Bobby Cummines

The Parkhurst Years
  • The Parkhurst Years

  • ‘The next stage meant that there was no going back. An Irish prisoner stepped forward and slipped a blade into my hand. I felt the ice cold metal and pressed it against the governor’s cheek. I thought to myself: would they ever release me after this?’

    Bobby Cummines was only 28 when he passed through the grim gates of Parkhurst, Britain’s Alcatraz, as a category-A prisoner with a host of crimes to his name. Joining the most notorious gangsters and criminals of the day – from the Krays, the Yorkshire Ripper and Charles Bronson, to high ranking members of the IRA – nothing could have prepared him for the brutal regime, violent convicts, vindictive screws and riots on the inside. It’s the story of Britain’s most hellish prison, from one of its hardest inmates.

At 16, Bobby Cummines became one of the youngest people in Britain to be convicted of carrying a sawn-off shotgun. He quickly became a gangland leader and was convicted of a number of serious offences including manslaughter and bank robbery. After serving 12 years in many of the UK's maximum security prisons, he went on to become a founder member and chief executive of UNLOCK, a charity which helps people with criminal convictions reintegrate into society. He is also a co-founder of Midas which helps young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Bobby is one of the UK's leading penal reformers and has advised Ministers and Judges as well as public and private sector agencies on prison and rehabilitation. His passion is talking to young people in schools and colleges, deterring them from what they might perceive as a glamorous lifestyle by highlighting the harsh realities of crime and prison. This is his first book.