Tennis legend Boris Becker (54) was sentenced on Friday to two years and six months in prison for postponing bankruptcy. He then went straight to Wandsworth Prison in south London, where over 1,300 inmates are currently serving their sentences. It is the second largest prison in the UK. He has already spent three nights there in a cell that is “small”, as British filmmaker Chris Atkins (46), who was himself in prison, told the newspaper “Bild”.
Becker lives with other inmates in a 6.5-square-foot cell
Atkins was sentenced in July 2016 to five years in prison for film funding for tax fraud and has written a book about his time in prison. Atkins says Becker will probably have to share his 6.5-square-foot cell with another inmate. “It’s like a basement. You have a desk, a TV, a toilet and that’s it. The window is tiny and does not let air through in the summer,” says the filmmaker. “You will be lucky if you ever get to see daylight during your hour-long walk.” The inmates would be in their cells more than 22 hours a day, confirms a report from the British “Daily Mail”.
More about Causa Becker: Ex-prisoner at Wandsworth Prison: “It will be a while before Boris gets a visit”
In winter, on the other hand, it is icy cold in the building. “It gets very cold because the prison does not have much heat,” says Atkins, who also reported on rats in the building. After all, Becker has six TV shows to choose from. He can also use the phone in his cell for five minutes a day, subject to permission. But before then, the number will be checked and the call recorded. The inmates are allowed to take a shower about every other day. “It’s really bad and you have to share one shower with about 100 other people, which is gross,” Atkins says.
Ex-prisoner tells of screaming prisoners in the Becker prison
Atkins clearly remembers that he arrived at the jail and saw the other prisoners as he was taken to his cell. “The way to get there was cruel. People screamed and screamed and smashed the doors. It’s mostly people who are mentally ill or addicted to drugs,” Atkins says. When he arrived, he was given a small bag that contained only the most necessary things: blankets, sheets and biscuits.
Everything he had brought was taken away and locked inside, he only had to keep books and a toothbrush. Becker’s green sports bag, which he had in court, would obviously not have been of much use to him, Atkins says. Upon arrival, Atkins was searched and had to change into “a smelly prison suit” that still smelled of other inmates’ sweat. He also had to answer questions about possible drug use and mental health issues.
Prisoners and guards will “see Becker as an art hero”
In addition to his tough guards, Wandsworth is also known for having some celebrities already serving their prison sentences here. Such as Wikileaks founder Julian Assange (50) or Pete Doherty (43), such as supermodel Kate Moss (48). The filmmaker announced that Becker should not count on a celebrity bonus. The guards could let him spend the night in a safe area – but then he would have to go to sex offenders to be protected from attacks by other inmates. Violence must always be on the agenda. In 2020 and 2021, there should have been an average of one physical attack a day, reports the British “Daily Mail”.
But Becker does not have to worry about attacks, Atkins says. Instead, he could use the time for new contacts among the inmates. “He’s still a popular tennis star.” There are even rumors that Becker could become a fitness trainer for the inmates. “In prison, sports are very important to both the inmates and the officers. They will all see him as a kind of hero. He will probably be inundated with people who want his autograph,” Atkins said. Ideally, he could score points with the guards. “If he’s lucky, the guards are tennis fans and treat him mildly. You probably know him from the news,” he also confirmed to “Bild”.