Stanley James Middleton (1937-2018)

An appreciation.

Stanley was born in East London, and went to Leyton County High School for Boys. He was the third of four siblings, and enjoyed a happy childhood. After his A-levels, he read psychology at University College London for three years.

Subsequently, Stanley served in the Essex Royal Anglia Regiment in Malaya for two years (this was part of his National Service). He enjoyed his service in the Malayan jungle. For his contribution to peace in Malaya, Stanley was awarded a medal, the Pingat Jasa Malasia, by the now Burmese authorities.

After this military service, Stanley entered the HM Prison Psychological service in the 1960s at a time when the services were being developed.

All his working life was dedicated to the administration of psychology, in prisons. He served in a variety of institutions, initially at Portsmouth Prison helping to set up an assessment service for men serving life sentence. He obtained his M.Phil. in Occupational Psychology by evening study at Birkbeck College. At Portsmouth Prison he took part in the Annual Selection Board for Prison Governors; he also visited Ford Open Prison near Little Hampton as part of his psychological evaluation of prisoners’ needs.

In the late 1970s he was promoted to Head of Department at HM Prison Pentonville, London. It is at Pentonville that I met Stanley. I was a new recruit to the service and he supervised my work to rehabilitate prisoners with a history of dependence on heroin and barbiturates. Stanley was a kind and understanding Head of Department. He also worked with alcoholics, and prison management to improve the value of prison workshops in the rehabilitation of short-term offenders.

In the early 1980s he was transferred to Albany Prison on the Isle of Wight, where he assisted management and took part in the design and execution of treatment programmes for sex offenders.

He retired when he reached the age of 60 in 1997. He always enjoyed good health, was very active and could walk 10 miles easily on a day out with the local Ramblers Association. He enjoyed active holidays aboard, he was a devoted family man, and very loyal friend as witnessed by three of his school friends who wrote tributes at his funeral.

Sadly, Stanley developed a terminal illness in 2017, myelofibrosis, which led him to become bedridden for the last twelve months of his life. He bore his awful illness with great courage and never complained, but for such a previously healthy man to become so ill was terrible for his friends and family to witness. He passed away peacefully in September 2018 with his wife and son by his side.

Stanley was much loved by his family and is survived by one brother, two sisters, his wife and two children and one grandchild.

We should rejoice that Stanley’s life was a long and happy one, and he made a lasting contribution to the development of HM Prison Psychological Service in this country.

Barbara Christine Stevens
Former member HM Prison Psychological Services

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