EX-CON Frankie Owens’ beginner’s guide to prison has been nominated for a literary award.
Written during his own six month spell at HMP Winchester, The Little Book of Prison, aims to help other first time lags survive those tough first few months.
The 38-year-old says he has been “honoured” to have his work put forward for the People’s Book Prize.
“The ultimate aim is that is gets into the hands of more people, to help more people and educate more of society,” he said.
“Reality is never going to be as hideous as what’s in your head. I have had communication from parents and loved ones, as well as those going in, that say it really helped calm them.”
The guide also lists five golden rules to surviving life behind bars, including “never lose your cool” and “be positive”.
But Frankie, who previously lived in Meriden, also hopes to dispel other common myths surrounding prison.
“The stereotypes need to be questioned. The old ‘prisons are like holiday camps’.
“I was brought up with holidays camps and I can tell you, they’re polar opposites.
“Unless your ambition is to be locked up in what is basically your own toilet for 23 hours a day, it’s not an easy ride.”
With a masters degree, a successful career in hospitality, and a loving family, Frankie seemed to have it all.
But with the breakdown of his marriage, he descended into drink and drugs and following 30 arrests within a few months, was sentenced to six months behind bars.
“As a first-time offender you’re completely clueless. I could have really done with this back then.”
Voted for by the public, if successful, Frankie’s book will join People’s Book Prize winners such as comedian David Walliam’s Mr Stink and Evening Standard reporter David Cohen’s Calling London.
To vote for Frankie, visit www.peoplesbookprize.com before February 28.