The Forgotten Few – Jamie Campbell
Title: The Forgotten Few
Author: Jamie Campbell
Author Location: Surrey, British Columbia.
Find it here: Amazon
Back Cover Copy:
The story of correctional officers is one seldom told. Even more overlooked are the devastating effects life in prison can have on not only inmates, but also the men and women who risk everything to keep the system running from inside the gates.
Jamie Campbell was once such an officer, and his time in prison would forever change the course of his life. In this heart wrenching memoir, The Forgotten Few, Campbell takes us through the story of his life, from prison to PTSD, from psychiatric wards to life beyond the walls. This dark recollection of what was once a promising career–soon only a place to foster suicidal and homicidal tendencies—reveals the ins and outs, the ups and downs, of his time in prison, the violence he witnessed and played a part in, and the havoc it wreaked upon his psyche.
The Forgotten Few paints a vivid, often disturbing picture of prison life, PTSD, and what it takes to journey out of the dark.
While this blog is dedicated to reviewing Canadian genre fiction, when I came across The Forgotten Few I knew I had to make an exception and include a non-fiction book. This book was written by a Surrey author and deals with extremely difficult topics including the Canadian correctional industry and mental health deterioration. This book contains harsh language, vivid imagery of self-harm, and other uncomfortable topics, but its message is important.
The Forgotten Few tells the story of the journey author Jamie Campbell went through when he took a job as a correctional officer at a Pretrial Center in British Columbia. Dreaming of becoming a police officer, Campbell took this job while attending a local university studying criminology. Unfortunately, this job results in the end of his career, not the beginning he had hoped for.
Due to intense circumstances out of his control, Campbell’s mental health deteriorated after several years working for the Pretrial Center. Campbell’s managers ignored his multiple requests for help and transfer away from the segregation unit where he suffered mental and physical abuse.
Unfortunately, his suffering did not end when he left his job. After leaving the Pretrial Center, Campbell was in and out of psychiatric wards and in a constant battle with WorkSafeBC, his old management team, and Canada Disability Pension Plan to fight for compensation for the injuries that were clearly caused by his work in corrections.
You will notice that I did not offer a review rating for this book. It would be unfair and disrespectful to the author and the message of this book to do so. This book was not easy to read—the subject matter is uncomfortable and the message is hard to deal with—but the takeaway is so important. PTSD happens. It is a very real mental illness and occurs far too often in the people who are helping to protect us on a daily basis. I have so much respect for the people who work in corrections and other jobs with high PTSD risk and I hope the system of support and awareness of mental health deterioration improves in these industries.
If you are uncomfortable with reading this type of subject matter—and that’s okay if you feel that way—I hope you will appreciate the message Campbell was trying to send. People who work in the jobs that are high risk of PTSD need better support before they reach their breaking point. PTSD is not something that can be cured or healed, only coped with.
Ellen is a freelance fiction editor, book reviewer, research assistant for Simon Fraser University, marketing coordinator for WCSFA, and member volunteer for Editors’ Association of Canada. As of September 2017, she will also be a master’s student of publishing at SFU. You can contact her via ellenmichelle.com for any editing queries and at email@example.com for book review queries.