Published: June 22nd 2020
Genre: memoir and crime
* I received a e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest opinion*
I am always interested in reading about the prison system and people’s experiences during their time serving a sentence. As a law abiding citizen I hope that I will never get sent to prison because I don’t think I would be able to cope, especially after reading Sophie Campbell’s ‘Breakfast at Bronzefield’.
Sophie Campbell (pseudonym) was incarcerated at HMP Bronzefield for grievously bodily harm and assaulting a police officer. She is an educated young black woman and is a minority in the prison system, she details the unfairness and racism that goes on behind bars.
This is a very honest memoir it’s not glorified and the author even acknowledge s the fact that her persona in prison changed…it had to or she would have been deemed weak and vulnerable leaving her as a target to the bent officers and other inmates.
Sophie doesn’t shy away from the fact that she did some things in prison that wouldn’t be acceptable outside prison, but inside it got her moved to a different block or segregation which is what she wanted.
She lets you understand how corrupt it is prison, with officers turning a blind eye, making up things that didn’t happen and even officers having relationships with the prisoners.
The book focuses a lot on education and the fact that Sophie has been to university, whereas a lot of the women are illiterate. There is lots of courses for the women to get an education but it’s poorly run and women are made to feel ashamed for trying to better themselves.
Sophie is very determined never to go back to prison and become a statistic. It’s her determination that makes her succeed. The probation officers are not helpful with housing and giving just under £50 it’s no wonder so many women reoffend.
This is a very insightful memoir on HMP Bronzefield and HMP Downview where Sophie was transferred to. It has a great balance of subjects and statistics. Sophie sometimes comes across as ‘stand offish’ but actually reflecting on it she is very strong woman, she knows that is only her looking out for herself and she must do everything it takes.
Definitely recommend reading.