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Thursday, 10 October, 2002, 17:27 GMT 18:27 UK
Archer admits breaking jail rules
Jeffrey Archer
Archer stands to make thousands from the book
Lord Archer has admitted breaking prison rules over his diary and has received a suspended punishment.

At Thursday's hearing in front of Lincoln Prison governor Dick Peacock, he was told his punishment would be no wages for two weeks and a ban on visiting the prison shop.

But both punishments were suspended for six months and will only take effect if he offends again.

A Prison Diary, which went on sale on Thursday, has courted controversy with its account of the disgraced peer's three-week stay in Belmarsh high security prison.

Archer's book
Archer's book: controversial insights
It is the first of three planned volumes on Lord Archer's time behind bars, as he serves four years for perjury and perverting the course of justice during a 1987 libel case.

The first volume appeared to breach strict prison rules by identifying prisoners.

Archer may now have to be more wary in naming fellow prisoners when he publishes the next editions.

Profit warning

He works in the prison kitchen and two weeks' wages amounts to about 20.

He has also been told that if he returns to open conditions, he will not be allowed to take a job outside jail.

He was told by Mr Peacock that if he commits any further breach, which would include publishing any further volumes of his diaries while still in prison, he will be returned to closed conditions where he will remain.

This applies to any further publications of diaries while still an inmate, as he is seen to be profiting from them, even though he is not being paid until he leaves prison.

Earlier, a spokesman for publisher Macmillan said they were unaware of any forthcoming punishment.

He said: "It would be appalling if Lord Archer were to be disciplined for bringing to the public's attention both the plight of individual prisoners and the problems that face the prison system.


"His book is sympathetic to the prison service and many people in the prison service have welcomed the fact that he is bringing these issues to the public."

A spokesman for Waterstone's bookstore in Piccadilly Circus said there had been a lot of interest and the book would be a bestseller.

But WHSmiths in Oxford Street reported selling only one copy all day.

The Prison Service is still considering whether Archer broke jail rules by socialising with staff while on day release from an open prison in Lincolnshire.

Belmarsh Prison, London
Archer's life at Belmarsh is chronicled
He has been punished already for breaking regulations on a separate occasion, having been transferred to Lincoln Prison last month for attending a party during a day out.

But Archer is expected to be moved back to a low security prison next week.

The book, published by Macmillan, is accredited to Archer's prison number - FF 8282 - rather than his name, looks at his spell in one of Britain's toughest prisons.

At one point, Archer says he even mulls over committing suicide with a razor blade.

Archer has received no advance for the book and money from the serialisation of it in the Daily Mail has been donated to drug rehabilitation and victim support charities.

He is likely, however, to receive royalties after his release.

The BBC's Margaret Gilmore
"He clearly broke the rules"

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