(Un)comfortably numb

(Un)comfortably numb


A Prison Requiem

Maureen Maguire

ISBN: 9781842820018

Binding: paperback

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Back cover text:

"People may think I've taken the easy way out but please believe me this is the hardest thing I've ever had to do."

It was Christmas Eve, the atmosphere in Cornton Vale prison was festive, the girls in high spirits as they were locked up for the night. One of their favourite songs, Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb, played loudly from a nearby cell as Yvonne Gilmour wrote her suicide note. She was the sixth of eight inmates to take their own lives in Cornton Vale prison over a short period of time.

[Un]comfortably Numb follows Yvonne through a difficult childhood, a chaotic adolescence and drug addiction to life and death behind bars. Her story is representative of many women in our prisons today. They are not criminals (only 1% are convicted for violent crimes) and two-thirds are between the ages of fifteen and thirty. Suicide rates among them are rising dramatically. Do these vulnerable young girls really belong in prison?

This is a powerful and moving story told in the words of those involved: Yvonne and her family, fellow prisoners, prison officers, social workers, drug workers. It challenges us with questions which demand answers if more deaths are to be avoided.


(Un)comfortably Numb is not a legal textbook or a jurisprudential treatise - it is an investigation into something our sophisticated society can't easily face.  Austin Lafferty

(Un)comfortably Numb: A Prison Anthem is a powerful and moving indictment of 21st Century Britain, told in the real voices of women behind bars. Yvonne’s story is representative of the many women in prison today, of whom only 1% are convicted for violent crimes.  Sunday Post Magazine