John Lawson

Prison bans Christian book

Sat 21 Oct 2017
By Alex Williams

A gangster turned preacher has told Premier he was "shocked" to learn his biography has been banned from an East Sussex jail.

John Lawson handed 50 free copies of his book to a chaplain at HM Prison Lewes (pictured below), only to receive an email two weeks later saying they would not be passed on to inmates.

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The 50-year-old from the nearby town of Seaford, said: "My book, 'If a Wicked Man', is a true crime biography that contains the Gospel message, so that we can deliver the Gospel to readers who won't usually pick up a Christian book."

During the course of a decade, Mr Lawson has shared his testimony in more than 25 countries, visiting some of the world's most challenging prisons in doing so.

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He said: "I was quite shocked; I get many requests from prison chaplains for copies of my book. [Lewes] is the only prison where this has ever happened."

The Prison Service said jail governors can exercise discretion is deciding which books are "suitable" for offenders, in order to "maintain good order".

It also said: "If a book is deemed unsuitable or would risk creating disorder, Governors have the discretion to take the book out of circulation."

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In the past fortnight, copies of his book have been accepted into HM Prison La Moye in Jersey and HM Prison Wandsworth in south London.

A former gang enforcer, Mr Lawson, who became a Christian while in jail, said it was "essential" inmates at Lewis Prison heard the Gospel.

Click here to listen to Premier's Alex Williams speaking with John Lawson:

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