PEOPLE

  • Eric Allison

    prison correspondent

    Guardian

    Eric was born in Manchester in 1942, the youngest of four boys. His first conviction was for housebreaking when he was 11 and, at 14, he received his first custodial sentence. Three months in a detention centre was intended to provide a “short sharp shock” to deter him but instead, he met up with virtually every member of the “class of 57” during his criminal/penal journey, which ended in 2000. Eric Allison has spent some 16 years in prison, all for theft related offences. During that time he quickly became appalled at the bad treatment handed out to people who had not “chosen” crime as a career and witnessed acts of brutality and racism on an almost daily basis. As a result, he decided to speak out and took action against the abuse. He discovered that the adage “the pen is mightier … ” proved particularly accurate in prison and, following the Strangeways Prison Riot, in 1990, he co-authored a book on the protest, A Serious Disturbance. The book was used by several education authorities as A-level course work (Sociology). In 2003 Eric joined the Guardian as the prison correspondent.In 2013, with a colleague, Simon Hattenstone, Eric won an Amnesty International media award for investigative journalism.

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