• Charles Bronson, Britain’s most notorious prisoner, is making progress through a daily dose of scrabble

    LONDON: For the first time in 20 years, Britain’s most infamous prisoner, Charles Bronson is being allowed to socialize with other inmates. The 66-year-old now mixes with three other prisoners for up to four hours in a day and enjoys scrabble and domino games in the detailed supervision centre of the jail.

    Bronson has spent the last 20 years mostly in solitary confinement for the safety of the guards as well as the other prisoners. Considering that, this development is being considered as ‘massive progress.’ This is the first time since 1999 that Bronson is being allowed such a margin of freedom at HMP Woodhill in Milton Keynes, Bucks.

    He is also enjoying doing his own laundry after a long period as there is a washer dryer on the wing. A friend of Bronson said, “It is essentially the most constructive progress he is had in jail for an astonishing 20 years. Earlier than that he was in complete solitary confinement.”

    “They discuss on the landings and are taking part in dominoes and scrabble. He’s genuinely taking part in it. He can now lastly expose that he has changed.” he added.

    Bronson recently launched a campaign “trash knives not lives” that urges youngsters to swap knives with art. Bronson, who is a painter himself and even had his paintings exhibited, is worried about the rise in knife related crimes. “Charlie has managed to find peace through art. He wants youngsters to do the same. He’s urging them to put down the knife and pick up a paintbrush” said his friend.

    Bronson was originally jailed for armed robbery in 1974 but a series of violent actions extended his serving time. He was sentenced to eight years in 1992 for an intent of robbery and it was further extended by another eight years after he held a prison staff member hostage. In 1999, he was given as life sentence after kidnapping a prison teacher.

    Often marked by the press as “Britain’s most notorious prisoner”, Bronson changed his name to Charles Salvador some years back. Last summer a dozen of his paintings which depicted his struggles with prison life, violence and mental health were exhibited in London. He has also written a few books and in one of them he wrote, “I’m a nice guy, but sometimes I lose all my senses and become nasty. That doesn’t make me evil, just confused”.

    Bronson is planning to improve his behaviour and gel well with the inmates of CSC unit in a bid to move off the Category A unit. ‘Charlie wants to prove he can do it. But he’s never been given a chance. Association with three others may not seem like much to some but for Charlie it’s a huge move,” commented his friend.

    For a man who has taken hostages in ten prison sieges and attacked at least 20 prison officers through the years, this is definitely a big step.

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