Breakfast at Bronzefield

This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Buy on Amazon Buy on
*This page contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 22 Jun 2020 | Archive Date 31 Aug 2020

Talking about this book? Use #BreakfastatBronzefield #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


HMP Bronzefield, the UK’s largest women’s prison: notorious for bent screws and drugs:

But what’s the truth behind the headlines?

Forced into signing an NDA when she arrived there on remand, former public schoolgirl Sophie risked extra time on her sentence by documenting her experiences of life inside.

Backed up by recent research and statistics, Breakfast at Bronzefield offers a powerful glimpse into a world few see: riots; unethical medical prescribing; and prison barons – key figures behind prostitution and drug-smuggling.

In a world where anything goes and being rehabilitated simply means saying ‘sorry’ right up until you’re released, how will Sophie cope on the outside, where she is expected to play by different rules? Will she succeed in creating the life she wants? Or, like most prisoners, will she end up back where she started?

'Fascinating and provocative'. LoveReading UK

'Powerfully written... you give me hope.' Dame Sally Coates

'Eye-opening, thoughtful and determined. A thoroughly engaging piece of work that will challenge what you think you know about prisons and prisoners.' Dr. Lamiece Hassan

HMP Bronzefield, the UK’s largest women’s prison: notorious for bent screws and drugs:

But what’s the truth behind the headlines?

Forced into signing an NDA when she arrived there on remand, former...

Advance Praise

'Fascinating and provocative....Breakfast at Bronzefield is one of my Liz Picks of the Month.' LoveReading UK

'Powerfully written... You give me hope.' Dame Sally Coates

'Eye-opening, thoughtful and determined. A thoroughly engaging piece of work that will challenge what you think you know about prisons and prisoners.' Dr. Lamiece Hassan

'Fascinating and provocative....Breakfast at Bronzefield is one of my Liz Picks of the Month.' LoveReading UK

'Powerfully written... You give me hope.' Dame Sally Coates

'Eye-opening, thoughtful and...

Marketing Plan

The Irish Sunday Independent (circulation 199K) will run a review of this title nearer to publication.

Two Sunday Times Best-Selling authors and one Emmy award-winning journalist will draw attention to this book on publication via social media.

Three high-profile Bookstagrammers/Lifestyle bloggers with a combined Instagram audience of over 325K will review on publication.

30 of the top 100 Goodreads reviewers from North America, UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand will publish reviews of this title on publication. 

One top 100 Goodreads reviewer (UK) and an award-winning blogger (Twitter audience 14k +) will run an extract and giveaway of this title two weeks prior to publication.

A further 12 bloggers/journalists with a combined twitter audience of 113.7K will draw attention to the book on publication.

Interviews with local press and literary magazines. 

Coverage expected in publishing trade magazine BookBrunch, Sunday Mirror's Notebook Magazine, The Literary Consultancy, The Great Big Book Club, LoveReading UK and the Bad Bitch Book Club NYC. 

On the shortlist for the 'June Liz Pick' for LoveReading UK (Combined Instagram and Twitter audience 57K)

Leading audio publisher has made an offer for UKBC English language rights. Promo copies and audiocodes will be used for promotion in run-up to August 2020 release date.

The book is currently being read by two film scouts. 

The Irish Sunday Independent (circulation 199K) will run a review of this title nearer to publication.

Two Sunday Times Best-Selling authors and one Emmy award-winning journalist will draw...

Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781916350601
PRICE £8.99 (GBP)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (EPUB)
Send to Kindle (EPUB)

Average rating from 92 members

Featured Reviews

The author (I’ll call her Sophie, though the Author’s Note seems to make it clear that this is a pseudonym used to protect her identity) is a young black woman who, after an incident she doesn’t describe, finds herself remanded in custody in Britain’s largest female prison. In fact, in total her stay in prison was to last some two years, divided between two separate facilities, and her account of that time is presented in this book. Her experiences are comprehensively and, I believe, very honestly documented and along side this she provides her own analysis of the shortfalls evident in our current prison system, supported by data obtained from a variety of sources.

Sophie grew up in the north of England. She makes it very clear that her father was a violent criminal and both he and her mother practiced substance abuse. In fact from the age of thirteen she’d taken it into her own hands to organise her schooling and subsequently became estranged from pretty much all of her family. She completed a good education (including time at a fee paying school, thanks to a scholarship award) and spent time in a decent if low paying job. And though she doesn’t provide details of the offence that led to her eventual jail sentence she does disclose that it involved a charge of Grievous Bodily Harm (a term used in English law to describe the severest form of assault) and also that of assaulting a police officer.

The broader descriptions of prison life didn’t throw up too many major surprises: it’s predictably grim, with poor food and constant bubbling tensions between inmates and with prison staff. Sophie openly discloses how she used tantrums and physical violence to achieve small wins with prison officers and settle grievances with fellow inmates. She was no saint, and she’s honest enough to admit that. Some elements that were rather more unexpected include the limited opportunities given to inmates to allow or encourage personal development and the almost negligible support provided to prisoners as they prepared for release and afterwards, when they found themselves once more back in the big wide world. Many, it seems, are sent on their way with little help, virtually no money and nowhere to live.

This is a gritty, no holds barred account and once I’d settled into it I found it compelling reading. If I were to offer a small criticism it would be that the desire to provide insight into the deficiencies of the system (and indeed recommendations for its improvement) rather got in the way of what could otherwise have been a flowing and cohesive narrative. But that’s a minor quibble and I quite understand her motivation for including this element. And though I find it hard to accept that Sophie’s behaviour whilst in prison was in any way tolerable I do very much admire her honesty, her tenacity and her drive. Through her own self motivation she’s managed to complete an education, survive a family group that would have sunk most people and despite a few false steps along the way put herself in a position to complete a university degree (she’s close to that stage as the book is published) and hopefully lead a rewarding and fruitful life. No small achievement!

Was this review helpful?

I want to thank NetGalley, Sophie Campbell Books, and author Sophie Campbell for providing me with an ARC of this novel!

What an enlightening read, and a brave writer to boot! In Breakfast at Bronzefield, we follow Sophie throughout her stay at HMP Bronzefield, the UK’s largest women’s prison. I was drawn to this book by the cover (I know, I know, don’t judge a book by it’s cover). I love that it’s pink and gold, when it’s actually about a prison. There’s beauty to be seen there. This is a gritty read, and I love that the author didn’t hold anything back. These types of things are what NEED to be revealed. Puts you in mind of OITNB, but in my opinion even better. This is a super powerful read, and I recommend it to anyone.

Thank you again to those named above for the opportunity to read and review this novel!

Was this review helpful?

Breakfast at Bronzefield is the story of "Sophie Campbell", a pseudonym , her experience in 2 Women's prisons and her efforts to rebuild her life afterwards. This book reminded me very much of Chris Atkins' similar insight as a prisoner in men's prison Wandsworth in his excellent book, "A bit of a Stretch". Like Atkins Sophie is eloquent , well-educated and the kind of person who never thought they'd ever end up inside. As she tells us though there's no such thing as a "typical prisoner" and many prisoners are well-educated and highly intelligent people.. Also like Atkins Sophie gives us the facts and figures to show that our prisons are failing to do anything to rehabilitate inmates or give them any kind of help or education that will allow them seamless integration back into society. I was shocked to read that in the 21st century some prisoners are handed tents and sleeping bags on their release ,I suppose that just about scrapes into following a duty of care but it's still a damning indictment of our society as a whole and reading about one unfortunate who found herself back in prison after being caught sleeping in a park in one of those tents would be funny if wasn't so tragic for the lady concerned.
Sophie is quite scathing about the standard of Prison Staff and I was reminded of a conversation I once had with a female Warder who told me, "they'll take anyone,they're desperate",
Sophie seems to spend most of her time in prison causing mayhem and then complaining that its everyone else's fault and I found myself trying to get around the fact that she was denying being a violent person outside of prison while smashing TVs and constantly kicking off inside. As she says though,prison is a whole new world and if you don't make yourself someone others won't mess with you'll get eaten alive. and she'd never behave that way "on the outside".
This is an honest book and I'll be just as honest and say that at time she doesn't come across as a very nice person, then when she's told more of her life story we see that she's a survivor and as I know myself sometimes to survive you have to forget nice to keep your head above water. I finished it with a massive respect for Sophie and in awe of her work ethic as she determinedly made the life she always wanted for herself against the odds . Sophie gets angry at times but at no point does self-pity enter the story and the book points out several important instances of how the prison and probation services and other so-called support services badly let down those in their care . Sophie is a strong.motivated and highly intelligent woman,not all prisoners have those advantages and the help they get is minimal .

Thanks to Sophie Campbell and Netgalley for the ARC of a thought-provoking book in return for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Sophie's memoir is a comprehensive account of her time in prison and provides an insider's point of view of the vast improvements needed to reform a clearly tired system which are backed up by facts and statistics

It's hard not to commend her achievements and admire her tenacity and strength which we could all learn from.

Even though I found the narrative hard to follow at times, I do think it is an important book that needs to be read by all who would like to gain an understanding of a marginalised, often overlooked part of society.

Was this review helpful?

Having read other books in this genre, I was expecting something along a similar vein. Woman goes to prison and then repents - the usual story. But boy, was I wrong! I was shocked by the violence, the double-dealing, the level of coercion coming from both the officers and prisoners. It was not something I expected in a woman's prison, but the author seems to go out of her way to bust gender stereotypes.

On a positive note, I admired the way a lot of the women were determined to make a better life for themselves, with what seemed to be with very little support from the prison or their families. Thank you NetGalley for the advance copy.


I was surprised when halfway through the book the action moves from HMP Bronzefield to HMP Downview, a prison for settled prisoners. It made for an interesting read as I could learn about life in two separate prisons, but unfortunately the situation for most women hardly improved regardless of what prison they were sent too

Was this review helpful?

This is the author’s first book, written about her time in prison after being arrested for Grievous Bodily Harm and assault on a police officer (GBH) in England. She finds herself in HMP Bronzefield, which is the biggest women’s prison in the UK. She shares just what it’s like to be female, a minority, and stuck in prison on remand while waiting for her case to come up. If you enjoy true biographies like this, you might want to check it out. I found it to be quite decently written, she tells it like it is without being overly gossipy. Explaining how she was seemingly expected to know how to get along and know the rules, even though it was her first time in. Like they didn’t believe her, even when she kept reminding them. They did finally assign someone to her for a short while to help her learn her way around, until she became adjusted a bit. It’s not like she wasn’t trying or was uneducated, as she had been to college.

It’s easy to forget about everything else when you pick the book up and start reading. You become engrossed in her world and what’s going on while she was inside and having to stick up for herself all the time. Often having to do crazy things to make a point that she won’t be pushed around, which often ended up with her losing privileges. Advanced electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley and author Sophie Campbell.

Was this review helpful?

This book is Sophie's memoirs of her time in Europe's largest women's prison and the start of her life upon release.
This was really interesting. The author is very honest and doesn't try to present herself as an angel. I liked how she's clearly done further research into the bigger picture and puts these statistics into her book.
I was saddened at how gender divided prison is with mens prison being allowed to look at courses such as coding - as a woman that codes it's such a ridiculous view that it's man's work. And men having better support and outcomes.
By far the most shocking is that reporting rape is not possible and all prisoners are forced into signing NDAs. I'm glad she ignored the NDA and kept this record!

Was this review helpful?

A prison memoir unlike any I had previously read, Breakfast at Bronzefield by Sophie Campbell is an eye opening account of the daily grind of life behind the bars of not one but two women's prisons in Britain.
The book is a very candid account, not just of what day to day life was like for the author, but also of her family background and the struggles she faced to break out of that life and forge a better one for herself, including finding a way to pay for her own private schooling as a young teenager. The event that resulted in her imprisonment is only vaguely described , but she does tell us that it involved arrest for grievous bodily harm and assaulting a police officer, and that this was her first brush with the prison system. It is clear that she has done a lot of research into not only how the prison system works in the UK but also into numerous ways it could be improved
The description of prison life was certainly disturbing, from the bubbling tension between various groups of inmates to the routine use of violence against both other inmates and prison officers ,including several times where the author was personally involved. It is clear that she was determined to stand up for herself and her rights no matter what. I was particularly interested in the chapters describing the time the author spent on a Mental Health ward, not because of any medical issues but because of overcrowding, and the overuse of medicines she observed ,often simply to keep the women under control rather than from any intent to help them. It is very clear that she found the lack of educational opportunities frustrating, and I am inclined to agree with her given her descriptions of programmes that offered little beyond the most basic literacy skills , and nothing that would equip the women leaving prison for a working life, should they be fortunate enough to find an employer who was willing to hire an ex convict. I also found it shocking that so many former prisoners were released into homelessness, it is honestly something that I never thought about before, but reading this book certainly opened my eyes to the problem.
I found the blend of factual information with the author's personal account to be both educational and entertaining, I was gripped by the book and impressed by the author's candour.
I read and reviewed an ARC courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher, all opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

Sophie, a young black woman is remanded in custody after being charged with GBH involving Police Officers. (she doesn't go into details of her crime) and is remanded in custody at HMP Bronzefield, the UK's largest women's prison.

The book is her experience of her time inside two women's prisons. She also shares facts and figures and her own thoughts on why prisons are failing on so many levels.

You can tell she's a fighter as due to a poor family situation she took it upon herself to organise her own education including attending a fee paying school on a scholarship. She's desperate to take her education further although any education for women falls short at both the prisons.

Like other prison books I've read you could really feel the tensions bubbling between the inmates and the inmates and prison officers. I must admit I was kind of surprised at some of the things she did to get attention even though she does state she'd never do these things on the outside. On leaving prison she rebuilds her life - starts studying for a degree and gets her own house. An interesting read.

Was this review helpful?

I am both heartbroken and inspired after reading this book. Breakfast at Bronzefield is an exposé of the criminal justice system and female prisons in Great Britain. Sophie, the author, is honest about how the system fails women constantly while they are serving their sentences. She addresses problems inmates face both inside and outside of the jail setting and calls for action to be taken to ensure prisoners are given the appropriate support. I enjoyed this book more than others I have read that deal with these issues because the author served time in prison herself. She is able to articulate what is not working by referring to her own experiences. As always, it is important to elevate the voices of those who have dealt with an issue personally. I can see this book being an important source for those interested in prisoner advocacy.

(I received a digital copy of this book from NetGallery in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed above are my own.)

Was this review helpful?

Breakfast at Bronzefield is the story of Sophie Campbell, a pseudonym, and her time in two women’s prisons; Bronzefield and Downview. Sophie shares her intriguing story of what it is like to be a minority female and the struggles she faced from this throughout her time in prison and her life afterwards.

This account was so interesting as it highlighted the significant injustice that many prisoners face, backed up both with general statistics and her own personal experiences from this. As much as I found it difficult to read at times, such as the multiple times she found herself in seg, I only think her reasons for justifying her behaviour highlighted the issues within the UK criminal justice system even more.

This book goes through many areas such as mental health, drugs, violence and education to name a few, giving a well-rounded insight to the struggles prisoners face. I found this to be a really interesting, educational and informative read and would highly recommend.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Sophie spent two years incarcerated. She describes her time inside in intimate detail. She's also open and honest about the time she spent behind bars. We learn of the violence, mental health issues, drug abuse and much much more that takes place on a daily basis. We also learn of the time she spent at HMP Downview. Sophie was determined to stand up for her rights and how she found the lack of educational opportunity annoying. They were only offered basic literary skills. Sophie doesn't really tell us why she was in prison.

This is an interesting memoir written by Sophie (a pseudonym). It's not for the faint hearted.

I would like to thank NetGalley, Sophie Campbell Books, and the author Sophie Campbell for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Breakfast at Bronzefield is an account of the truly horrific experiences of Sophie Campbell during her time as an inmate at HMP Bronzefield and HMP Downview.
I have read quite a few accounts of people imprisoned or working in prisons recently and would recommend them to anyone who think that being in prison in the UK is an easy option.
Sophie is incredibly honest in her account. She does not shy away from her behaviour in prison, which she explains is the only way to get prison authorities to things done (her treatment is absolutely appalling throughout the time there and in particular at the end of her sentence).
Sophie details her background, which is inspiring, how on earth she managed to motivate herself and finance her own education in the face of such adversity, and how she continues to strive and thrive when she leaves prison.
Sophie also backs up her own account with details and statistics of other women in prison which makes this a whole and completely well rounded book, rather than solely her personal account.
Thanks to NetGalley and the author for a Kindle copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Sophie Campbell's account of her time in Bronzefield's women's prison is a shocking insight into how the UK prison system sets female inmates up to fail on their release. In the early chapters, Campbell describes how she was asked to sign a non disclosure agreement preventing her from talking about her experience on release - its clear to see why. Orange is the New Black this ain't.

This book won't just give the reader an insight into daily life in a women's prison but will show the vast, often farcical, inadequacies that female prisoners face both inside and out. Brutal, disinterested staff and a system unfit for its purpose explains a lot about why women get stuck in the prison system all explained in an easy and entertaining read.

Was this review helpful?

Breakfast at Bronzefield is an unflinchingly honest look into the British prison system from the point of view of a young, British, BAME women who has spent time in prison. It delves deeply into the politics and injustices of life behind bars, and the daily struggle to achieve even the basic human rights. Sophie doesn’t hold back on her experiences inside, and sets out to prove that female prisoners are woefully underrepresented and forgotten about in a system that just doesn’t seem to care, and favours the prisoner guards. Because who’s going to believe the story of an ‘uneducated’ or ‘drug filled’ woman over a respectable guard?

I think this throws up a lot of interesting and valuable points, especially given the current climate around police brutality and race. Sophie really doesn’t shy away from exposing everything of herself and her experience – often to the point where she doesn’t paint herself in the best light – having tantrums and starting fights to get what she wants. I admired this a lot, as it actually made me relate to Sophie more and feel an emotional connection to her predicament. I think if I was in her position, I’d probably do the same thing. Desperate times call for desperate measures – even if that doesn’t make you out to be a good person. Sophie at no point tries to make what she does seem acceptable, but she does demonstrate just how much power her prison guards had over her – being able to restrict or deny her food, clean water and even sanitary towels. No-one, regardless of what they have done to end up inside, should be denied these rights just because of a vendetta someone has over another human being.

Sophie has also clearly put a lot of thought into articulating her points regarding females in the system prion, backing up her statements with well documented and researched facts and figures. It shows she’s passionate about the subject, and trying to raise awareness about the lack of support female prisoners have, and a distinct lack of educational resources to raise them out of the cycle of re offending. There is little to no support available to women to try and rehabilitate them to the wider world on release, and little opportunity to better themselves inside via school courses, meaning the majority of these women end up back inside. Because a lot of them are also originally inside due to husbands and boyfriends crimes, on release they are simply sent back to them – instigating a high chance of re-offending. More needs to be done for these forgotten women, and Sophie’s voice has a drive to it in her writing that inspires the reader to reach out and help.

A passionate and honest discussion into what life is really like in prison from someone who’s been there, on the inside, and experienced a lifetime of harrowing acts and a violation of their human rights. It shines a bright light on the topic area, and demonstrates that we as a wider population have more to do in order to help these women to break the cycle of poverty and crime.

Was this review helpful?

Breakfast at Bronzefield is an honest account of a woman’s time spent in two women’s prisons in the UK. Campbell (a pseudonym) isn’t just upfront about what she experienced in prison, but is very much clear in her accounts of herself, the people she dealt with in the court system, the lawyers, and her own family.

Some people writing a similar account might try to paint themselves in a better light, justify their actions, try to ignore their own faults. Campbell doesn’t do any of this. She confronts everything, telling us readers exactly what she did and her reactions to certain situations, without really making excuses, but providing context. Although she gives no details of the crime that saw her locked up, she does explain it was GBH and assault on a police officer, though she does clarify a little on what actually happened with the officer.

I really admire Sophie Campbell. It’s hard not to. The book reveals her determination, her strength, and her attitude of ‘treat me as you want to be treated’. She presents information alongside her own experiences, providing statistics and quotes from reports, as well as putting forth her own ideas on how prisons can be reformed.

She talks about her actions in prison, the attitude of the guards towards the women, the way other women acted, and the version of a ‘typical female prisoner’ versus the reality. For Sophie, the problem is twofold. Because she is in prison, and because she is Black, no one expects her to be highly educated. Some women act up to the impression the guards hold of what a female prisoner should act like, with middle-class women putting on more lower-class accents. Sophie does not do this, and admits she may have been treated worse because she does not conform to the guards’ stereotypical views.

There’s a lot of issues raised throughout this book, and I really hope it gets the attention it deserves. It shows how much is wrong with the current system, and though Campbell is aware there are no simple solutions, she makes the case for reform really well. And really, just because the solutions aren’t simple doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

She details her treatment, and explains why having more women in guard roles and more BAME people is not the solution to many of the problems faced by women in prison. Instead, Campbell’s book points out why total reform is required, with more focus on providing women in prison with training and education, with actual skills they can utilize on leaving, and why training needs to go above a Level 1.

Overall, this is a really good book that provides a detailed account of life in the prison system. Sophie Campbell mixes narrative and facts in a way that makes the book almost fascinating to read, and through this book and the battle to get it published, she has shown herself to be a strong woman who won’t let anyone silence her, and won’t let anything stand in her way.

As I said above, this book deserves attention, because of the subject matter and engaging tone. Changes need to be made, at every level of the criminal justice system, and Campbell outlines this really well. This is definitely a book worth picking up.

Was this review helpful?

Breakfast at Bronzefield is an honest account of Sophie Campbell's (pseudonym) time in prison for GBH. Her period of remand and sentence is organised in themes and is an unflinching portrayal of time spent in the prison system.

I mean unflinching in that it states the good, bad and ugly with nothing held back. You have to respect the level of honesty in Sophie's retelling of events. Because she is not always presented in a favourable, positive light when detailing her response to certain situations.

The depiction of prison makes you fear to be at the mercy of these officials and the bureaucracy moreso than the other inmates.

The level of bureaucracy is ridiculous. There are established rules for every process, procedure and event yet few are communicated to inmates or staff when relevant or required. The frustration is evident in the writing. I could feel myself tensing up at certain events. Even on occasion becoming angry on response to the inefficiencies, injustices and pettiness. The lack of communication appears to drive a lot of the conflicts experienced.

It is an understatement to say being black in a place like prison is difficult

Prison is almost an isolated environment yet appears concurrently to be a microcosm of life on the outside. You are defined by race and sex. Standing up for yourself, ascertaining your rights can be seen as challenging authority. Knowing yourself, valuing your abilities is seen as opinionated which can be dangerous for a person of colour.

What is referenced throughout is that the things you do there (in prison), the way you behave can be radically different to outside. Being in these surrounding can escalate your behavior to extremes not normally expected. Are you changed by being in that environment or does it bring out latent tendencies?

It is as if you have to constantly remind yourself of who you are, not were or you'd be sucked into believing you are the stereotype attributed to you.

Breakfast at Bronzefield is written primarily by theme rather than chronologically which is great for obtaining a wider understanding of issues, but the jumping around in the time line and the number of inmates and officers made it personally difficult to keep track. The persons described, could easily seem like characters, cast in a play, there to illustrate a point, but the 'realness' shows through. Moreover, it gives a good indication of the myriad of people involved in the criminal justice system.

The chapters were interesting, varied, and thought provoking. Themes include violence, sexual abuse, race relations, drug misuse, educational and occupational opportunities to name a few.

What I took from reading this book includes but is not limited to the following:
• Friendships and friendship groups in prison can be safety in numbers but also a bind that is difficult to shake off and often not worth the trouble.
• Family and friends on the outside can be a hindrance if they are not supportive. At worse can even intentionally sabotage the inmate's case or progress
• The importance of providing fit for purpose educational and training opportunities cannot be stressed highly enough; funding services that benefits the groups it is aimed at, who require it most, is crucial.
• Helping inmates to reintegrate back into society is essential, doing so in practical ways rather than tick box exercises is necessary. Cutting corners, putting unnecessary blockers in processes is detrimental and a waste of time and money for all involved.
• Changing public perception about who is an ex - offender should be a continual work in progress. Stereotypes are not always the reality. But widely held beliefs and long established prejudices makes it clear that there are few circumstances when it pays to disclose being an ex offender.

• It made me consider a number of questions on the purpose of prisons
• What does rehabilitation mean?
• To reform, educate, train?
• What is incarceration in its present format supposed to achieve?
• What are the benefits to the inmate and the wider community?

I don't have any firm answers to the questions I've posed but know it's evident that things must change. The system as it is, benefits no individual, community, or government institution. Given the prison budget and the number of enquiries already undertaken, it would seem obvious that overhauling in a structured way after an evidenced based needs review is well overdue.

I wouldn't say that Breakfast at Bronzefield was an eye opener as I knew some of this already, but it really shone a spotlight on areas that I was hazy on the details of and gave context to those inflammatory newspaper headlines. It was well researched, with lots of facts to drive the discourse or support the author's findings.

In writing this memoir, Sophie Campbell has been honest about her background, her life and the learning she obtained from this experience. It made me pause and think how fragile life is, and how the impact of one event can have repercussions on your present and future, infact life long damaging consequences if you are an ex-offender.

Are you overwhelmed or do you overcome?

Thankfully in this case, Sophie has beaten the odds by not reoffending, not being limited by the label of ex-offender and making progress in her life. Congratulations on taking the initiative and making this experience your past and not letting it define your now and blighting your future.

I'm just sorry that the system doesn't help female and male inmates the way it should.

My only criticism would be due to the focus on themes there were darting timelines and sometimes it was confusing if I already heard about this event or it had happened multiple times. And I would have preferred footnotes rather than endnotes as that would have made it easier to read the references when cited. But these are my minor observations and might not be an issue for other readers.

My thanks to the author and Netgalley for a digital copy of the book in exchange for a candid review.

Was this review helpful?

Excellent book ! A fantastic look into women's incarceration. Sad, but true. Everyone should have to read this.

Was this review helpful?

Sophie Campbell had been sent to Bronzefield Prison, the largest women’s prison in England while waiting on remand to appear in court accused of GBH and assaulting a police officer. This is her story of prison life and her life after serving a two-year sentence.
There is a little about her early teenage years, where you find out about her home life and first massive leap to win a scholarship to attend a fee-paying school. Sophie wasn’t someone even then, who would fall in step with the life she had been born into. I was already admiring this young girl.
I don’t know the circumstances of the GBH offence and it isn’t my place to make judgement, that has already been done. This is her story and what prison life is really like, nothing fluffed up to make it juicy, just bare honest facts. I have read a couple of books written by men prisoners but this is my first look at prison life from a woman’s point of view.
Now Sophie is no-ones pushover, she is determined from the start that she won’t take anyone’s crap. Give an inch and you just never get back up. She has her run-ins with inmates and prison officers too but mainly the story is about daily life. The basic needs and rights that are not always met sometimes because what is promised just isn’t there or simply someone can just say no.
It is clear Sophie wants to make things better for inmates, their right to further their education and give prisoners a chance of making a living when they are released. What an advocate she is, not only does she want these things to change, she backs everything with documentation, research and law.
I think some the hardest times she faces is when she is released from prison. It would have been all too easy to lay down, give up and end up back inside but she is a fighter. I mean that in the best possible way. There is an energy about her that is contagious that made me want to shout, ‘Go for it, never give up.
The book is well written and kept me wanting to know what came next for her. I wish this lady every success in her future. Thanks to the author for a copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.

Was this review helpful?

This is an eye opening book on what it's like to be a female prisoner in the UK. It is an honest and raw memoir by Sophie Campbell (a pseudonym) that is obvious by her language that she has received an excellent education. It has a lot of narrative of her time in prison but the book is also heavy on research and data. The author has a lot of suggestions on prison reform and the specific challenges that female prisoners face. Although the subject matter is really heavy, I found the book really easy to read and very interesting.

Was this review helpful?

An eye opening read. The author’s account of prison life was interesting and informative. I had no idea that this amount of mistreatment and fighting happened in prison. I think that a lot could be learnt about how to improve our prison system.

Thank you to Netgalley for my copy.

Was this review helpful?

When I first read the title “Breakfast at Bronzefiekd,” I assassins that this book would read like a Downton Abbey protégé. (I’m an American and don’t know the names of the prisons in England, but I love all things British, including the popular BBC show.) However, I quickly learned that this was a personal story of the author’s time in prison.
As a fan of Orange is the New Black, I consumed this book like it was a second helping of one of my favorite shows.
Sophie Campbell paints an eye-opening account of her own journey locked up in Bronzefield Prison. The reader gets a detailed glimpse into the unfortunate treatment of the women housed at this penitentiary. Also, the description of the facility’s insides are so thorough that one feels as though they are locked up right with Ms. Campbell. I could not put this book down!
For fans of prison accounts, and for those who admire the British culture, this book is a must-read. In addition, voices of the civil rights movement and social injustice may want to dive deep with the author into Sophie’s world, as depicted in this amazing book.

Was this review helpful?

Breakfast at Bronzefield is an exceptionally important book.

Sophie Campbell (pseudonym) shares her experiences of living in HMP Bronzefield, a prison in the UK.

Campbell speaks on many issues within this timely and important book.

To draw out a few for the purposes of this review, the author highlights
- The prevalence of sexual assault and harassment in prisons
- The exploitation of prison labour by the garment industry in the UK
- The flawed one-size-fits-all approach to rehabilitation
- The lack of opportunity for people, while living in prison and upon their release
- The societal prejudices faced by people leaving prison
- The impact of women’s imprisonment on wider society (with their children being placed in care, for example)
- The blatant disregard for humanity when it comes to the treatment of people living in prison

Sophie Campbell also speaks about her experiences upon leaving prison and shares moments at which she became extremely vulnerable.

She speaks about how the structure of the system forced her, as it does to many other women leaving prison, into a position of extreme vulnerability.

I think it is vital that we continue to hear the voices of women with lived experience of the justice system.

It is essential that their stories are believed, supported and uplifted.

I hope the success of Campbell’s memoir will pave the way for more women to speak about their experiences of living in prison. I also hope it will allow these women to speak on other issues too, and that their voices will be continually uplifted.

Women’s imprisonment is a feminist issue, and the treatment of women in prison is a human rights issue.

When we frame these issues in this way, it helps others to see how inherently flawed the system is and how vital reform is.

I hope that policymakers and politicians will read Breakfast at Bronzefield and use the learning they gain from it, along with that which they gain from listening to the voices of other people who have experience of the criminal justice system, to inform future social and criminal justice policies.

I thank Sophie Campbell for sharing her story. I applaud her for speaking out on these issues.

I admire her for having the perseverance to self-publish when asked by publishing houses to draw greater attention to racism in prisons in order to appeal to their own stereotypes.

There is so much in the book to unpack, digest and sit with. A month after reading it, I’m still doing this.

I can only ask that you put Breakfast at Bronzefield on your virtual tbr, ask your library to stock a copy or order a copy for your own bookshelf.

Breakfast at Bronzefield is a must-read for anyone interested in learning more about women’s experiences of the criminal justice system. It would make an excellent book club pick.

Was this review helpful?

Many former prisoners that came out of prison as a better person, who made radical steps in starting a new life, publish their memoirs. Breakfast at Bronzefield by former public schoolgirl Sophie Campbell is the first one I read that gives an insider's view in the UK female prison system. HMP Bronzefield is the largest, notorious for sexual assaults, drug abuse, and staff that looks the other way. Despite signing an NDA, Sophie took the risk of maintaining a diary throughout her imprisonment to document her experiences.

An extensive narrative, in my opinion, way too detailed is the result. Breakfast at Bronzefield starts on the day of entering the prison and ends with the process of getting finances for a bachelor's degree university career as a kind of Sophie 2.0. The book is more than just a memoir. It's backed up by research and statistics on recidivism, substance abuse, medical prescribing, prostitution, etc. 

Backed up by recent research and statistics, Breakfast at Bronzefield offers a powerful glimpse into a world few see: riots; unethical medical prescribing; and prison barons – key figures behind prostitution and drug-smuggling. Sophie defies the stigma of female prisoners as being uneducated women of color, willing to compensate lack of finances with prostitution with inmates or guards, chanceless in the outside world.

Was this review helpful?

“Prohibiting women from contacting the media ought to be revoked. I believe the public has a right to know what goes on inside prisons and should not have to wait until memoirs are published to gain an accurate picture of the nature of things.”

This is the account of Sophie Campbell, who details her experiences in 2 of Britain’s women’s prisons for us in this memoir-cum-comprehensive, thought-provoking insight.

“Having walked out of prison homeless, with no support network and no assistance from either the prison or the National Probation Service, I should by all accounts have ended up back inside, or even dead: 79 per cent of offenders who are released from prison homeless go on to be reconvicted within the year,2 and female prisoners are 69 times more likely to die in the week following their release from prison, compared to women in the general population.”

I have read so many prison books, and true crime books, but all written from the perspective of the jailor, the doctor, the journalist etc...this is the first memoir I’ve read of a prisoner behind the gate and for that reason alone I was attracted to this book. When I was lucky enough to receive an ARC in return for an honest review I was absolutely chuffed, and excited to read.

The book delves into many areas of prison politics: education, women’s rights, BAME prisoners, economics, family life, bitchy girl gangs, work in prisons, the judicial system, the prison audit programme, contractulisation of feeding inmates, drugs, pharmaceuticals (yes there’s a difference...but which one is worse?), prison release and rehabilitation, the flaws of the probation service and the difficulty in securing housing and a job upon release.

Sophie does not detail the nature of her crime - in fact, I realized rapidly early on that she wasn’t going to - and at first this disappointed me. However, as I progressed through the book, I completely realized why she doesn’t share this information. Too often, people are only interested in prison leavers’ experiences because they want to learn what crime they committed, what led them to do it, if they feel remorse etc. Sophie tells of times where visitors to the prison strike up a conversation with her, only to be blatantly only interested in finding out what crime she had committed to get herself in there, rather than hearing about her experiences in prison. This book corrects that, and it is clearly a conscious decision to use this book to describe Sophie the individual, Sophie the prison survivor, Sophie the ambitious and striving young woman and not Sophie the criminal.

There are so many insights in here that have made me completely rethink my attitudes to prison life, and there are so many insights that have absolutely shocked me and educated me on the disgusting failures of our penal system. The book is balanced with many interesting facts and statistics, and a lot of hard work has gone into making this book not just an honest recount, but a factual one too. I was horrified to learn of prisoners going to bed hungry ( “It always seemed incredibly ironic to us that the company that owned the prison, Sodexo, had a Stop Hunger Foundation to feed vulnerable people, but seemed to forget about the women entrusted to their care as not one night went by when someone didn’t go to bed hungry.”) and amazed to learn that Magistrates require zero ..yes training to be a judge..(Worryingly, magistrates aren’t required to have formal qualifications or legal training. Instead, they have to be of good character and have an awareness of social issues. They’re assisted by a clerk, whose primary role is to provide legal advice to the magistrates especially regarding points of law.“). It made me think of the stark differences of men who go inside, who often have women on the outside looking after their children and homes and paying their bills, and women who once they go inside do not have visitors, or people looking after their homes and finances whole they are away. (“when men were released they had friends and family waiting for them outside the gates to collect them, but women, in the majority of the cases, were left to their own devices, carrying their belongings in black plastic bags to the nearest train or bus station.”)

I was particularly interested in Sophie’s accounts of being a BAME prisoner. Interestingly she feels that the calls for more POC to become judges or legal representatives are not necessarily a benefit, and states: “BAME personnel who work in the court system feel the need to distance themselves from defendants that look like them and, in turn, advocate for harsher sentences.”
“I guess when you work in a system where those from an ethnic background are disproportionately more likely to be tried and convicted in the Crown Court, they probably feel the need to draw the line between them and you.”
“A few women I met in prison, from a range of ethnic backgrounds, were represented by those who looked like them, and they never said to me, ‘I feel so lucky to be represented by one of my own.’”

The insight into leaving prison and the restrictions and lack of help amazed me as much as the insights into prison life. Thank god Sophie has courage, enthusiasm, and self belief....thanks to her own sheer determination and effort she has managed to not allow her stint in prison to stop her from achieving, nor to keep her from earning money or a roof over her head, and has even gone on to study at university for a second time. I think if she had not got the oomph that she so clearly posses then this could have been a very different tale. As Sophie says: “they were quick to ask for the name of the prison or probation officer that had helped me to sort my life out. Dozens of times, I had to insist that there was no one in the background helping me. Like a lot of women who leave prison, I managed to sort my life out all on my own.”

Thank you for writing this book it has educated me beyond belief.

Was this review helpful?

As a former inmate of Bronzefield, the United Kingdom's largest female prison, "Sophie" writes a no-holds barred account of the the injustices and the struggle she encountered during her prison time. Eye-opening and honest, this book documents what is faced both during women's prison terms and the challenges after being released. Well written and sensitive, recommended reading.

Was this review helpful?

Breakfast at bronzefield is a candid account of one woman’s experience being incarcerated in HMP Bronzefield.
Sophie Campbell writes frankly and eloquently about her two years spent in this woman’s prison, a memoir that I managed to read in two sittings. In providing the reader with such raw and brutal evidence of life behind bars, she dispels any myths you might hold about a population of women who find themselves in such a situation. Her voice speaks out loud and clear about an establishment that indoctrinates women to believe that a lifetime of dependency upon violent men, subjected to poverty, low paid employment/state benefits and facing addiction issues as well as being poorly educated is all they are destined for. Caught in a vicious circle of reoffending that is impossible to break for some, these women are at the mercy of a system hell bent on reinforcing stereotypes. Rehabilitation. What Rehabilitation?? Having read Chris Atkins account of life in a men’s prison in ‘A bit of a Stretch’ I knew Sophie’s memoir would confirm my belief that the prison system is one that is deeply flawed but I still managed to find her experiences shocking and eye opening. As she herself says it’s either sink or swim in such a hostile environment so her capacity for self sufficiency combined with a steely will to survive comes across in all her anecdotes.
Reading Sophie’s memoir made me feel like she was forever walking into a lions den, a place where you’d constantly need your wits about you and where only the strongest survive. A place where friendships are illusory and you can only really show loyalty to yourself. A place where lying is necessary and commonplace in order to either procure the things you need or as a means to reducing your sentence.
Sophie is clearly one of life’s survivors and determined to make her own luck in the world and her tenacity is admirable. Being well educated and having been in employment prior to her time in prison almost proves an obstacle as she came up against those in authority time and time again. Railing against what I can only describe as a system full of petty rules and regulations,with some sounding frankly ludicrous I could sympathise with her reactive behaviour which landed her in segregation. The system as she describes it is often unfathomable, with a lack of basic information making prisoners jump through hoops only to find requests denied, or simply lost in the prison labyrinth. Her frustration at a system that is counter productive and unjust, allowing to officers to act with impunity comes across in every page that you read. Everyone is tarred with the same brush whether you are a habitual offender or a first timer.
I appreciate that Sophie acknowledges she was there for a reason but her exposure of some of the practices and behaviour of staff is deeply deeply disturbing. Abuse of prisoners, both verbal and sexual by staff seems to be par for the course alongside inherent racism and racial stereotyping. Lying about your own mental health and relying on prescription drugs is yet another worrying aspect of prison life as is the lack of educational opportunities.
Although much of this memoir is focused on Sophie’s time inside Bronzefield and Downview I found her experience of leaving prison and finding suitable accommodation highlighted even more failings which left me gobsmacked. Her account of the process of re entering normal life was most enlightening both on a personal level and for women as a whole.
With statistics that underpin her narrative, making the reality depressing reading, this memoir is a sad reflection of women’s prisons today and an ongoing inability to tackle the root causes of crime. From a social policy point of view being given an insider’s thoughts on how improvements could be made is perhaps the most crucial aspect of this memoir, hopefully prompting wider debate.
I fully appreciate having the chance to learn of Sophie’s experiences and would highly recommend this book.

Was this review helpful?

2020; Sophie Campbell Books

HMP Bronzefield, the UK’s largest women’s prison: notorious for bent screws and drugs:

But what’s the truth behind the headlines?

Forced into signing an NDA when she arrived there on remand, former public schoolgirl Sophie risked extra time on her sentence by documenting her experiences of life inside.

Backed up by recent research and statistics, Breakfast at Bronzefield offers a powerful glimpse into a world few see: riots; unethical medical prescribing; and prison barons – key figures behind prostitution and drug-smuggling.

In a world where anything goes and being rehabilitated simply means saying ‘sorry’ right up until you’re released, how will Sophie cope on the outside, where she is expected to play by different rules? Will she succeed in creating the life she wants? Or, like most prisoners, will she end up back where she started?
(Synopsis from book)

Sophie Campbell is the pseudonym for the writer behind Breakfast at Bronzefield. Taking a risk to expose what really goes on at HRM Bronzefield, Campbell writes about her experiences as an inmate. It is a well-written story, and explains about the Britain correction system. I don't read a lot of books or memoirs on prisons so this was new-ish for me. When Campbell reached out to me to read her book, I was interested as I am reading more true crime books. I did find my attention waning at times, but that was more of my own mood than the book. What I did like about this book, was that it wasn't about a gang member or murderer. Campbell was charged with violence, but was not in the "criminal" lifestyle so her experience was interesting. She didn't have experience before going in.

***I received a complimentary copy of this ebook from the author through NetGalley, and provided a finished paper copy. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.***

Was this review helpful?

The author's account of her time in prison in the U.K.'s largest women's prison is eye-opening. If she hadn't taken the risk in writing this, these injustices wouldn't be public knowledge. The system doesn't even provide these women with the most basic of rights. It was heartbreaking to read knowing that so many have been failed by this system.

Was this review helpful?

I enjoyed this book. It was interesting to learn a little bit about the prisons in the UK and how they differ from the USA prisons. there was a few terms i wasn't familiar with which I'm assuming was slang, but most of the time either the author explained the slang or it was relatively easy to figure out the meaning.

Was this review helpful?

An interesting read about the reality, prejudices and institutionalised neglect inside women's prisons. The style of writing lends an authenticity to the messages being given. This isn't a glossy, smoothly-written memoir being used to make a political point. Instead it looks and sounds like the ordinary words of an ordinary woman [albeit one who achieves extraordinary things] and strikes true as a result.

Was this review helpful?

Don’t be fooled by the stunning cover design, Breakfast at Bronzefield is anything but a fluffy read,..

Sophie (not the author's real name) discusses her experience inside one of the UK's most notorious women’s prisons. Noting that she was made to sign an NDA on her way into the building she writes about her experiences in an exposé of the criminal justice system and female prisons in Great Britain.

She gives an honest portrayal of the systematic failures women in this country must endure and attempt to survive whilst completing their sentences. In address these failures she reminded me of Cash Carraway and 'Skint Estate' in that the poorest people on the lowest rung of the social ladder are given the least support when they truly need it. Sophie hammers home the adequate lack of assistance given to prisoners, especially due to the Conservative party cuts made by David Cameron's cabinet.

This book will make you angry; the female prison system in the UK needs to be overhauled and holistic support given to these women who have suffered on the inside.

Was this review helpful?

I couldn’t wait to read Breakfast at Bronzefield by Sophie Campbell. Many of us are curious about what goes on in a women’s prison, aren’t we? Who isn’t a fan of those gripping TV shows, ‘Prisoner', 'Orange is The New Black' or ‘Wenworth'?

Sophie holds nothing back in this candid memoir of her time as a prisoner, she exposes the abuse that occurs in two women’s prisons in the UK. She is a well educated and a fiercely determined woman who is not going to let this bump in the road stop her to lead the life she wants.

The author is honest to admit in prison she used physical violence to settle grievances with prison officers and fellow inmates, she believed in standing up for her rights. Sometimes it was a struggle, as basic human necessities would be denied to her just because an officer held a grudge and this would be when she would lash out.

Corruption, lack of education services available in prison, stereotyping, lack of food, prison wages, violence and drugs are some of the subjects discussed in the book.

Sophie reveals there is a huge lack of support, to assist with accommodation and finances when the women are released which is part of the problem many of the women end up back in prison.

A intriguing and eye opening look at the UK prison system backed up with informative statistics and intensive research which must of taken a considerable amount of effort and time to document.

I wish to thank the author Sophie Campbell & Netgalley for an advanced copy of Breakfast At Bronzefield in return for an honest review. Sophie I sincerely wish you the best of luck with your writing career and hope you find it successful.

Was this review helpful?

Firstly I want to start by thanking the author for getting in touch about this book #gifted, I love a memoir and after reading a book about female prisons earlier in the year I wanted to learn more.
The is a memoir of 'Sophie's' time in Bronzefield prison, we know her crime, but not the ins and outs and I think this was deliberate so it didn't define her as a person and no judgement could happen that may take away from the message within this book.
This is not just a memoir, but we find out stats about females in prison, their rehabilitation struggles as well the ins and outs of everyday life. We learn the tough choices some prisoners have to take to get by and the lack of any support shown to them on release.
I found this fascinating, although at times it did feel a bit repetitive, but when you are stuck within the same walls for years, I imagine it felt that way for Sophie too!
I would recommend reading this, to learn more and I liked the suggestions Sophie spoke about to improve the chances for prisoners and female ones specifically

Was this review helpful?

Breakfast at Bronzefield is a memoir by Sophie Campbell, a psydonym, of her time incarcerated in Bronzefield Prison.

This is such an honest account into the prison system and describes the injustice, politics and daily struggles of life within a women prison. Sophie doesn’t shy away from exposing details of her time here, even if this doesn’t reflect her in the best light. I felt an emotional connection to her even without ever being in a situation like this.

Sophie highlights the little or no support available to women in terms of rehabilitation with a lot of time going to male prisoners, which highlights the high return rate of prisoners.

This is a honest and passionate insight in to lie within a women prison and it discusses topics that need to be discussed further in order to help a seemingly never ending cycle.
Thank you to Netgalley and Sophie Campbell books for my Arc in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Absolutely loved this memoir. Such a necessary book to give us a peek into the life of a prisoner from the inside. Well written and powerful. Pick up this amazing book and become lost in a world we normally don't see. Happy reading!

Was this review helpful?

As much as I love reading books like this on the inside of prisons, this one was slightly different. I loved hearing the stories of what sophie and the other prisoners got up to but it went into statistics and what actually happens that we never hear about or is never on the news. As much as it opens our eyes to how prisoners are being treated by the police, courts and guards etc it also shows what the prisoners themselves get up when they dont get their own way or get pushed around which doesnt help matters either lol a good insight into the other side of the bars, chapters were a bit long but other than that a good read

Was this review helpful?

This was such an insightful read. Despite some of the content and the subject matter I enjoyed it. Sophie, the author, although not her real name, finds herself in prison. She is detained in Bronzefield women's prison, the largest female prison in the UK. We are not give the details of her crime, but we are given plenty of information of her life inside and of the treatment she endures as she perilously documents all she witnesses happening around her during her time there. She had a tough childhood, raised in a home where substance abuse was common place. She was no angel and described many incidents where she used bad behaviour and manipulation to get her own was in prison. Her account highlighted the shortcomings of the UK prison system, a system that we are well aware of its need for reform. Rehabilitation is practically non existent and inmates and expected to behave, do their time and are then released into society again without any coping skills or training to help improve their societal existence. I learned a lot from this book. It provided plenty of food for thought.

Was this review helpful?

An amazing eloquently written true life story. Sophie Campbell, a pseudonym, gives an honest account of her time in prison. At the age of 14 she raised the money to pay for GCSES. She managed to get a scholarship to study for her A levels. Her home life had not been a bed of roses. Both parents were into drugs. Sophie decided to cut her family out of her life. Sophie tells her story leaving nothing out. Sophie is sent to prison, firstly on remand whilst waiting for her sentence. She is sent to the notorious female prison Bronzefield and then Downview. Sophie quickly learns the ropes. Drugs are rife, most of the prison wardens are bent. She explains why she gets herself into trouble. It's for survival and if she wants to be listened to by the prison officers. There are always the ongoing battles between the women. Life in prison is not as cushy as some people think. She gives the reader loads of facts and figures which she has backed up in bibliographic references at the end. It is evident as I read it that things need to change in the womens prisons. There is very little help to educate yourself. No access to the internet. As she comes up to her release date she starts to see various people from different organizations that should help her when she gets out. Finding her somewhere to live. Without an address on discharge you will be readmitted. It is not divulged why she is in prison, apart from the fact that she was in for GBH, Grievous Bodily Harm. Because of this she is considered dangerous and is on MAPPA (Multi agency public protection arrangements), meaning they should find her accommodation. They are discharged with the grand sum of £46, which most prisoners will spend this getting to see their probation officer who is usually miles away and has to be seen on the day of discharge. Needless to say they didn't find her anywhere. She gave her dad's address and went to stay there until she could get a room somewhere. Her dad had not changed. This womans courage and tenacity is incredible. Statistics are high that offenders will reoffend. This was not on Sophies radar. To find out how this courageous lady managed two years in prison and then came out and carried out what she wanted to do, a degree, read this brutally honest book. I admire her and I loved the book. I wish her every success in the future. Thank you to the author and NetGalley for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

This was an eye-opening account of the bleak and unflinchingly painful works inside female prisons; covering a wide range of issues including assault, education, race, sexuality, gender, bureaucracy, homing and social issues, and drugs, there are certainly a lot of hefty topics to get through.

I already had a lot of thoughts about the prison system in general, but this completely lifted the lid on just how unsupportive and borderline dangerous this system is ran, and certainly unproductive in helping inmates in their reformation and reintegration back into society.

I loved the way this was written; Ms Campbell not only draws from her own personal experiences but clearly well-researched factual information to truly show how this system fails inmates. My only criticism would be that sometimes the story loses its chronological order, which means that the timeline can sometimes appear inconsistent and confusing.

This is a gritty, no-holds-barred account of life inside the complex prison system, and it is a tremendous achievement to Ms Campbell’s spirit that she has managed to escape and improve her life in the process.

Find my full review on my blog:

Was this review helpful?

Thank you for my ARC Sorry but unfortunately due to recent events I have lost my reading mojo. When it returns this book will be top of my list and I will leave my review in the usual places

Was this review helpful?

I am always interested in reading about the prison system and people's experiences during their time serving a sentence. As a law abiding citizen I hope that I will never get sent to prison because I don't think I would be able to cope, especially after reading Sophie Campbell's 'Breakfast at Bronzefield'.

Sophie Campbell (pseudonym) was incarcerated at HMP Bronzefield for grievously bodily harm and assaulting a police officer. She is an educated young black woman and is a minority in the prison system, she details the unfairness and racism that goes on behind bars.

This is a very honest memoir it's not glorified and the author even acknowledge s the fact that her persona in prison had to or she would have been deemed weak and vulnerable leaving her as a target to the bent officers and other inmates.
Sophie doesn't shy away from the fact that she did some things in prison that wouldn't be acceptable outside prison, but inside it got her moved to a different block or segradation which is what she wanted.
She lets you understand how corrupt it is prison, with officers turning a blind eye, making up things that didn't happen and even officers having relationships with the prisoners.

The book focuses a lot on education and the fact that Sophie has been to university, whereas a lot of the women are illiterate. There is lots of courses for the women to get an education but it's poorly run and women are made to feel ashamed for trying to better themselves.

Sophie is very determined never to go back to prison and become a statistic. It's her determination that makes her succeed. The probation officers are not helpful with housing and giving just under £50 it's no wonder so many women reoffend.

This is a very insightful memoir on HMP Bronzefield and HMP Downview where Sophie was transferred to. It has a great balance of subjects and statistics. Sophie sometimes comes across as 'stand offish' but actually reflecting on it she is very strong woman, she knows that is only her looking out for herself and she must do everything it takes.
Definitely recommend reading.

Was this review helpful?

Breakfast at Bronzefield is an unflinchingly honest look into the British prison system written by a young women who lived through its atrocities. Sophie Campbell provides us with an inside look at HMP Bronzefield, the UK’s largest women’s prison.

Breakfast at Bronzefield is a candid memoir of her time as a prisoner, she exposes the abuse that occurs in two women’s prisons in the UK, Bronzefield and Downview. As a fan of not only TV dramas such as 'Orange is The New Black' or ‘Wenworth' but also an avid true crime reader I was eager to begin reading Breakfast at Bronzefield by Sophie Campbell. The truth of the matter is sometimes fact is scarier then fiction. Breakfast at Bronzefield as it’s a very rare read that offers what life is really like in prison for a woman.

Breakfast is both provocative and thoughtprovoking. It is also eye opening and will leave you utterly unerved by the facts of what truly happens behind prison doors.

I recieved a digital copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Breakfast at Bronzefield is an incredible insight into the female prison system in the UK, something I had previously read little to nothing about. Sophie presents the information clearly and accessibly. It would be impossible to read this book without learning something.
It's an incredibly readable book and a really great way for anyone to begin understanding the prison system.
I particularly enjoyed Sophie's personal insight into the changes in her behaviour and thinking that happened in order for her to survive.

Was this review helpful?

Breakfast at Bronzefield is a captivating and insightful read about Sophie Campbell's (a pseudonym) experience as a prisoner incarcerated at HMP Bronzefield, the UK's largest female prison.
Sophie shares her riveting story of what it is like to be a minority female, and the conflicts she faced during her time not only in prison but once released as well.
Her account highlights the significant injustice that many prisoners face revealing statistics and her own personal experience.
An eye opening account that needs to be read!

Thank you to NetGalley and Sophie Campbell Books for an arc of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Sophie's memoir is a comprehensive account of her time in prison. She provides us with a first hand look into what life on the inside is like. She makes it clear why we need reform and shares examples to help strengthen her argument. I have read many books about prison life but this one seemed different, more powerful. She talks about her own mishaps in prison and how she grew from them. It would have been interesting to know why she was in prison in the first place, though I believe her message was to show why reform is needed and keep some of the focus off of her. Thank you to NetGalley and Sophie Campbell Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

A really interesting and well-researched examination of the treatment of women through the criminal justice system and in and out of prison. I entirely understand the author’s desire for anonymity, but it was difficult to place their experience in context (MAPPA status, probation etc) without knowing a little more about their crime – but as she says, it’s her business, and I would do the same in her position as an author! I thought their description of taking on a v different persona in prison and the desensitisation to violence in prison particularly interesting and well articulated.

Was this review helpful?

I absolutely loved reading this book - it tackled a topic I have very little knowledge about and was a real insight into life inside from the perspective of a young black woman. I found myself questioning some of Campbell's anecdotes, which just goes to show how much I needed to read her book, and how my ignorance of both the prison system, and the treatment of BAME people within prison needed addressing. It's a compelling read, thoroughly recommended.

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: