Prisons, prisoners and prison officers go back a long way before the formation of the Prison Officers' Association in September 1939. This text charts the development of this association, the evolution of the terminology used to describe prison officers (formerly known as 'wardens' and 'gaolers') and the role of the prison officer in the modern day. This comprehensive history is one of the first of its kind, presenting the story of a union that has not received much attention in the past.
David Evans was general secretary of the Prison Officers' Association from 1981-2000 Sheila Cohen has been involved in the trade union movement for more than a decade, as an academic and an activist. In 1990-95, she produced and edited a British rank and file union newsletter, Trade Union News, and during her time in the US was closely involved with the Labor Notes project. She recently returned to Britain, where she hopes to continue rank and file support work. She has taught courses on Labour and Trade Union Studies at London Metropolitan University and at the Center for Worker Education in New York.
Abbreviations Acknowledgements Introduction: "Slaves of Siberia" 1 The Blue Gliss Hall 2 "The Organisation we have Created..." 3 The Impact of Thatcherism: A "Fresh Start"? 4 From Thatcher to New Labour: Privatisation and Union Repression 5 The Final Betrayal Index