Prisoner Charles Salvador, better known as Charles Bronson, has been behind bars for 47 years.
But his friend Richard Booth, 49, from Strefford, believes he has made progress and is now about ready to enjoy more of a taste of freedom. He met his jailbird pal five years ago and speaks to him every day.
Their book Words from The Soul is an anthology of poetry from Richard and 'Charlie' (plus previously unpublished writing as Charles Bronson). The book includes a poem dedicated to TV presenter Caroline Flack, who tragically died last year.
Richard, an information learning technology coordinator at Shrewsbury Colleges Group, said: "We have gotten to know each other very well and share a love of music, art and writing.
"I have seen the real person behind the public face and it is someone who now wants to be free to create his art. He has more than served his time in prison.”
Bronson, incarcerated in Milton Keynes, was born Michael Gordon Peterson in Luton, Bedfordshire, in 1952, and was banged up for crimes including armed robbery.
Richard said: "Charlie is the first to say that he has been a bad person in the past, but as he has progressed through the system, now realises that he has made huge changes."
He said that since being at Woodhill Prison in Milton Keynes, Bronson has gone from a six-man unlock to two-man unlock (meaning the number of guards assigned to escort him has been reduced to two). He claims this is a "great reflection on his association with others in the 'closed supervised centre' and working with prison guards, officials, and personnel".
Richard added that: "I do believe he is a changed man. I speak with him every day and prior to lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, visited with Charlie every month at different institutions, and now face-to-face visits, which are far more civilised that closed visits behind glass."
He added that his friend is now ready for and is long overdue progression down the jail categories. His parole is due to be considered in October.
The co-authors have had a lifelong fascination with poetry and the book reflects his emotions and his "harsh reality of incarceration and the treatment he has endured," said Richard.
It is the second book that the unlikely duo have published but Bronson has written many over the years and his poetry and art has won him a host of awards.
Richard has been involved in the education and music industry since leaving school in 1988. His previously published book was on the life of B.B. King.
And his live concert photos have been published in music books and magazines throughout the world.
Richard says for him the poetry book is about dealing with the balance of life, whether good or bad, finding glimmers of hope and positivity, no matter what each day brings.
It also includes ‘Augmented Reality’ interactive content, which allows the reader to use an app on a mobile device to trigger audio of Bronson and Richard reading poems.
Words from the Soul goes on sale via Insanity Publications on Amazon Worldwide on Monday, September 20 and can be purchased here: tinyurl.com/9u5u2yu7.