Benjamin Mendy's life is about to change. Incarcerated since August for seven alleged rapes and a sexual assault, the French fullback has just been transferred to Strangeways prison in Manchester. The prison is described as being one of the toughest and most violent in England, where conditions can be extreme.
22 hours a day in a cell
At the centre, which is also known as HMP Manchester, there are currently around 700 prisoners. The facility is a category A facility, which holds individuals deemed to be a threat to society, the police or national security. During an inspection last September, it was reported that most of the prisoners were kept behind bars for 22 hours a day, with only short periods of leave.
Mendy was sent to Strangeways for his safety, but his stay in the prison, which was the scene of violent riots in the 1990s, may not be a happy one. A judicial source close to the case told The Sun that many Manchester United fans were there and would make life difficult for the defender.
They will be shouting his name for weeks so he won't get much sleep, especially as he is accused of sexual offences. There are a lot of City fans there too, but even the most passionate will find it hard to protect an alleged sex offender.
While the former AS Monaco and Olympique de Marseille player was able to follow a football training programme at his former prison, such activities are not provided at Strangeways. On the prison's website, it is stated that prisoners can attend business, numeracy and language courses. It is also possible to participate in the life of the prison by doing tasks such as cooking, washing and cleaning to earn a wage.