The Best Little Prison In Britain is a hilarious look at life behind bars – Irish Mirror

Of all the weird crimes I’ve heard of, whacking your elderly mother over the head with a rolled up Hello! magazine is up there. You really couldn’t make it up.

I wonder what mother and son had ­argued about for her to deserve such a punishment? Reading too many Meghan Markle fashion articles?

Nonetheless, Andrew Fielding found himself on his fourth visit to the Isle Of Man’s prison in Jurby.

“Hokey cokey, you’ve been with us ­before haven’t you?” trilled the prison officer. You’d think Andrew was checking in to a hotel. Then off he popped to the induction wing to “acclimatise”.

This was ITV’s The Best Little Prison In Britain? on Wednesday, which visited the Isle of Man’s lock-up. It boasts some of the harshest sentences in Britain.

Other trivial misdemeanours that put people behind bars there were, according to inmates, attacking a seagull, shouting in the street and stealing a pram. Presumably an empty one.

“It’s generally harder on all crime,” said prison officer Maggie.

Harsh sentences there may be but it did look a lot more fun than it should.

One of the 150 inmates described it as “a mental institution slash youth club”.

The prison in Jurby on the Isle of Man boasts some of the harshest sentences in Britain (pictured: George “Stores” The Stores Officer)

There’s a swanky sports hall, beautiful gardens, education centre, fully stocked one-stop shop and gym and every inmate had their own cell.

“The world’s gone soft, it’s all nicey nicey,” said the prison’s brilliantly scathing head of security Margo Cain. “They’ve got no worries about bills, the kids or the wife. They play pool and darts, they smoke. They buy loads of sweets. It’s too easy.”

Many of the inmates are family and friends as the island has a population of just 85,000

With only 85,000 people on the island, many prisoners were mates or ­relatives. We met Lorraine, in for knife crime, whose brother Jonno was also banged up, as was her on-off boyfriend Goldie, for ABH. Lorraine and Goldie reckoned they were Bonnie and Clyde. Margo eye-rolled.

This hilarious fly-on-the-wall series was starting to feel more like a sitcom than a documentary with its amused voiceover.

(From left to right) Ross McWhinnie Snr – inmate, Leroy Bonnick Deputy – Governor, Bob Malcolm – Governor, Jamie Hall – inmate, Natalie Bayle – Inmate, Margo – Cain Head of Security, Armando Armelii – Wing Officer

Goldie, who has “Thug Life” tattooed across his belly, had decided to represent himself in court and was swotting up on Forensics for Dummies.

One hardman, while doing his in-jail food shop, mentioned: “I do like my Special K with cranberries in it.”

Prisoner Ben had a visit from his nan’s ashes and fist-bumped the pastor. And Lorraine and Goldie had a lovers’ tiff.

But despite the harsh sentences, the prison features a swanky sports hall, a fully stocked one-stop shop and individual cells for every prisoner

Next time we meet a prison officer infamous for crooning with his guitar. Hardly Wormwood Scrubs, is it?

Wing officer Armando said he felt like he was living in a soap opera. I’d call it more of a reality-prison-comedy-drama. Still, I’m in for the long stretch.


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