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4.0 out of 5 stars Vicky Price no self indulgence Good read Disappointed ending wasn't more
Vicky Price no self indulgence
Good read
Disappointed ending wasn't more personal
Published 1 month ago by mrs mabel a anderson

versus
36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A superficial, inaccurate analysis
The 'facts' quoted in this book are not nearly robust enough. There are many better anaylses than this, and Ms Pryce's self-serving prison memoir should be convicted of crimes against the English language. Part prison diary, part essay on the state of the British penal system, but primarily a monumental exercise in self-indulgence, the book takes any residual sympathy...
Published 13 months ago by M. P. M. Stewart


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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A superficial, inaccurate analysis, 1 Dec 2013
By 
M. P. M. Stewart "frmarcus" (Broadstairs) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The 'facts' quoted in this book are not nearly robust enough. There are many better anaylses than this, and Ms Pryce's self-serving prison memoir should be convicted of crimes against the English language. Part prison diary, part essay on the state of the British penal system, but primarily a monumental exercise in self-indulgence, the book takes any residual sympathy the reader may have for her, and grinds it into the dust of Holloway prison yard. Any hope of a stimulating reading experience dies at the gates.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Really poor. Shallow, weak self serving tripe, 7 Dec 2013
As an economist myself i am generally interested in learning new elements of the science, hearing them from different perspectives. This book early on says that this is not about Vickys time in prison, its an analysis of the economic & social failings of the prison service. Maybe i am just thick and cant read properly but i gave up after 110 pages with 90% of it being very low level tosh about Vicky and how everyone loves her and actually she's totally innocent, should never have been sent to prison etc etc etc and the remaining 10% just quoting other peoples work in the area, i couldn't find a single new idea or new piece of research. Utter utter drivel.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This book is a far greater crime than the one for which she was jailed, 22 Jan 2014
This review is from: Prisonomics: Behind Bars in Britain's Failing Prisons (Kindle Edition)
Imagine how whiney and irritating an account of prison life would flow from the pen of someone who only ended up there because of her spiteful need for revenge.
Well done, you have just imagined this book. I have saved you both time and money.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Lacking in credibility., 5 Aug 2014
In order to make an effective review of the prison system, it really does require some real experience or understanding of it, neither of which can be attributed to a quick stay in an open prison. Examining the human cost when returning to luxury & business after a short stay in an open prison seems ridiculous really. I seriously doubt she was treated equally given her status.

It would have been better to take the experience and then attend other prisons to understand how they operate since they are vastly different to each other and carry their own issues.

I think Ian Hislop said it best, "If you want to save us money, plead guilty and save the cost of trying you".

The one star is really for the fact that all royalties are being donated to a charity.
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43 of 51 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars If you can't do the time, don't do the crime, 3 Jan 2014
By 
MisterHobgoblin (Melbourne) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Prisonomics: Behind Bars in Britain's Failing Prisons (Kindle Edition)
Do you know the most irritating thing about famous people who are sent to prison? It's the way they write a book about it as though they were the first person ever to go to prison. Or perhaps, as though they were the most observant, sensitive, prescient person ever to go to prison.

Here we have an extended essay in self-interest. Vicky Pryce, in some desperate attempt to prove to herself and others that being in prison was not a complete waste of time, has written a book examining the economics of the penal system and its role in society. Because, of course, having been in prison gives her a unique insight into the system. The staff would, no doubt, have shared their records and accounts with her. The governor would doubtless have discussed recidivism rates over tea and biscuits with her. The inmates would have given honest reflection of the alternative approaches to life that they might have pursued if only the pay off matrices, the marginal curves of utility, etc. had been slightly different.

Not.

Vicky Pryce would have gained unique insight into the number of bricks in her cell wall. She would have been able to reflect on the flavour of boiled cabbage. She would have become very good at standing in lines waiting to be frisked. But it is hard to see where her economic insights were going to come from.

No matter, she can write instead about her experiences with the inmates - a group she seems to discuss as though they were a separate and slightly lower species to herself. As to herself, she explains that irrespective of whether people thought her verdict or sentence were fair, she had to abide by the court's ruling. I am pleased she was so magnanimous. She was struck, though, by the senselessness of it all. But this is where her thesis falls apart. Prison is supposed to be senseless. It's a punishment that is intended to deter potential criminals and make an unwise bargain with those who nevertheless engage in criminal behaviour. Sure, you might as well try to address underlying educational and social issues whilst you have people in custody, but Pryce should do well to remember that, first and foremost, she was in prison as a punishment because she had broken the law. And although she purports to want to spare women from such senselessness, let's not forget that she had sought to have it inflicted upon her husband because she wanted to destroy him. Hubris and hypocracy.

So, the formula is to pen a rushed memoir, dotted with statistics that could be found on Google (though not, apparently, whilst in prison as the Internet is not available to inmates), and plenty of puff to explain how great an economist she is and how she bore her punishment with greater stoicism than anyone could have imagined.

OK, there is the odd insight - separating prisoners from their families makes it hard to maintain links. Many prisoners are vulnerable people. But honestly, these are conclusions one could have reached based on five minutes deep thought on the subject. They don't require personal experience of incarceration. And, if anything, her personal experience makes it harder, not easier, to take her opinions seriously. What is portrayed as economic theory to benefit the nation in fact looks like self-interest shining through.

Seriously, don't give this person airspace. She should remember: if you can't do the time, don't do the crime. If you want to get an insight into penal policy, turn to someone who doesn't have an axe to grind.
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41 of 49 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Book That Should Have Remained Behind Bars, 27 Nov 2013
By 
Dr Barry Clayton (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Prisonomics: Behind Bars in Britain's Failing Prisons (Kindle Edition)
Anyone interested in our penal system, its manifest problems and proposed improvements should avoid this book by Vicky Price;it is full of banalities,sweeping generalisations and it demonstrates that she has no idea whatsoever of what the inmates are really like or the regime that tries to rehabilitate them. After a pampered stay, mainly in an open prison, she knows as much about prison life and its problems as a tourist in India who stays in a 5 star hotel knows about that country's appalling poverty.

I have to add that as one of my degrees is in Economics, I am aware of the author's writings on economic issues, including a recent and very poor account of the economic problems affecting Greece, and I, like many others, am very unimpressed. Her difficulty in answering two basic questions on her recent appearance on Question Time, questions that would not have tasked an average undergraduate, was also very worrying. The very last thing our flawed penal system needs is an economist pontificating about its ills. The fundamental problem is not,as she would have you believe,about demand and supply, marginal costs, opportunity costs, utility and macro economics. She never tells us in any detail what to do to put things right. Her use of statistics, or rather misuse, is again very worrying. In any case, most of her proposals have long been suggested by other more qualified people. In America, her proposals would be seen as derisory and old-hat. Having had the 'academic literature looked up for her' clearly did not help her. There is no evidence here that she read anything of substance; there is unfortunately much available that is of very poor quality.

The book is full of silly contradictions and flawed logic. For example, we are told by Vicky that the women she met in prison pose 'no threat to society' (how does she know?). She tells us they were forced or stitched up (of course)or simply unfortunate. Yet these pillars of society, she says, will almost certainly re-offend after leaving prison. Why? Because we are told prison is not a deterrent. But Vicky, if this is so, we don't need to worry about this do we because, remember Vicky, you have told us these ex cons pose no problems to society!

It never seems to occur to this wealthy (she admits that 'unlike the others when she is discharged she will 'not be destitute')woman that her kind are a tiny minority in our prisons. The majority are innumerate and illiterate with an appalling background. Many have severe mental health problems.

It also escapes Vicky that she received special treatment because of her background; others like Johnathan Aitken and Jefferey Archer were also treated differently in the past, and for the same reasons. Other prisoners treat the Vicky's of this world with a kind of respect if for no other reason than they can have their letters written and read for them. The two men mentioned above spent most of their time in prison doing just that, apart of course from writing a book.

I suggest this author speaks, for example, to lay monitors who spend many hours working in prisons. She might then have the scales lifted from her eyes. She would learn, among other things, that many prisoners are mentally ill and come from, if any, very dysfunctional families. Some, of course, should not be in prison but many others who have deliberately murdered or assaulted their children or have cynically defrauded the State certainly do. The Philpott woman being a recent example. The Judge refused to accept her feeble excuse that she had 'no choice' when it was decided by her and the monster she lived to murder 6 young children.

There is no deep, or even shallow, analysis or understanding in this book of our seriously flawed prison system. Instead (I fail to see why)we are treated instead to a rambling account of world economics, her work in Cyprus (which has clearly failed), and a gripping account of her economic recovery plan for Zanzibar. Again we are not told if this has worked. I think we can safely say that GB's economic recovery is not due to Vicky.

We are informed by her that she received 20 letters on her second day inside and that 'the girls (note the word) all came to my cell to marvel...'. The staff told her 'they had never seen anyone receive so much post'. Gosh! Many no doubt were from those who believed she had been 'forced' by her husband to lie.

This self-serving book reads like a fairy story in never, never land. The 'girls' behave like those in boarding schools. One was kept in suspense as to when the next hockey match would take place. One girl we are told was a 'lovely Italian girl', another a 'lovely South African girl', and there was a Muslim vegetarian with 'a heart of gold'. Indeed, all 'the girls were 'lovely, kind and helpful'. One even rushed around to find her 'a soft pillow and a duvet'. She doesn't forget either to mention the probation officers who work in 'really sweet' offices-I bet she would not do their thankless work.

There is one passage in particular that makes one to wonder if the author was ever in prison at all. On one family day when visitors can bring food into the prison she tells us she requested her children and grandchildren to bring her the following: prawns, Parma ham, smoked salmon, Gruyere cheese, strawberries and cream. In other words, standard prison grub no doubt.

Vicky complains, about a system that will not let visitors bring treats for the prisoners. Amazingly, she finds this perplexing. Here is a clue Vicky: think drugs. Similarly, she fails to understand why access is not allowed to the internet. Another Clue Vicky, think drug barons and other criminal members of the underworld. How they would love internet access. She is clearly unaware that many prisoners (male and female) are drug addicts and/or dealers.

The author clearly believes most prisoners, particularly women prisoners, should not be incarcerated. They have all, according to Vicky, been forced to commit crimes, they are all victims. None have any choice but to go along with some male social misfit. Fortunately, we have juries and judges who see through such fabrications. She even tells us that 'no one seemed to think I should be in prison at all'. Of course, why should they treat Vicky any different to themselves? After all, they believe they shouldn't be there. This incredibly naive woman is clearly unaware that prisoners, male and female, are extremely adept at telling you what you wish to hear. Speak to a prison doctor Vicky.

Readers will not be surprised to learn that, of course, in this magnum opus we are told very little if anything about those who have suffered at the hands of these 'girls'. But then, victims have a very low priority in our society.
Thank goodness Vicky does not work in our dysfunctional Home Office.

This is a book that cynically sets out to profit from being found guilty of a criminal offence; an offence committed in league with a millionaire politician-husband who lied, and lied repeatedly over a very long time to save his political skin. Those lies that she knowingly went along with cost the tax-payer millions. The ONLY reason she spilt the beans was because her husband left her for another woman, not because she decided to tell the truth. It was a transparent act of revenge. She and her ex husband deserved to be incarcerated. Indeed, she and her errant husband got off far too lightly.It is truly amazing that many seem to think what they did was trivial. Such views reveal an ignorance of the criminal law.

Her book is based on a very, very short time in Holloway (4 days in fact) where she received preferential treatment. Thereafter, she was in an open prison. There is nothing brave or courageous about this book. Her account tells us nothing about the real problems of our penal system. It tells us even less about those who commit criminal offences. She should do some proper and rigorous research before writing anything else.

There is, of course, in her account no mention of remorse or guilt. This clearly would never occur to her. This is a self-serving account based on flawed and flimsy evidence. No doubt for a while she will dine out on her brief experience inside with those who are equally gullible. No doubt she will be sending the 'girls' some smoked salmon, prawns and cheese for Xmas.

Anyone who is genuinely interested in prisons and prison reform should avoid this book and read, for example, the many superb books by Professor Andrew Coyle; the Oxford Handbook of Criminology; books by Charlotte Bilby; Ben Crewe; Kimmett Edgar, and Rob Canton. Having done so you will see all too clearly that this book is of very, very little consequence.

I could not possibly recommend this simply awful and amateurish book.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Vicky Pryce tells us how much everybody loves her, 24 Dec 2013
While I do not doubt that the prison service does women a great dissservice this is not the right book to help matters. Vicky Pryce gives no suggestion that either herself or the women she befriends have done anything meriting punishment - not is it easy to see life in her open prison as very hard.

Not that I do not agree that most convicted women should not be in prison - but then neither should a great many convicted men.

What I really dislike about this book was how keen she was to tell us how everybody loves her, from the friends who visited her with parcels of goodies to the hundreds who wrote to her to the inmates who devoted themselves to making her comfortable. This amount of self-praise suggests a deep underlying conviction of guilt, and was out of place in a book pleading for reform.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Keep your money out of her pocket!, 3 Jan 2014
This review is from: Prisonomics: Behind Bars in Britain's Failing Prisons (Kindle Edition)
What complete garbage, from a shallow, criminally bad pen (sorry, I can't refer to her as an author, or even a writer). Please don't reward her for this lack of any effort whatsoever, let alone rewarding her crime.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars No points., 8 Nov 2013
Vicky Pryce is deluded if she thinks her experience in prison was typical of the average inmate. She is famous and people both prisoners and staff are going to behave differently around her. She is wealthy and has contacts on the outside that could help most 'residents'. Prisoners are shrewd and you would have to be really stupid to make an enemy of someone who might further your cause. She makes good points about women and prison but her points don't hit home in the way that they should. She committed a crime, but you wouldn't know it. There's not a sign of remorse or shame. The other inmates all seem to be victims of circumstance. None wants to take responsibility for their crimes. Surely that is the first step to rehabilitation? Violence and drugs are dismissed in a few sentences. I wonder how their victims feel.

Women's prisons need a total overhaul and much could be done to improve things. Male prisons get much more attention because they can use physicality to show their displeasure, riots etc. Women can't. I do hope Ms Pryce uses her experience inside for the good. If you want a real picture of women's prisons I would look else where.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars not an enjoyable read, 8 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Prisonomics: Behind Bars in Britain's Failing Prisons (Kindle Edition)
Reall, really badly written! Self-obsessed drivel and others' views, statistics and rhetoric. Don't bother buying it, save your money instead
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