“A powerful book. Passionate, brave and disturbing. It relates the true, very frank, story of a criminal who has turned his life around. Most poignant is the tribute from his daughter, who grew up lying about her father, ashamed to admit that he was a category A prisoner.”
– Mary Rensten
“Everyone should read this book. Black, white, working class, middle class, whoever. None of you are likely to have a life like this man’s. He has wisdom that needs spreading. Not only a great read but important. He has insights that you won’t get anywhere else. Buy it. Read it. Digest it. Think on it. Do something about it.” Lois
Out of the Box is the story of Leroy Smith, who was sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment, for the shooting of two police officers in Brixton in 1993.
The book will take you on a tour of the gangster lands of London, New York and Kingston, Jamaica, before showing you inside the Box that is the British prison system today, where all previous pecking orders, criminal or political, have been superseded by the rule of the Deen, highly organised and disciplined Muslim convicts, who answer to neither gangster nor governor, but only to Allah.
Out of the Box will also take you outside of these Boxes and provide you with some eye-opening analysis and insights into the activities of those who rule over us – politicians present and past, such as David Cameron, Michael Howard and London mayor Sadiq Khan.
‘Out of the Box is an excellent read, a brutally honest account of the making of a criminal, which pulls no punches, or makes excuses, just says it as it was. This is a fascinating and valid account of the cost to society when young, damaged lives are not repaired. It deserves to be very widely read. Now out of the box and free, Leroy Smith is setting out on a new and straighter path. I wish him every success. He has more than paid his dues.’
Eric Allison, Guardian prisons correspondent
“This is a ‘Hold on to the seat of your pants’ book written as though Leroy is sitting down next to you as he knocks seven shades of something out of any would be gangsters perception that crime is lasting fun and and security. In this mischievous publication in which he dangles the goodies then whacks you with realty, he has shown his true self as a savvy, provocative and incredibly smart author by adopting an ‘edge of your seat’ approach to this, his first foray into being an author… This book is a great wake up call for youngsters concerned about setting their moral compass and great lessons for those in authority who are wilfully disconnecting themselves from society.” – Amazon Customer
Now I must stop here to remind you that prison is a cage. Therefore, the only thing that matters, if you wish to control the whole system, is numbers. Ironically, faith or deep belief or conviction can bring you solitude and peace within, which in itself can be very appealing to anybody in a cage. Things continued in this vein, but slowly more and more brothers, or inmates that were brothers, were coming into the prison. Then around 2005 Sheikh Faisal came to the prison on terrorism charges, but in reality all he had been doing was speaking his mind, based on the facts as he saw it. I met him when he came to Long Lartin and I liked him. He was a Jamaican and very, very clever, with a wide range of political and religious knowledge from all round the world; he spoke Arabic and knew the Quran by heart. He used to get into arguments with other prisoners who were way less enlightened than him – and that’s putting it politely. When they could not win their argument verbally, they would want to resort to violence and on more than a few occasions I had to jump in and stop it and then I would say to people things like ‘If you can’t beat the man with an intellectual argument, then don’t talk to him, but do not turn around and try to use violence because you know that your argument is weak.’
Then you had a lot of other prisoners, mostly white guys or guys who had power up until this point and who could see how they could lose it because of this new influx of prisoners, so they would take every opportunity to cast Muslims in a bad light. From the mere fact that a Muslim prisoner did not need drugs or drink to function inside the prison system and only needed food and exercise in the gym, it was clear from the start that brothers could adapt to anything. Slowly but surely inmates started to convert, some for inner peace, others for their own ends, or to seek personal power. That category of person is only fooling themselves. Brothers used to always come up to me and try to convert me but, because I believe in my heart that God is not a joke, I did not jump on the bandwagon for the sake of it.
“A chilling insight into the life of a notorious South London gangster and his escalation into violence culminating in the fateful shooting of two police officers and being on the run in the US. The book provides a gritty but humorous account of criminal events in Jamaica, the US and UK and highlights dangerous path many underprivileged young black males get drawn into.” – Amazon Customer
About the author
Leroy Smith was born in London 1968. His mother, Perlita, was murdered when Leroy was just 2 years old and he was subsequently brought up by grandmother, Gladys, in Clapham, South London.
Although most of Leroy’s immediate family and his daily influencers at home were law abiding citizens, he chose a different path, driven by a need for ever more money. By 12 years of age, Leroy had stopped going to school, started using drugs and dabbling in crime. At the age of 14, he was sentenced to a stint in a young offenders institution.
When Leroy first experienced the feeling of power that holding a gun on someone gave him, his life was effectively set on the path that would eventually lead him to a 25 year prison sentence.
Leroy’s message is directed at young black men who, like him, see themselves at the bottom of the pile and believe a shortcut to equality in an unfair society can come through crime.
“All I am doing is putting my life story out there in the hope that it prevents anybody else, especially underprivileged black young men, from taking the same path.” – Leroy Smith
“I see some negative reviews about this book! Remember Leroy is not a writer of degree level! He’s been in prison for half of his adult life, and adolescent years were spent skipping school! So if you are buying this book expecting the queens english then you’ll be disappointed! But what you will receive instead is an honest frank account from a man who’s REALLY lived the life of a gangster!!! In his OWN words, the words of a Road man!!!” – HM