This was said to me by a life sentence prisoner who was in his sixteenth year inside during my earlier research on mediated identity and power in prisons (Jewkes 2002).2 The quotation provides a context for this chapter and for an ongoing research study, the aim of which is to explore further some of the ‘micro-aspects’ of social life within a wider context of the organisational and institutional structures of the prison. Three themes run throughout the chapter. The fi rst concerns the extent to which a life sentence seismically disrupts the lifecourse and forcibly suspends future expectations.