A Bit of a Stretch

A Bit of a Stretch

by

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A shocking and darkly funny account of the reality of Britain's prisons.

Where can a tin of tuna buy you clean clothes? Which British education system struggles with 50% illiteracy? Where do teetotal Muslims attend AA meetings? Where is it easier to get 'spice' than paracetamol? Where does self-harm barely raise an eyebrow?

Welcome to Her Majesty's Prison Service, a creaking and surreal world that has been left to rot for decades in the shadows of polite society. Like most people, documentary-maker Chris Atkins didn't spend much time thinking about prisons. But after becoming embroiled in a dodgy scheme to fund his latest film, he was sent down for five years. His new home would be HMP Wandsworth, one of the oldest, largest, and most dysfunctional prisons in Europe.

Horrifying, moving, and darkly funny, this is the unvarnished depiction of what he found. With a cast of characters ranging from wily drug dealers to corrupt screws to senior officials bent on endless (and fruitless) reform, this is the reality behind the locked gates. Full of incredible and hilarious stories, A Bit of a Stretch reveals the true scale of our prison crisis and why it is costing us all.

Title:A Bit of a Stretch
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9781838950156
Format Type:

    A Bit of a Stretch Reviews

  • Petra on hiatus in hospital & not the beach,Cancun

    The author was a major documentary film maker who, with his accountant set up a tax scam to fund his filmmaking. The sad thing is that he got 5 years for which he was grateful - he'd expected more. Th...

  • Paul Bryant

    Chris Atkins is pretty aggravating, he doesn’t come out of his own memoir well. A white white-collar criminal gets a 5 year sentence meaning he will be serving 2 ½ years inside and the rest out on ...

  • Nadia

    4 fascinating starsA Bit of a Stretch is a brutally honest and horrifying account of the author's time spent in one of the worst prisons in the UK.Chris Atkins was sentenced to 5 years in prison for t...

  • Caroline

    This is the best book I've read so far in 2021, and the year is almost over. The author is a film-maker, who fiddled the taxes on one of his films, and was caught doing so. He ended up in Wandsworth P...

  • Mark

    Outstanding! Chris Atkins, a former film producer, including making films for Dispatches ( Ch4 ) is sentenced to 5 years for ( in simple terms ) a money/tax fraud, that although he didn’t benefit fr...

  • Mark Porton

    Chris Atkins was sentenced for a stretch of 5 years for tax fraud, he spent around 2 years in prison and 9 of those months in the notorious HMP Wandsworth.Atkins is a documentary maker and writer whic...

  • Sonja Arlow

    3.5 stars“The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.” DostoevskyWritten with insight, (much needed) humour and a healthy dose of reality check. Chris Atkins, a...

  • Nigel

    Briefly - Hum... I have mixed views on this. In parts very interesting though.In fullChris, the author, was a documentary maker. He became embroiled in a tax scam which led to him being prosecuted. He...

  • Nigeyb

    Chris Atkins is a documentary film maker who got embroiled in a dodgy film funding scheme. Whilst he didn’t personally benefit from the fraud, his company did, and so he got sentenced to five years ...

  • Chris Steeden

    Oh no. The author is a middle-class lefty (his words) who reads the Guardian. In the UK these are a nauseating class of people. He is a BAFTA nominated documentary filmmaker that gets done for tax fra...