“Jailbirds” by Mim Skinner

Thanks to Seven Dials and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.

Although I am not teaching the subject currently, I started my teaching career as a Modern Studies teacher. By far my favourite topic to teach was Crime and the Law and I always found that resources and information relating specifically to women’s incarceration were thin on the ground. If only I’d had this book available then. Stats are one thing, but real stories and perspectives are invaluable. I have moved on from Modern Studies teaching, but I’ll be sure to recommend this book to the Modern Studies teachers in my school.

In this book, Mim Skinner, an Art teacher relates her experiences and reflections on working within the context of a women’s prison. Interspersed amongst her personal anecdotes are statistics and facts about the realities of female incarceration in the UK today.

Skinner has a no-nonsense approach to the subject but her writing style remains warm and engaging and it’s clear she genuinely cared about the women she worked with. The book offers a fascinating insight without ever descending into mawkishness. There is humour and warmth, but also sadness and frustration. There were times I laughed out loud but there were also times I gritted my teeth in despair.

I really enjoyed this fascinating insight into the experiences of working in a woman’s prison. Interspersed with facts, personal reflections and humour it was an enlightening and thought provoking read.

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