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By Sam Harris

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Sample text

Work was a complete misnomer. I was one of about 30 prisoners sent to Workshop One, a factory floor space in the basement of the prison. It took the best part of an hour to get there because of the frequent head counts, recounts and body searches applied to our working party as we progressed at a snail's pace through numerous locked gates and checkpoints towards our destination.

I thought of the massed ranks of reporters and cameramen who had been outside the Old Bailey and Belmarsh. By now my sentence would not have gone unnoticed by the British public. However, it had gone unnoticed by the psychiatrist. 'I think perhaps 10 or 15 million people know I'm in prison,' was my answer to him, delivered with a wry smile. The psychiatrist did not smile back. His eyes narrowed. ' he said slowly. ' It took a few moments of explanation to unscramble that one. Then I was taken back to the cage, where we were given a cup of tea which smelt and tasted like dishwater, followed by a plastic container of rice and curry with a flavour almost indistinguishable from the tea.

Resuming my seat on the edge of the bed, I felt a slight bulge in the pocket of my prison jeans. It was caused by the pamphlet Praying the Psalms that had been returned to me in the property department some hours earlier following a discussion between the two officers as to whether it was or was not religious material. Thumbing through its pages I saw that it was a calendar-style booklet of daily readings. For 8 June it recommended Psalm 130. I did not know what the title Praying the Psalms really meant, but as soon as I read Psalm 130 its words spoke to me.

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