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After the Becker sentence: rats and violence – the former prisoner describes the conditions in prison

On Friday, tennis legend Boris Becker (54) was sentenced to two years and six months in prison for delaying bankruptcy. He then went straight to Wandsworth Prison in South London, where over 1,300 inmates are serving their sentences. It is the second largest prison in the UK. He has already spent three nights there in a cell that is “tiny”, as British director Chris Atkins (46), who was himself in prison, told the newspaper “Bild”.

Becker lives with other inmates in a 6.5 square meter cell

Atkins was sentenced to five years in prison in July 2016 for funding a movie for tax fraud and wrote a book about his time in prison. Atkins says Becker will likely have to share his 6.5-square-foot cell with another inmate. “It’s like a basement. You have a desk, a TV, a bathroom and that’s it. The window is tiny and doesn’t let any air in in the summer,” says the director. “You’ll be lucky if you can see the light of day on your one-hour walk.” The detainees are reported to be in their cells for more than 22 hours a day, a report from the British “Daily Mail” also confirms.

More on the Becker case: former prisoner at Wandsworth Prison: “It will take a while for Boris to get a visit.”

In winter, however, it is frozen in the building. “It’s very cold because the prison doesn’t have much heat,” says Atkins, who also reported rats in the building. After all, Becker has six television shows to choose from. He can also use the phone in his cell phone for five minutes a day, with permission. But first, the number will be checked and the conversation recorded. Inmates can shower approximately every two days. “It’s really bad, and you have to share that shower room with about 100 other people, which is disgusting,” Atkins says.

The ex-inmate tells of prisoners screaming in Becker prison

Atkins vividly remembers arriving in prison and seeing the other inmates being taken to his cell. “The way it was cruel. People screamed and screamed and smashed doors. These are mostly people who are mentally ill or addicted to drugs,” Atkins says. When he arrived he was given a small bag containing only the essentials: blankets, sheets and biscuits.

Everything he had brought with him was taken away and locked up, he was only allowed to keep books and a toothbrush. Becker’s green sports bag, which he had with him in court, obviously wouldn’t have been of much use, Atkins says. Upon arrival, Atkins was searched and had to transform into “a smelly prison suit” that still smelled of the sweat of other inmates. He also had to answer questions about possible drug use and psychological problems.

Prisoners and guards “will see Becker as an art hero”

In addition to his tough guards, Wandsworth is also known for the fact that some celebrities have already served their prison terms here. Like Wikileaks founder Julian Assange (50) or Pete Doherty (43), formerly of supermodel Kate Moss (48). The director announced that Becker shouldn’t be counting on a celebrity bonus. The guards could let him stay overnight in a safe area, but then he would have to go to sex offenders who need to be protected from attacks by other inmates. Violence should always be on the agenda. In 2020 and 2021, there should have been one physical attack per day on average, reports the British “Daily Mail”.

But Becker doesn’t have to worry about the attacks, Atkins says. Instead, he could use the time for new contacts between inmates. “He is still a famous tennis star”. There are also rumors that Becker could become an inmate fitness coach. “In prison, sport is very important to both inmates and officers. They will all see him as some kind of hero. He will probably be inundated with people wanting his autograph,” Atkins said Ideally, he could score points with the guards. “If he’s lucky, the guards are tennis fans and treat him with kindness. Surely you know him on the news,” he also confirmed to “Bild”.

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