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INTERVIEW: PRISON COST ME MY SANITY; NOTORIOUS CHARLES BRONSON TALKS TO THE TICKET.

Byline: By ALUN PALMER

Often referred to as the most violent prisoner in Britain, Charles Bronson

For other people named Charles Bronson, see Charles Bronson (disambiguation).


Charles Bronson (born Charles Dennis Buchinsky, November 3, 1921 – August 30, 2003) was an American actor of "tough guy" roles.
, 56, has spent 34 years of his chaotic life behind bars - 30 of them in solitary confinement solitary confinement n. the placement of a prisoner in a Federal or state prison in a cell away from other prisoners, usually as a form of internal penal discipline, but occasionally to protect the convict from other prisoners or to prevent the prisoner from causing  or as a patient in Broadmoor Hospital Broadmoor Hospital is a high security psychiatric hospital at Crowthorne in Berkshire, England. It is the best known of the three high-security psychiatric hospitals in England, the other two being Ashworth and Rampton. .

Currently incarcerated in Wakefield High-Security Prison, he spends 23 hours a day locked up.

Now his extraordinary story is being told in the feature film Bronson, released today, starring Tom Hardy.

The notorious jailbird-tobe was born Michael Gordon Michael Gordon may refer to:
  • Michael Gordon (film director) (1909-1993), American
  • Michael J. C. Gordon (born 1948), British computer scientist
  • Michael Gordon (composer) (born 1956), American classical composer
  • Michael R.
 Peterson in 1952 in Aberystwyth. In 1974, aged 21, he was jailed for an armed robbery which netted him a mere pounds 26.18.

"When I came into jail it was more a war for me," says Bronson. "I didn't like what I saw. It was a brutal way of life. So I decided to fight it. It cost me my sanity and it cost me my freedom."

Released in 1988, Bronson was back inside for robbery after 68 days. Let out again in 1992, he was a free man for just 53 days before being jailed once more for conspiracy to rob.

In a series of violent outbursts, Bronson - who'd changed his name in honour of the Hollywood actor - has since been involved in a dozen or so hostage-taking incidents, rooftop protests and attacks on other inmates and prison guards.

As a result, his jail term has been extended several times, now standing at a life sentence. Bronson was deemed so dangerous, he's been held in 120 different institutions and hasn't been allowed to mix with other inmates for the last 10 years.

The worst attack came in 1999 when Bronson went berserk ber·serk  
adj.
1. Destructively or frenetically violent: a berserk worker who started smashing all the windows.

2.
, took his prison art teacher Phil Danielson hostage and dragged him around the jail in a 44-hour reign of terror.

Despite the violence and mayhem that have surrounded his time in prison, Bronson feels he has been unfairly treated.

"I tore off nine roofs from jails and it cost them millions," he boasts. "Three of those were at Broadmoor - my hat-trick. I'm proud of it too. But is 34 years of my life not punishment enough? What crimes have I committed to justify my whole life caged up?

"I never dreamed I would ever have a movie made of my life. I have never glamorised crime or violence. All I ever do is expose the system for what it is."

Bronson, the film, is released today.

CAPTION(S):

LIFER: Charles Bronson; SCREEN ROLE: Tom Hardy
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 13, 2009
Words:407
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