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David Charlton Is The Hero Of Strangeways

by | 26th, May 2011

DAVID Charlton is the star of Strangeways, the TV documentary about the Manchester prison. The governor Richard Vince has a belief:

“It is my belief that with very few exceptions, people have the capacity to change and improve themselves.”

All of them? Even the ones who might be mentally ill, or so stubborn that they refuse to bend?

Of course the camera corrupts what it sees. But whereas the American versions of real-life prison shows focus on the menace and the violence, Strangeways lets the action roll, broadcasting with minimal visual grammar the drab quotidian horror of life at rock bottom.

And the star, as we say, is David Charlton, the kind of person prisoners who’ve done awful things to children should be forced to live with. Forget the short sharp shock and life meaning life, just lock them up in a confined space with Charlton.

Says reader Yampster:

That’s care in the community for you. 40 years ago he would have been in a mental health hospital, naked, tied to a chair for 24 hours and hosed down twice a day by a sadist who resented every minute he spent away from the card table. Happy days!

He used to work at the Department of Work and Pensions before losing his job. He’s on remand in Strangeways for racially abusing and harassing a black Manchester Metropolitan University worker and two Asian nurses. He also racially abused a black police officer. Earlier this week, he pleaded guilty to all charges at Manchester Crown Court.

Is Charlton ill or bloody-midned? Judge Robert Atherton, ordered that a psychiatric report be prepared before sentencing.

Judge Atherton: “Please do co-operate, it’s in your interest to do so.”

Charlton: “I will try my best sir.”

Is that”sir” a glimmer of hope that Vince seeks in his prisoners? If it is, he will be encouraged. But Charlton is in the system. He is not on his way to redemption and leading a full life; he is on the road to being institutionalised for his natural term, a person deemed unfit to live among decent society and who is happier for it…



Posted: 26th, May 2011 | In: Key Posts, TV & Radio Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink