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Monday 10 March 2014

Former convict speaks to law students

Here, Southampton Solent business school talk about their most recent guest lecture, delivered by author and former convict Frankie Owens to over 130 law students.

Frankie Owens was prisoner A1443CA at Her Majesty’s pleasure until the 2 August 2011. Frankie has suffered from hypomania as part of his bipolar condition, which he managed without treatment before the illness became acute.

Frankie Owens

Within eighteen months he had spiralled into chaos and was then sentenced to a year in prison for a number of criminal offences. As a first time offender he had no idea how the prison system worked and the experience was very frightening.

Whilst in prison he wrote ‘The Little Book of Prison: A Beginners Guide’. The aim of this book is to act as a survival guide for people being sent to prison for the first time, when they are very vulnerable, and facing one of the most difficult times of their lives.

The book is published by Waterside Press and was entered into the Koestler Trust annual arts competition and won the platinum award for non-fiction as judged by author and broadcaster Will Self.

In his lecture to Solent students, Frankie gave his views on whether prisons work in reducing crime, in particular whether it prevents recidivism. Frankie pointed out that 48% of prisoners are illiterate and one of the keys to reducing re-offending is to teach offenders to read, as the more educated a prisoner is the more likely he or she will be able to obtain employment upon release.

Frankie is also passionate about restorative justice where, for example, the offender meets the victim of his crime and there is a discussion on how the crime affected the victim. This process enables many offenders to realise that their crimes can have a devastating impact on the victims’ lives.