Cover 9781785904714screwed

When Daniel Khalife escaped from Wandsworth in September 2023, the nation got a glimpse into the heart of the prison system, and what they saw there was chaos. This came as no surprise to Ian Acheson, who had spent years warning of the disasters to come.

Screwed is the inside story of the collapse of His Majesty’s Prison Service, told by someone who had a front-row seat to it all. Acheson went from officer to Governor in less than a decade, and during that time he witnessed the uniformed organisation he was proud to serve crumble into lethal disarray. This uncompromisingly brutal account exposes the politics and operational decisions that have driven our prisons to a state where rats roam freely, prisoners are forced to use slop buckets, violence and intimidation are normalised and it is easier to get a bag of heroin than a bar of soap.

Concluding that the crisis is not unfixable, however, Acheson outlines a new corporate culture and mission that puts its faith in the officers who walk the landings every day: order restored, potential rescued, society safeguarded.


“Pithy, provocative, justifiably angry and informed by years of hard experience – Acheson cares passionately about criminal justice and doesn’t care who he might offend in his fight to bring some sense and clarity back to the shameful dystopia that is the British prison system.”

Rory Stewart, former UK Prisons Minister

Screwed is a must-read for anyone with a genuine interest in the British prison system, which is failing prisoners, staff, victims and the public alike. Ian Acheson’s book explains those failings with candour and honesty, so for that I thank him.”

David Berridge, former prison officer and author of Inside Parkhurst

“As a former prison Governor, Ian Acheson walked the walk long before he put pen to paper. Screwed is filled with insight, common sense, wisdom and integrity, as well as a political understanding about what needs to be done to improve the shocking and abysmal state of our prisons.”

David Wilson, Emeritus Professor of Criminology at Birmingham City University

“Exceptional for its brutal honesty, its insight and not least its shameless ability to bark absolute truth and reality to power.”

Mark Leech, editor, The Prisons Handbook for England and Wales
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  • Screwed
  • Hardback, 304 pages
  • ISBN: 9781785904714
  • 11 April 2024
  • £20.00
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  • Screwed
  • eBook
  • ISBN: 9781785905391
  • 11 April 2024
  • £14.99
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