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Review of “A Bit of a Stretch”

A few weeks ago I read “A Bit of a Stretch” by Chris Atkins. This book is written by a documentary creator as he is in jail in the UK. He records everything that happened to him his years in jail, and even has done research about the prison system as a whole in the UK in order to back up what has happened to him.

cover of "A Bit of a Stretch"
cover of “A Bit of a Stretch”

The book is funny in some places, but also serious when talking about the facts of the prison system and just how unorganized and harsh it can be to the prisoners. Throughout the book we follow the writer through different sections of the prison, different jobs he worked, and different people he met along the way.

We learn about the food, the jobs, and how little they get to talk to people in the outside world. Most of the people he comes into contact are white-collared prisoners, and he is also one of them. He does have some run ins with some blue-collared prisoners and those are also put within the book.

Atkins makes sure to say that while he did have some hard times while he was locked up it isn’t anything like other people had to face because his crime was listed as white-collar. I believe this is an important point that needed to be made since while he did have a hard time, it could have been a lot worse if his crime would have been worse.

This book touches on tricky subjects, but also highlights what needs to be done in order for prisoners to be not only safe but to be rehabilitated. I really enjoyed reading about the UK’s prison system even though I don’t live in the UK. I recommend this for anyone wanted to read a slightly funny non-fiction book.

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