The Self-Tapping Screw: The Recollections of a Borstal Officer

 
9781846248443: The Self-Tapping Screw: The Recollections of a Borstal Officer
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In 1980, Simon Barlow found himself in a rut. He worked long hours, miles from home, was poorly paid and had a mortgage to pay and small children to support. His search for alternative employment was fruitless until he saw an advertisement in a newspaper telling him that prison officers were paid more than doctors. He filled in the application and soon found himself at Leyhill Officers Training School and on a journey that would alter the course of his entire life. His early career, and the focus of this biography, was spent working within the ill-fated borstal system, which was later replaced by the young offenders system of incarceration. Viewed from the inside, Barlow champions the system of education, training and structure for the borstal boys in comparison to its inadequate and often self-serving successor. However, borstal life was not for the faint-hearted and Barlow s first few years in the service were peppered with pranks and misdemeanours, not to mention the sharp learning curve that he was embarking upon when confronted with violent prisoners with very little training to back him up. And then there were the long shifts, the absconders, the winters on the cold farm with the boys from London who had never seen a cow before, the fights, the dirty packages thrown from cell windows at night, locking up, slopping out and the curious incident of the disappearing kiln...

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About the Author:

Simon Barlow was born in 1950 in Southampton to Catholic parents and was subsequently schooled by nuns. He left school in1966 and held various jobs involving engineering drawing. After being made redundant in 1969, he took a job as a trainee shoe shop manager and eventually joined the prison service in 1980. Throughout his career, he worked in a variety of officer positions in borstals and adult prisons. Barlow retired from the prison service in 2005. He now works with ex-offenders in the community and derives great satisfaction in helping them break the cycle of acquisitive crime and prison. He also plays in a folk band, runs a folk club in his local area and has an unhealthy fascination with medieval weapons.

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