Troubador Show Me the Prisoner

Released: 01/11/2011

ISBN: 9781780880518

eISBN: 9781780889016

Format: Paperback/eBook

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Show Me the Prisoner

And I'll show you a young man

by

‘The prison authorities constructed a specially fortified cell to contain this 17-stone flesh-biting inmate... all the furniture in his cell had to be bolted to the floor. Prison officers would only approach in teams of four, kitted out in riot helmets and wearing protective clothing, including steel mesh gloves. In case he bites.’

Show Me the Prisoner is written from the perspective of a prison teacher who later served on the prison monitoring body. It covers a 15-year period of involvement in two of Northern Ireland’s prisons during the troubles, when terrorists hogged the limelight.

They met in prison where she taught classes. Now estranged from his family, the young man had spent most of his life either in care or in one or other of Northern Ireland’s prisons.

She set out to help him. He knuckled down and achieved a university place. Time done, he could move on. But was it all too good to be true? ‘Hah,’ predicted a prison officer, ‘If yous teachers think yous are going to change any of them boys, let me tell you...’ Headlines appeared in newspapers and on radio branding him ‘Ulster’s most feared prisoner’, predicting that one day Charlie Conlon would kill somebody. ‘Hannibal’, they dubbed him. Convinced he was the victim of institutional racism and sectarianism, Charlie believed he was guilty only of the rage of the powerless and the downtrodden. Witnessing how the system treated him, did he have a point?

A meeting with his mother and brother and an internet search for relatives in the USA threw interesting new light on his father’s tour in Vietnam. It was then that his mother became evasive. On her deathbed mother and son were reconciled, and for the first time Charlie learned his true identity. But was it all too late?

Show Me the Prisoner is a criminal justice memoir of Irish interest that will appeal to readers who enjoy social history. Patricia is inspired by Sister Helen Prejean’s Dead Man Walking, a story she would love to have written.

Ireland's Big Issue, March-April 2012

GiddyLimits, www.giddylimits.co.uk, March 2012

The Irish News, October 2011

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Patricia Farren

Born in County Cavan, Republic of Ireland Patricia has a degree in Social Science from the Open University. She lived in Dublin and West Africa before

Born in County Cavan, Ireland, Patricia obtained an Open University degree in the Social Sciences. She aand her husband worked in Sierra Leone for two years before returning to Ireland where they went to live in the North of Ireland in 1970. During the early nineties Patricia taught classes in a Northern Ireland prison, Magilligan, before her appointment to the Board of Visitors of Maghaberry prison, where she served in a monitoring role for another twelve years. She is married to Séan Farren, a former minister in the Northern Ireland Executive.

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