Profile signs prison probe after six-way auction

Rights - NonFiction Wednesday, 05 December 2018

Former probation officer Eleanor Fellowes' In Harms Way is 'a compelling and important investigation into our prison system'


Profile editor Louisa Dunnigan has bought UK & Commonwealth (ex. Canada) rights from Jane Finigan at Lutyens and Rubinstein and In Harm’s Way will be published in spring 2021.

According to Profile, In Harm’s Way, is 'a compelling and important investigation into our prison system by former probation officer Eleanor Fellowes.

'Prisons tap into our fundamental fears about the difference between good and bad, right and wrong, belonging and exclusion, danger and safety. They matter to us all. Dostoyevsky, Churchill and Mandela each said that the way to test the civilisation of a nation is to look inside its jails. In Harm’s Way will do exactly that, to do justice to the most vexed relationship any citizen has with the state.

'Drawing on her experience of years working in the probation service, and then at HMP Wandsworth, Eleanor Fellowes will tell the story of our prison system from the inside out. She will take the reader on the same path trodden by the majority of people sent to prison: from court, to custody and eventual release.

'Within these stages we will explore the history of the architecture, the motivations of our courts, the aims of policy, the workings of standard regimes and high security establishments, and meet the individuals who work and reside within them.

'Eleanor Fellowes joined the probation service in 2008 when she was 23. In 2013 she was seconded to prison where she worked for two years before leaving the service. She now acts as a teacher and consultant to prison, probation and forensic mental health staff, specializing in psychoanalytic approaches to violence, trauma and organisational health.'

Dunnigan said: "Eleanor’s book arrives at a time when we are aware more than ever that the prison system in our country needs urgent reassessment. The warmth and humanity that she brings to the topic, her depth of understanding and keen critical eye allow us to look beyond the headline policy disasters to the reality of prison (and its supposed purpose) for both staff and prisoners.

"There is so much empathy and illumination here, from questions of psychiatry and support, to those of justice and violence, and she doesn’t shy away from the anger, frustration and difficulty of it all. And she writes beautifully. I am delighted to be publishing this important book."

Fellowes said: "My aim is for In Harm’s Way to give readers a chance to engage with the reality of our criminal justice system, to hear from the people inside it, to understand its shape and its history – and, with that, to think about what lasting and humane change might look like. I am so pleased to be working with Louisa and with Profile Books – their thoughtful approach will be invaluable in helping me make this book the best it can be."

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