Free Thinking Festival: Doing Time/Confinement

In our fast moving, busy world it is hard – if not impossible – to imagine what it would be like to be incarcerated on our own. Captured in Beirut while working as an envoy for the Archbishop of Canterbury, Terry Waite spent five years as a hostage mostly held in solitary confinement. The writer Erwin James served 20 years of a life sentence in prison before his release in 2004. They discuss the experience of isolation with Dr Cleo Van Velsen, a Consultant Psychiatrist in Forensic Psychotherapy. Chaired by Free Thinking presenter Anne McElvoy.

Terry Waite is a humanitarian campaigner and author. He remains actively involved with hostages and their families, as well as working with those on the margins of society. His latest books are Out of the Silence: Memories, Poems, Reflections and a 25th Anniversary Edition of his memoir Taken on Trust.

Dr Cleo van Velsen is a Consultant Psychiatrist in Forensic Psychotherapy with extensive experience in the assessment, management and treatment of those suffering with personality difficulties, violence and trauma.

Erwin James is a Guardian columnist and freelance writer and a trustee of the Prison Reform Trust. He is the author of A Life Inside: a Prisoner’s Notebook and his new book, Redeemable: a Memoir of Darkness and Hope.

Recorded as part of Radio 3's Free Thinking Festival in front of an audience at Sage Gateshead.

Producer: Jacqueline Smith

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57 minutes