AN EX-PRISIONER governor has released her debut memoir detailing her time in some of Worcestershire’s toughest prisons.
The book, entitled ‘Gate Happy: The Extraordinary Life and Times of a Prison Governor’ centres around Barbara Treen’s time as Governor of HMP Brockhill in Redditch.
It describes her 29 year career as a Prison Governor, working in four male and two female prisons, eventually becoming the most senior person responsible for Women Offenders in the Prison Service.
Barbara said: “Throughout my time as a governor I had to establish my authority as a woman governor in the service and to improve terrible conditions.
“I investigate corruption and experience nerve-wracking episodes such as escapes, riots, bomb threats, assaults, hostage taking, industrial action, serious self-injury and suicide.”
As a Governor she worked at HMP Lewes, HMP Wormwood Scrubs, HMP Aylesbury and HMP Woodhill and was appointed Governor of HMP Brockhill in 2002.
Barbara added: “After I retired from the Prison Service my children often tried to nag me into writing about my life and career.
“I hid much of it from them at the time due to their age. The arrival of lockdown took away any excuse for delaying longer.
“Prison life is full of excitement, violence, humour, pain and a daily effort to keep people safe.
“I hope that the book helps shed some light on what life is really like ‘inside’ both for the incarcerated and for the prison staff who have to deal with often extremely challenging and harrowing situations.”
She retired from the Prison Service in 2013.
Barbara now works in schools providing exam support and is a jobbing professional actor.