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Trevor Hercules prison memoir republished

Labelled Black Villain was originally published in 1989 by Fourth Estate– the first British prison memoir written by a Black guy –  and received quite a lot of media attention, notably an extract published in The Observer. Over the years the book faded from view but Trevor – after another,  much shorter, spell in prison – went on to do lots of good work with Black young people in schools, third sector settings and prisons, trying to steer them away from the kind of criminal career – armed robbery –  that he had drifted into, and for which he originally served eight years.

The memoir is as much about the development of his identity as his residential care and prison experiences, although the two are obviously entwined. Without any formal academic tools, he developed the concept of the Social Deprivation Mindset (akin to what criminologists call subcultural theory) to explain the culture and outlook of alienated and violent young black men, and an article he wrote about that  in the British Journal of Community Justice is also re-published in the new edition of his book.

I have known him since the early 1990s, when he came and spoke to – and made a huge impression on – my student probation officers at the University of Birmingham. I was delighted when Bryan Gibson at Waterside  – also a friend of longstanding – agreed to  republish his book.

Prof Mike Nellis, Strathclyde University

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