Former Wellingborough prison officer tells story of life inside

Paul Goss
Paul Goss

A former officer at prisons including Wellingborough has put pen to paper to tell some of the tales of life inside.

Paul Goss, who worked in the prison service for about 20 years, has now published the series of short stories.

Everybody involved, both prisoners and officers, is anonymous, but all of the tales – amusing and outrageous – are true.

The book, Behind the Fence, is currently on sale at WH Smith in Kettering and online at Amazon – and Paul has said he was taken aback by the positive reaction he has received from readers.

“I originally wanted to sell 100 copies,” said the 47-year-old. “I did that within the first four or five days. Now I am looking at about 500.

“I used to write to stay awake on night shift. I just used to record all the funny occrrences I got involved with. I didn’t realy ever have a thought I would publish them.

“I wanted to try and write an amusing book, to record the funny things that happened in prison. If you didn’t laugh it could upset you.

“But some of the bad stuff in there is really awful, so I tried to make a balance in the book.”

Paul said there was increasingly a shortage of staff in the prisons, adding that he sustained more injuries in his last three years in the service than in his previous 17.

He suffered with stress towards the end of his time in the prison service, and he added: “You couldn’t pay me enough money to go back.

“I don’t have any regrets, but if I had known then what I know now I wouldn’t have joined.

“I was 24 when I started, as green as the grass and scared of my own shadow – and thrown in with all these prisoners.”