While I'm all in favour of raising public awareness of conditions and procedures inside prisons (which is the main reason I comment on this Blog), it's pretty astonishing that former minister Dennis MacShane is going to rush into print on the basis of six weeks in the slammer. At least two of the other ex-politicians who have written prison memoirs did a little bit longer behind bars. Jonathan Aitken served seven months (of an 18-month sentence), while Archer did a rather longer stretch of two years (of a four year term).
In most establishments, Mr MacShane would have barely completed induction... and it often takes longer than a month to even get the first face-to-face meeting with a supervisor from the Offender Management Unit (OMU). This means that he will have had the merest fraction of the full prison experience, let alone dealing with the stress of regular inter-prison transfers, trying to get work or education placements, or - for many prisoners - the whole, convoluted and opaque parole process.
At least let's hope Mr MacShane's weighty contribution to the ever-expanding shelf of prison memoirs won't be a "poor me" whinge that trivialises one of the most traumatic experiences a person in Britain can live through and simply does disservice to the movement for radical prison reform.