Cover Image: Doing Time

Doing Time

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Member Reviews

A practical advice book about getting through a prison sentence. Heavy on faith but illuminating and interesting from two perspectives. Different types of prisons and categories. Both still involved with prisons but as part of the chaplaincy.
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This brief book offered a great deal of insight into how the two authors coped with their time in prison. It was enlightening to learn about the processes and procedures in the prison system. It was also interesting to hear the authors’ perspectives on aspects of prison life such as visits from family and friends. The conclusion of a prayer at the ends of chapters tied the message together well.
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Both a guide for those entering prison and a great evangelistic tool to be given to friends, family and anyone interested in prison and God. It's a fairly short book but I liked that as many people have limited time to read so the shorter length will appeal. I don't know how you go about getting books into prison libraries but it'd definitely be worth looking into. Recommended. 

Thanks to NetGalley and Lion Hudson Ltd for ARC.
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Awkward, beautiful, raw and honest. Written as a guide for those entering prison for the first time, this was a powerful look at how prison can be the ‘thin place’ where we get closer to God through utmost joy and despair. 
Great biblical references, poetry and prayers that give peace and hope to all, whatever our cage looks like.
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Quite a short book, more of a what to do if you are going into prison for the first time.
The book does provide an insight into the realities of serving time in a British prison albeit with a very heavy religious slant.
I enjoyed the book, although at times it did become a little preachy. Despite this, still an interesting read.
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I did not know what to expect when I ead this book but I am glad I did. Prison is real and whether you have been in it or not you probably know someone who has or may be their. someday. They are people too with families, hopes and feelings. They are often forgotten but not by God. The problem is how do you familiarize the general population on how to help prisoners get their lives better or what spiritual suggestions to give them if they do want to. I felt a lot of hope and remembered the people I have known who made it through the long night of prison and came out alive and some even better people. This book offers hope and healings. It is excellent IMO andd though from a Christian viewpoint I cant see how it wouldnt help anyone to read it. Read this book if you or someone you know is having an incarceration at present or one that is possible.
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Written by Jonathan Aitken, an ex-MP who was jailed in 1999 for 18 months for perjury, and Edward Smyth who served a short prison sentence in 2025, “Doing Time - A Spiritual Survival Guide” is a concise book about how to cope with being in jail from the first night, through the important step of coming to terms with your situation and onwards. This book comes specifically from a spiritual place, but I think the book is for everyone. 
Each chapter is told from both authors’ point of view, with Edward’s contributions being most affecting. Not that I have no sympathy for a jailed Tory MP, of course, but I had more for Edward. Both authors write well, though, especially Edward who has written very profoundly about his experiences. At the end of each chapter is a prayer.
There are sections on prison chaplains and the various kinds of chapels available. I was quite surprised to learn that religion has a major presence in prisons, with chaplains of all faith types available. Other chapters on living successfully with prison officers and avoiding the temptations of drugs offer more sound advice. Aitken writes candidly about the importance of writing and receiving letters (he often helped out his less-skilled inmates by reading their letters), and of the hundreds he received while inside from both well and ill-wishers. Edward movingly relates how he still retains every letter he received in prison and how he occasionally still reads them. The emotional turmoil of prison visits are also explored which can be a difficult experience for both the inmate and their visitor. The final chapter is one of reflection and a summing-up of the authors’ advice. 
Most of my knowledge of prison comes from repeats of Porridge, so I found this book immensely interesting and not a little surprising in parts. Both men’s experiences have helped shape their futures for the better - Aitken was ordained in 2018 and is now serving as a voluntary prison chaplain and Edward has acquired a master’s degree in criminology and forged a career in criminal justice. Whether or not you believe in God, there is a lot of good advice on this book. It is profound and uplifting and I hope this book finds its way into many prisons, if that is its purpose.
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