Above is a photograph of me standing in Reading Gaol’s cell, C3.3. where Oscar Wilde served his sentence. In his great work, ‘De Profundis’ (Out of the depths) he described the cell: “Outside the day may be blue and gold, but the light that creeps down through the thickly muffled glass of the small iron-barred window beneath one sits is grey and niggard. It is always twilight in one’s cell, as it is always midnight in one’s heart.’
I think of these lines whenever I visit a prison in connection with my work for Inside Time, the national newspaper for prisoners or the Longford Trust which, as well as organising an annual lecture, supports prisoners into higher education. Times are bad. Recently past Home Secretary, Kenneth Clark, said the Victorians would be ashamed of the way we are dealing with prisons. If any of you are interested in the subject, you can read more about Inside Time and the Longford Trust under Interests. You will also find links to both their websites.