insanity of the U.S. prison system.”

Robert Reilly served a seven-year term as a prison guard in Pennsylvania and Maine. Entering America’s industrial prison system in search of a way to support his young family, the struggling musician found himself in a looking-glass world where, often, only the uniforms distinguished guards from prisoners.  Life in Prison chronicles the horrors of a place where justice is arbitrary, outcomes are preordained, and the private sector makes big money while the public looks away.  This is Reilly’s story of doing time.

To call the experience sobering would be the ultimate understatement: “As time crawls by, I become jealous of the inmates leaving the prison. I start to slip; I start to feel like I’m losing my faith. Any trace of innocence that I thought I still had starts to evaporate. I begin to feel trapped, imprisoned, locked in a dark heartbreaking world, just like an inmate.”

This is a true story of survival in what was arguably the most sinister prison in Europe: the Carabanchel. Christopher Chance was the last Brit to be shackled and hauled out of that infamous Spanish hellhole before it closed its gates on decades of disgraceful cruelty. Along with the rest of the remaining inmates, he was transferred to another prison when the authorities slid back the bolts for the last time.

Chance's story begins on the day he entered the jail and encountered the innate racism of the prison staff and inmates. Intimidation and constant bullying by Spanish gypsies, gangsters and heroin dealers forced 'Chancer' to become ultra-violent in his quest to live unmolested during his stay, while psychotic prison officers peddled booze and drugs, and performed barbaric acts on inmates.

In Carabanchel, Chance tells how he forged a band of international brothers from the chaotic human rubble in order to survive. Men from all around the world joined forces against their common aggressors, the Spanish inmates. Chancer's gang became invincible in this cauldron of hate and fear; their numbers were few but their strength lay in the loyalty and respect they had for each other, combined with their courage and fighting skills. Chance highlights the fact that much international crime is planned in prison and strong business friendships are forged which last for years.

This harrowing tale is prison writing in the raw. The action remains unremittingly confined to the brutal, ugly and corrupt environment of the Carabanchel and rubs the noses of the politically correct brigade in the filth of the real world.

“A devastating and infuriating book, more astonishing than any legal thriller by John Grisham” (The New York Times) about a young father who spent twenty-five years in prison for a crime he did not commit…and his eventual exoneration and return to life as a free man.

On August 13, 1986, just one day after his thirty-second birthday, Michael Morton went to work at his usual time. By the end of the day, his wife Christine had been savagely bludgeoned to death in the couple’s bed—and the Williamson County Sherriff’s office in Texas wasted no time in pinning her murder on Michael, despite an absolute lack of physical evidence. Michael was swiftly sentenced to life in prison for a crime he had not committed. He mourned his wife from a prison cell. He lost all contact with their son. Life, as he knew it, was over.

Drawing on his recollections, court transcripts, and more than 1,000 pages of personal journals he wrote in prison, Michael recounts the hidden police reports about an unidentified van parked near his house that were never pursued; the bandana with the killer’s DNA on it, that was never introduced in court; the call from a neighboring county reporting the attempted use of his wife’s credit card, which was never followed up on; and ultimately, how he battled his way through the darkness to become a free man once again.

“Even for readers who may feel practically jaded about stories of injustice in Texas—even those who followed this case closely in the press—could do themselves a favor by picking up Michael Morton’s new memoir…It is extremely well-written [and] insightful” (The Austin Chronicle). Getting Life is an extraordinary story of unfathomable tragedy, grave injustice, and the strength and courage it takes to find forgiveness.
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