How FHM became a Hollywood star (kind of)

Posted by , 13 October 2011

Ronnie Thompson, the real screw of <i>Screwed</i>

Ronnie Thompson, the real screw of Screwed

  • #03

    An interview with Reg Traviss, the director

  • Introduction
  • #01

    Screwed trailer - look out for us!

So you were in the army?
Yeah, I joined in 1995 and left in 1999. I was infantry, Viking, Royal Anglian.

And then you became a prison officer? 
Yeah, I did seven years as a prison officer, I joined the army very young and was out just before I turned 20. So I was pounding the landings and locking people up before I was 21, in an adult male jail.

Was it tough?
I was a bit of a blue-eyed boy when I started. I was the youngest hostage negotiator, the youngest control and restraints co-ordinator, all this sort of stuff. I knew that there was some bureaucratic nonsense within the system and some corruption; my mentor said "watch your back, watch your back, you never know what's going to happen".

And what did happen?
One day I was working in the visits hall - you just have to keep your eyes open for drug passes. A female officer saw a drug pass and called me over, so you terminate the visit, keep the visitor there in case any drugs are found, take the prisoner downstairs and ask if they have anything on their person, if they say no then you do a strip search. It didn’t even get that far, he punched the female officer in the face and I restrained him, the alarm was hit and that’s all on camera.

Another officer came over to help me and this is where it gets a little bit, shall we say, corrupt. He was a marked man for the governors, all he did was help me apply cuffs, but they got the inmate to put a complaint in against him saying he'd been assaulted. They pointed the finger at him but we all got suspended on ABH charges, including the female officer that got assaulted. So one day I'm the blue eyed boy, the next I'm being marched to the gate.

But you were cleared, right?
I was exonerated, but I was suspended for nearly a year. I split up with my partner, it really affected me. The service were trying to get me to quantify the story of the inmate, that this officer did assault him. I'm telling you now, if he had done that I would have said so - it was serious and I wasn’t covering up for anyone.

They put me on the spot and, you know, you think about your family and stuff like that. If I had  said he did hit him the officer would have gone to prison. The inmate wasn’t even marked, there was nothing. I'd had a lot worse. Plus we found heroin on him so the judge said "it’s ridiculous, you got these men and women off work for this long, its just nonsense".

So I went back to work but of course then I was like a marked man because I hadn’t done what the governors had wanted me to do.

And then you wrote Screwed?
I was kind of a budding writer as a youngster. I didn’t think "right I am now going to write a book", I just started to write things down, just to get it out of my system, you know? Counselling wasn’t something I was interested in and I don’t do medication, so it just became my catharsis, and then the book was born.

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