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Page last updated at 15:37 GMT, Thursday, 7 October 2010 16:37 UK
Fighting the Prison Service inspires book
Olivea Ebanks
Olivea Ebanks said she felt unequal to her colleagues

A woman who took the HM Prison Service to court for racial discrimination, harassment and victimisation, has written a book about her experience.

Olivea Ebanks from Northampton worked for the Prison Service helping inmates with their development.

While working there she faced problems simply because of the colour of her skin.

After representing herself in court, Olivea won the case, which inspired her to write the book Almost British.

"I was treated so differently and knew it wasn't because I didn't have the right qualifications or skills for the job, I was just as good as everyone else," said Olivea.

Even though I'm British it feels like I'm almost British
Olivea Ebanks

Throughout her time in the Prison Service she felt unequal to her colleagues, she said.

Even though Olivea is a British born African-Caribbean woman, she often felt she still was not quite British, hence the book's title.

"The stress of the situation got so bad that I wanted to move to a different country.

"I said to my husband even though I'm British it feels like I'm almost British and this stuck with me throughout my journey," she said.

Using the internet as a research tool and reading law journals, Olivea than began representing herself in court. It was through reading her statements that she realised she had the makings of a book.

"When I won the case, I wanted people to understand my story and what I went through. It has helped shape me into who I am today and I don't regret a thing," she said.

Olivea found the writing process very therapeutic.

"I want people to know that through something so negative, came something very positive," she said.

Almost British is available online and through national bookstore outlets.

For more information visit the Almost British website or email olivea@almostbritish.com




SEE ALSO
Jail office moves for 'diversity'
28 Feb 07 |  Northamptonshire
Racism behind bars
17 Nov 00 |  UK
Prison racism inquiry launched
17 Nov 00 |  UK


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