The Governor: My Life Inside Britain’s Most Notorious Prisons

Unashamedly, I am a massive voyeur.  As a result, I love to read Biographies, autobiographies and True Crime.  Not that my life is boring.  However, other people’s lives seem so much more interesting.  This is undoubtedly true for Vanessa Frake; who published her memoirs ‘The Governor’ on 15 April 2021.

Frake spent 27 years working in prison services.  This book gives a fantastic insight into prison life from Frake’s perspective as a guard and ultimately the Governor.  The relationships she had with the inmates, her co-workers and daily prison life. The prison uses its discretion of which prison you are sent to. 

Our introduction to Frakes takes place in a taxi on her way to the male-dominated HMP Wormwoods Scrubs for her first day.  Already hating the prospect of working in a male prison and hiding any nerves. 

In humorous flashbacks, Frakes takes us to some of the women’s prisons she has worked in with stories of daily life.  For example, how Myra Hindley made cups of tea for arriving guests.  How Rosemary West sat crocheting and chatting congenially to another prisoner, while the television announcer gave updates on her case. She didn’t say a word. 

Book Review under 400 words

There are some fascinating stories about inmates and the heart-breaking truths of being away from family for long periods.  Then the description of clanging keys, door slamming closed and footsteps along corridors; truly eerie.  Frake also describes the ingenious ways prisoners try and smuggle drugs into the prison and the lengths guards go to stop drugs from getting in.  We also hear about the extraordinary ways prisoners smuggle mobile phones into prisons (sometimes two or three at a time. Eye-watering).

Frank ended her career with PTSD and an MBE and now makes cakes in a bakery.  This book is undoubtedly a page-turner and written as if you were sitting down with her and just having a chat and a cup of tea.  If you decide to read this book, put two days aside for total indulgence.

The Governor by Vanessa Frakes an intriguing insight into prison life from a prison officer's point of view.

Availability of the Governor

This book is available from Amazon as a printed version, a pdf version or audible version.

For a printed version click here
For the Kindle version click here
For the Audible Version click here

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