Neil Samworth

Neil ‘Sam’ Samworth grew up in Sheffield and did a variety of jobs before becoming a prison officer at Forest Bank in Manchester. In 2005, he transferred to HMP Manchester, still known as Strangeways, the notorious jail where riots took place in 1990. Sam spent 11 years there.

A tough Yorkshireman with a soft heart, he had to deal with it all – gangsters and gang bangers, terrorists and psychopaths, addicts and the mentally ill.

Men who should not be locked up and men who should never be let out. As staffing cuts saw Britain’s prisons descend into crisis, the stress of the job – the suicides, the inhumanity of the system and one assault too many – left Sam suffering from PTSD, and in 2016 he left the prison service.

Books

Strangeways: A Prison Officer's Story

Neil Samworth

Neil ‘Sam’ Samworth spent eleven years working as a prison officer in HMP Manchester, aka Strangeways. A tough Yorkshireman with a soft heart, Sam had to deal with it all – gangsters and gangbangers, terrorists and psychopaths, addicts and the mentally ill. Men who should not be locked up and men who should never be let out.

Strangeways by Neil Samworth is a shocking and at times darkly funny account of life in a high security prison. Sam tackles cell fires and self-harmers, and goes head to head with some of the most dangerous men in the country. He describes being attacked by prisoners, and reveals the problems caused by radicalization and the drugs flooding our prisons.

As staffing cuts saw Britain’s prison system descend into crisis, the stress of the job – the suicides, the inhumanity of the system, and one assault too many – left Sam suffering from PTSD. This raw, searingly honest memoir is a testament to the men and women of the prison service and the incredibly difficult job we ask them to do.

‘Neil Samworth’s story is authentic, tough, horrifying in some places and hilarious in others. It captivates the reader because the author’s honesty and decency shine through as he tells it like it is on the daily roller coaster ride of prison life in Strangeways. An enthralling, exciting but disturbing book.’

— Jonathan Aitken