THE former chair of the Prison Governors' Association has had a new book published detailing his time at Parkhurst prison.

Brendan O'Friel's Prison Governor's Journal shares an inside perspective on the 1995 escapes from Parkhurst, the dramatic change of governors and the sacking of Derek Lewis as director general of the prison service by Home Secretary Michael Howard.

Turning to his wider experiences in the Prison Service, Brendan describes how prisons in England and Wales have weathered a succession of crises since 1947.

He considers the impact of cell overcrowding and regime destruction on both staff and prisoners and its impact on public safety.

The book provides insights into life within the seven penal establishments in which he served, including the “explosion of evil” surrounding the Strangeways riot of April 1990.

Brendan said: ""The idea of a book came after the Strangeways riots - many people encouraged me to write down my story (which I) started well over 20 years ago.

"One advantage of taking a long time over a book is you gain perspective about what happened and ask new and different questions.

"Since the Pandemic struck, I was aware prisoners and staff faced new and demanding challenges, (which) encouraged me to complete the book - especially as I believe there is a really interesting "window of opportunity" for change and improvement in the Prison Service - if people think through the issues and consider the options."

Prison Governor's Journal includes illustrations, cartoons, line drawings and verse, some of which are the work of prisoners.

Further details about the book can be found at and it will be available for purchase from April 8 at a cost of £17.99.