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Maree French
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Authors Book Genres
Biography/Memoir, Crime, Non-Fiction
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Book Description:
No Second Chance is Maree French’s firsthand account of life as a female prisoner in the Queensland jail system. She tells the unvarnished truth about Brisbane Women’s Correctional Centre, an overcrowded hellhole where women were caged together in cells built for one, or in unpoliced group units, where violence was the accepted mode of communication.
Prepare for raw images of life behind the razor wire, where frightened women, some incarcerated for unpaid parking fines, were locked down with killers and hardened criminals. Maree lived daily with meth addicts and drug mules, women who had tortured animals, murdered in cold blood, or committed fraud, but she quickly learned that the greatest crime inside a prison is ‘dogging’ – reporting a fellow-inmate to the authorities.
Witness the brutality, filthy conditions, lousy food, cruel treatment of traumatised and mentally unstable women, and the desperate reality of entrapment - away from nature, family and everything that makes life worth living. You will go even deeper within the prison system, to peek behind the strip search curtain, the locked doors, inside the medical unit, the gym, and slave labour shed.
Meet the ancillary and medical staff, visiting teachers, Christian ladies out to save souls, and, of course, the prison guards – the kind, the indifferent, and the few who really cared. Oddly enough, prison officers spend more of their time in prison than many of the offenders – and, in some circumstances, a prison officer and inmate may spend up to sixteen years together yet be forever separated by the uniforms they wear.
But No Second Chance has a lighter side. When the author is eventually moved to Numinbah, a low security prison farm, the relative freedom allowed a glimpse of the real personalities of women who had held their guard high in harsher conditions. As the inmates settle into an environment without fences, coiled wire, or relentless monitoring, the reader is treated to some of the funniest prison episodes on record and will meet the most intriguing characters ever to be locked up together.
This highly entertaining book is an eye-opener. No Second Chance dispels the myth that prisoners have it too easy, or that Australia’s nursing home residents would be better off in jail. Discover just how unrealistic TV prison dramas are … and perhaps – just perhaps – you might question the rehabilitative and moral value of prisons in contemporary society.

“I love, love, love this story. It’s made me cry, it’s made me laugh, it’s made me fall in love with these women.”
Naomi Reynolds. Mackay, Qld.

“Maree French has a keen eye for detail, a strong, witty voice and the compassion to see the real women beneath the social wreckage. These authentic tales from inside will move the reader and shake up those who believe that today’s prisons are glorified hotels.
Maree’s book took me by surprise. I found myself liking and respecting many of these women - and despising the bullies. Life behind bars is a unique world where you either sink or swim. Maree chose to write about it. What a pleasure it was to mentor her through the writing process.”
Jim Parsons - author and writing mentor

5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely captivating and well worth the read!
Reviewed in Australia on 13 May 2022
'No Second Chance' by Maree French .
What a great read!
Maree French was my Midwife 29 years ago. I knew Maree to be a loving mother, professional and caring midwife and a very beautiful soul. I have very fond memories of my time spent with her before and after the Home Birth of my second son. I had lost touch with Maree until recently.
Now I know why she went under the radar!

'No Second Chance' is skilfully written with a slightly humorous tilt. Maree, artfully takes you on her journey of incarceration as if you were there, with every detail pulling at your senses so that you laugh, cry, feel angry and get indignant, fearing the very real risk of violence and loving the heart-warming or funny shared experiences. It shines a light on Australia's toxic prison system and the effect is has on women, some coming out more broken than when they went in.

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