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26 Years Behind Bars-bookcover

By: Paul Laxton

26 Years Behind Bars

Pages: 172 Ratings:
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The book is written from the perspective of a participant observer. It is not strictly an autobiography or a history, although it has elements of both, as it would fail without them. It is intended for both the general reader and criminal justice professionals. My intention is that the book is educational, showing the prison system over three decades in the context of social, political and organisational change, in particular the impact of the decline of deference, the growth of public managerialism and the rise of political correctness. The trenchant opinions expressed are based on intellectual rumination, observation of human behaviour, and personal and professional experience. I have deliberately chosen a thematic approach for the book so that explanation and information work in tandem, giving a unique insight into the modern prison service and the workings of the public sector.
Paul Laxton was born in Darwen, Lancashire in December 1952. He was educated at St Mary's College, Blackburn, which was then a Roman Catholic Direct Grant Grammar School for Boys. In 1979, the author graduated from Keele University with a Bachelor of Education degree (upper second class honours) in history and education. He taught at High Schools in King's Lynn and Newcastle-under-Lyme before joining the Prison Service as a uniformed officer in 1984. The author served at nine different jails, rising to hold posts as Deputy Governor at Dover, Ford and Lewes prisons, before retiring in 2010. An active trade unionist, he served on the National Executive Committee of the Prison Governors Association from 2007 and was awarded Distinguished Life Membership on retirement. After leaving the service, he moved to West Yorkshire with his wife, Leonore, where he keeps himself busy as Editor of the Retired Governors Newsletter, Chair of the West Yorkshire Civil Service Pensioners' Alliance, and as an active member of the Campaign for Real Ale. When he can find the time, few things make him happier than a day at the races. Paul Laxton is a lifelong Blackburn Rovers supporter and a member at Lancashire County Cricket Club.
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