Cell Mates/Soul Mates is based on extensive research by the author into a largely neglected aspect of imprisonment: the development of intimate relationships by ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ partners despite the physical and formal barriers. The book contains introductory material and extended extracts from interviews with people who have experienced the phenomenon. These suggest that – against the odds – the partners concerned often remain committed to each other. Despite the precarious nature of the enterprise – and sometimes hostile reactions from people around them – they stay together and build a new life in which crime becomes a thing of the past, something which should be an encouragement to a range of people concerned with offending behaviour, sentence planning and release decisions – where the role of the prisoner’s family may be a key factor.
‘A thorough investigation into a controversial area’: Safer Society
‘A remarkable sociological text which sizzles with love and pain and hope. I cannot commend this important book too highly’: Claire Rayner (from the Foreword)
Angela Devlin is a writer, broadcaster and exponent of prisoners’ rights whose work has attracted wide interest and acclaim: Criminal Classes (Waterside Press, 1995), Prison Patter: A Dictionary of Prison Slang (Waterside Press, 1996); Invisible Women: What’s Wrong With Women’s Prisons (Waterside Press, 1998), Anybody’s Nightmare: The Sheila Bowler Story (Taverner Publications, 1998) and Going Straight After Crime and Punishment with Bob Turney (Waterside Press, 1999). Anybody’s Nightmare, the true story of a wrongful conviction for murder, was later dramatised for ITV and featured the character ‘Angela Devlin’ campaigning for the case to be re-opened (The conviction was eventually quashed and the defendant acquitted after a new trial).