Friday, 4 August 2017

The Last Post…

Dear readers,

This will be my final post on this blog. In the three years since I started Prison UK: An Insider’s View it has had a global audience that I could never had anticipated when I tentatively started writing on prison issues. I have enjoyed sharing my thoughts and experiences about our prison system, as well as my views on what needs to be done to address the crisis.

Prison UK started its life as a more permanent record of my comments on prison issues that first appeared on The Guardian’s online pages. These attracted interest and I felt that there was a genuine curiosity among many members of the public about what goes on inside our prisons.

It also became clear that there wasn’t much first-hand information available to people who might be facing a custodial sentence. Family members and friends of prisoners also wanted to ask questions or to gain an insight into the lives that their loved ones might be experiencing behind bars. I did my best to fill in some of the gaps, as well as sharing my personal experiences.

The blog also attracted many hundreds of comments and questions, which I – and others – tried to address. I also learned a great deal from many of these contributors who wanted to share their prison experiences, either as a prisoner or as a family member or as a member of staff. We exchanged many ideas on a wide range of subjects and I would like to thank you all for your contributions.

As some of you may be aware other events have recently overshadowed me and my work, so I have decided to cease blogging on this site. I shall also be withdrawing for any further involvement in prison issues, including comments to the media. My focus in future will be on my family and on pursuing my appeal against conviction so that I can finally clear my name.

As I said recently to one well-wisher it does feel that I’m finally being released from prison myself. I’ve lived and breathed prison issues since 2012, including standing up for other prisoners when I was still inside. As I’ve made clear in earlier posts this advocacy did not make me popular with the prison authorities.

I have decided to leave the posts up as a historical record of what I hope has been a worthwhile project. However, new comments will not be posted or replied to. I am very definitely moving on.


  1. Very sad news indeed. I, and I'm sure many others, have enjoyed your posts. All insightful, entertaining and informative. All the very best with whatever the future holds for you. I can't thank you enough for the work you have done.

  2. You should return to twitter.

  3. @Prison_Diaries is a twerp. Kate

  4. Alex, I wish you all the best. I am so sorry to see this brought to a close. You did more to enhance public understanding of imprisonment in the UK than anyone else I know. An erudite blog with clear writing that conveyed complexity, many owe you a debt of gratitude. I learned so much from reading you that it deeply saddens me to learn you will no longer be blogging. But life has other things you must attend to.

  5. Please return to twitter.

  6. I've only just discovered this blog, and am upset to read this! From what I've read so far its erudite, insightful and really interesting. I've just started a job in a well known prison (in healthcare) and would have loved to chatted to you and commented. I wish you well in whatever you do! There is so much that should be exposed and isn't.. Best wishes.

  7. Ah, well, you have to put family first! Many thanks for your informative posts, I've never experienced prison myself but as someone whose idea of prison was mostly shaped by a combination of Porridge, Scum and The Shawshank Redemption your posts have been an educatioon should I ever end up there, I think I'll be rather better prepared as a result of your (and Ben's) blogs.

  8. A few years on - I am glad this is still here for historians and others with a real interest in the realities of Criminal Justice in England and Wales.

    This blog came to an abrupt end - I was conflicted about the issues and do not know the full story - but do realise Alex Cavendish is a pseudonym.

    It was a bold matter to style the blog as it is styled which makes it so easy to find - but there it is, I am at least pleased the content and comments remain.

    I comment now because - having researched another matter - discovered an earlier post in this blog had a contribution about THAT other topic.

    Curiosity brought me to the very end and seeing the comment about Prisoner Ben, I thought I would provide a link, in case any new readers are perplexed about the reference

    Ben Gunn also seems to have stopped blogging but is available elsewhere, in person and latterly in a Channel 5 TV programme with Michael Portillo, and on the Internet, particularly via Twitter.

    I guess we are ALL offenders or liars, but only some of us face the rigours of any formal criminal justice system - and then our convictions tend to cause us to be tainted by some for evermore - even if we were only fourteen when the incident that led to our conviction occurred - or younger - Mary Bell, Jon Venables and Robert Thompson come to mind.

    Once again Prison and sentencing is a leading moral panic issue in the media with the reporting of knife killings coming soon after the John Worboys parole case hoo-ha.

    Sadly as reporting of such issues is so commercially and electorally important it seems that we are STILL a long way off from even commencing a serious public change of mind about an issue - such as may have happened over the Windrush affair; with many at last seeming to realise that the people involved helped keep the British nation functioning when not enough UK born subjects were prepared or trained to work within, for example, the National Health Service.

  9. Very sad news. Thank you for the work. Everything is insiglghtful.