Have you every wondered what life is really like behind bars? Chris Atkins is a documentary maker who went to prison for tax fraud in 2016. He spent nine months in HMP Wandsworth, one of the most dangerous and dysfunctional prisons in the UK, and has now interviewed 20 ex-prisoners about their time in jail. Their stories are shocking, uplifting, heartbreaking, hilarious, and often downright weird. These incredible testimonies form this eight part podcast series. In Wandsworth Chris got loads of letters peppered with questions - What's the food like? What do you wear? Tell me about the showers... This podcast answers all those questions, and takes you headfirst into the biggest prison crisis in history. It reveals a collapsing system that is failing victims and wider society, and reveals how the human spirit can thrive in the darkest corners. Each episode is centred around a different theme, like Arrival, Family and Change.
4 Stars in The Times: A frisson of horrified sympathy. "Good grief,” you think. “What if that were me?”.
Chris Atkins is a three time BAFTA nominated film maker, who has worked for Channel 4 Dispatches and BBC Panorama. His book about his time in Wandsworth, A Bit of a Stretch, is out now.
See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
23:36All the great material that didn't fit into previous episodes. Includes George Gilbey, star of Gogglebox and Celebrity Big Brother, who got 3 months for drink driving. And "Simon" reveals how D Cat prisoners smuggle in cheese for xmas parties. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Pandemic in Prisons
23:48The pandemic took a hammer blow to an already collapsing prison system. Chris was in touch with several inmates still serving their sentences, and they allowed us to record their calls to reveal the shocking state of prisons during the crisis. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Turning the Screw
21:42Prisons are pretty miserable for the inmates, but what about the officers? Chris talks to two ex-prison officers about riots, accidental spice attacks and bad pay. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
25:17Prisons are supposed to rehabilitate offenders, but nearly half of inmates reoffend within a year. How do some prisoners buck the trend and change who they are? See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Are You Listening?
27:15There is a mental health crisis in prisons, and it's sometimes impossible to access psychiatric support. Often the only help comes from the Listeners, prisoners specially trained by the Samaritans to counsel suicidal inmates. Chris interviews Tony, who suffered severe anxiety and depression inside, and three former Listeners. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Children of Prisoners
22:14There are over 200,000 children in the UK with a parent in prison. To find out the impact on these forgotten victims, Chris talks to his ex partner, Lottie, about how his imprisonment effected his own son Kit. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Prison: A Love Story
24:13How do couples maintain a romantic relationship when one of them is behind bars? This episode features Gary, whose girlfriend had to wait two and a half years while he was inside, and Lucy, whose boyfriend was still behind bars when she was interviewed for the podcast See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The Daily Grind
26:51What do prisoners eat? How do we get showers? What's the food like? When he was in prison Chris got dozens of letters asking about the details of life inside. This episode will delve into the nitty gritty of wing life, from getting out the cell, sourcing enough to eat, and trying to stay clean. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Arrival and Survival
25:00Prison is always toughest at the very start. How do people cope when thrust into a modern jail for the very first time? Farook was given seven years for GBH, his imprisonment was harder to deal with as he was estranged from his mother. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
A Bit of a Stretch Podcast - Trailer
2:28Have you ever wondered what life's really like behind bars? Well fortunately for you Chris Atkins went to prison so you don't have to. This podcast features interviews of over 20 former inmates to reveal the true madness of Britain's prison crisis. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.