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Erwin James is a Guardian columnist and author. He has published two collections of essays: A Life Inside: A Prisoner's Notebook and The Home Stretch: From Prison to Parole. A trustee of the Prison Reform Trust, he has given keynote addresses to the Royal Society in Edinburgh, the Probation Union at the Danish parliament and the Festival of Dangerous Ideas at the Sydney Opera House. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts and an Honorary Master of the Open University, and is patron of a number of offender rehabilitation charities.
Oh my word, this is quite simply an eye-opening must-read. Erwin James is a journalist and author, he is also a trustee of the Prison Reform Trust and patron of a number of offender rehabilitation schemes. He writes about his life, about the years of abuse and neglect and misguided love that led to him committing crime from the age of 11 through to 28 when convicted of two murders. He also writes about his years in prison, of the people who encouraged him to look back, to repent, and to understand his potential to learn how to travel a different path. Erwin James writes with huge compassion and empathy, he is blunt but not graphic, honest but not seeking sympathy. This is a man who understands what he has done, understands the prison system, and truly believes that “rehabilitation is the best way to protect the public”. ‘Redeemable’ is a hugely important book, it made me flinch and wonder at the capacity and capabilities of the human mind, it made me despair, it also made me hope, oh how it made me hope. Liz visited the Chiddingstone Castle Literary Fesitval where Erwin James gave a talk. To read more about the festival, head over to her Blog Post.