We all did time, staff and prisoners. Each of us had a number; each of us wanted the finality of getting out that gate.
When John Cuffe entered Mountjoy as a young prison officer in May 1978, he stepped back into Victorian times. He knew nothing about jails, apart from what he had seen in black-and-white films on RTÉ: ‘good’ sheriffs and ‘bad’ hombres. He quickly learned that behind bars there is no black and white: the ‘bad’ guy often comes in the guise of officialdom.
Here, he reveals the raw truth of thirty tough years on the inside. Starting out in Portlaoise, then Europe’s top-security prison, he also served in the drug-infested prisoners’ Training Unit and witnessed the Spike Island riot. He counted among his charges the IRA kidnappers of Dutchman Tiede Herrema, the gangsters implicated in Veronica Guerin’s murder and Dean Lyons, wrongly accused of the 1997 Grangegorman killings. Join him on a vivid, eye-opening journey through the belly of an archaic and chaotic beast.
He exposes the secrets behind the prison walls where, forgotten and neglected, the accused and their keepers wrestle for air.