Shortlisted for the National Press Awards (Reporting Diversity category) and the Amnesty Media Awards (Features category).

Longlisted for the Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils

Photo by Carles Rabada on Unsplash

Halfway into a two-year prison sentence in Europe’s largest women’s prison, Her Majesty’s Prison Bronzefield, an officer approached me and asked me out of nowhere, ‘What’s three to the power of four?’ His face fell when I quickly answered, ‘81.’ ‘You know your maths,’ he said grudgingly before walking off. I soon learned that he enjoyed randomly quizzing the women in his care on their maths skills to try to prove to himself that…

“We have given our most precious thing and have died inside many times but you won’t find our names engraved on any monument or war memorial”

Here are the words of war heroine or ‘birangona’ Aisha, a rape survivor of the 1971 Bangladesh War, whose epigraph opens award-winning journalist Christina Lamb’s Our Bodies, Their Battlefield: What War Does to Women.

For most westerners born after World War II, wartime rape exists in a vacuum, encouraged by our belief that such atrocities wouldn’t happen here, at least not to people like ‘us’. As an International Relations student, I soon learned that wartime rape was the elephant in the room, hardly mentioned, not even when discussions touched on the impact war has on civilians. The only time the…

Tracing the historical contributions made by Black, Indigenous, Women of Color inside the prison-industrial complex.

Figure 1. Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash

On the eve of the 2020 US presidential election I find myself talking to Kelsey, a young woman from rural Wisconsin. Kelsey is a pseudonym and our conversation is taking place under the proviso that I keep her identity confidential. Kelsey was one of the many formerly incarcerated students from Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Community College, based in Sawyer County, who responded to a call out to aid me with my research. …

Shortlisted for the Financial Times/McKinsey Bracken Bower Prize 2020

Photo by Richard R. Schünemann on Unsplash

It is 2018, and a young highly educated woman with an impressive CV is seeking work in London. She is bright, articulate and very keen to work. But her chances of success in job-hunting will surprise you. She has only a 4% chance of gaining employment and any job she does find is likely to place her well below the poverty line. [1] Why? Because she has a criminal record. If she were a man, and a white middle-class man at that, her chances would be much higher, at around 40%…

Sophie Campbell

Sophie Campbell is an author and freelance writer whose writing has appeared in Prospect Magazine and BERA. You can find me at

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