Prison is not just a place for criminals, but also where some of the most damaged and vulnerable people in our society end up. Every year, we spend billions of pounds on the prison system, but is it a system that is fundamentally flawed?

Prison doctor Shahed Yousaf spends his time running between emergencies – from overdoses to assaults, from cell fires to suicides – with one hand perpetually hovering over the panic button. His job is not for the faint-hearted. In Stitched Up, he introduces us to a cast of unforgettable characters, but to Dr Yousaf, they are patients first and prisoners second, because any one of us could end up on the wrong side of the law.

Angela Kirwin was a social care worker in some of Britain’s most notorious prisons for over a decade. In her new book, Criminal, she argues that prison is failing everyone, damaging the most vulnerable people in our societies, creating habitual criminals, leaving us all less safe and contributing to a society that is immeasurably less humane. 

Join Shahed Yousaf and Angela Kirwin for a frank discussion about the challenges of working in today’s prison system and the stories of the inmates they have met along the way.

 

About The Authors

Headshot of Dr Shahed Yousaf

Dr Shahed Yousaf

Dr Shahed Yousaf spends his time running between emergencies – from overdoses to assaults, from cell fires to suicides – with one hand perpetually hovering over the panic button. Being a prison doctor is not for the faint-hearted. An outsider on the inside, in Stitched Up he introduces us to a cast of unforgettable characters, including killers, con men and auto-cannibals. To Dr Yousaf, they are patients first and prisoners second – because any one of us could end up on the wrong side of the law.

Dedicated to caring for people on the margins of society, he tells us honestly and compassionately what it’s like to be their doctor in a system that’s chronically overcrowded, drastically under-resourced and all too easy to ignore. But while the system is failing, he and his colleagues are doing their very best to prop it up. In stories that are frequently harrowing, sometimes humorous and always hard-hitting, we discover how difficult it is to be locked up – but that there is still hope for all those who dare to care.

Headshot of Angela Kirwin

Angela Kirwin

Angela Kirwin grew up in Manchester and qualified with an MSc in social work. For over ten years in the social care sector, she worked with hundreds of people with criminal convictions both inside prison and out in the community. Her work on substance misuse and mental health was praised inHer Majesty’s Prison Inspections and she went on to secure a Research Fellowship from the WinstonChurchill Memorial Trust to investigate the criminal justice systems of America and Norway. She has lectured at the University of Bristol on the topics of substance misuse, mental health, homelessness and trauma-informed care. She left the prison estate in 2016