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How Long Was Boy George in Prison?

Boy George, the English singer-songwriter who rose to fame in the 1980s, served time in prison from 2009-2010 after being convicted of assault and false imprisonment. His four month sentence was highly publicized at the time, but many people may not recall exactly how long the pop icon was incarcerated.

Boy George’s Conviction and Sentencing

In December 2008, Boy George (whose real name is George O’Dowd) was convicted on charges of assault and false imprisonment. This related to an incident that took place at his London home in April 2007 involving celebrity photographer Audun Carlsen.

George had handcuffed Carlsen to a wall fixture and beaten him with a chain during a nude photo shoot. George claimed he only acted in self-defense when he believed Carlsen had tampered with his computer, but the court found him guilty based on Carlsen’s testimony.

In January 2009, George was sentenced to 15 months in prison for his assault and false imprisonment convictions. The judge remarked that George showed a “bullying and predatory behavior” during the incident.

Timeline of Boy George’s Incarceration

Here is a timeline showing how long Boy George was actually behind bars:

  • January 2009 – Sentenced to 15 months in prison
  • February 2009 – Checked into Edmunds Hill Prison in Suffolk
  • May 2009 – Transferred to HM Prison in Suffolk after good behavior
  • August 2009 – Released after serving 4 months of his sentence
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So while George was originally given a 15 month sentence, he only ended up serving 4 months (about 120 days) before being granted an early release.

Why Was Boy George Released Early?

In the UK, prisoners serving fixed sentences under a year are often released automatically halfway into their sentence.

George qualified for this automatic conditional release program since his term was less than 12 months. Good behavior enabled him to be transferred to an open prison after just a few months, allowing for the early release.

If not for the automatic conditional release policy, George would have remained incarcerated until approximately November 2009. But the system in place at the time cut his actual prison time down to just 4 months.

Boy George’s Experience Behind Bars

By all accounts, Boy George did not find serving time in jail to be pleasant. However, he made efforts to adapt to prison life during his incarceration.

Some key details about his time behind bars include:

  • Reportedly wore makeup and styled his hair in braids at the beginning of his sentence, but eventually adopted a more clean-cut look to avoid standing out.
  • Worked as a laundry assistant in the prison laundry for £20 a week.
  • Lost a significant amount of weight due to the basic prison diet.
  • Followed a vegan diet in prison after deciding to become vegan shortly before being sentenced.
  • Socialized with Ronnie Biggs, the notorious Great Train Robber, while in the same prison.
  • Read letters and listened to music fans sent him to stay occupied.
  • Was reportedly taunted and verbally harassed by other inmates who targeted his celebrity status and sexual orientation.
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While certainly not an enjoyable experience, the automatic release policy kept George’s first and only prison sentence relatively brief in the end.

Boy George After Prison

Since his release in August 2009, Boy George has completely turned his life around and rebuilt his music career.

He has spoken extensively about learning from his mistakes and overcoming past demons with substance abuse.

The singer now embraces a sober, healthy lifestyle and advocates for animal rights and other social causes.

He has released multiple albums as a solo artist and with his reunited group Culture Club. Boy George continues performing and is still highly active in the music industry into his 60s.

Despite his highly publicized brush with the law, the “Karma Chameleon” hitmaker has shown an impressive determination to move forward. He has reclaimed his place as a beloved pop icon who is respected both for his musical talents and personal growth.

Timeline Summary of Boy George’s Prison Sentence

Here is a concise timeline showing the key dates relating to Boy George’s time in prison:

  • April 2007 – Incident occurs with photographer Auden Carlsen
  • December 2008 – Convicted of assault and false imprisonment
  • January 2009 – Sentenced to 15 months in prison
  • February 2009 – Enters Edmunds Hill Prison
  • May 2009 – Transferred to HM Prison Suffolk for good behavior
  • August 2009 – Released after serving 4 months (120 days)

So despite being given an over 12 month sentence initially, good behavior and UK sentencing policies resulted in Boy George only serving about one third of that time behind bars.


In summary, Boy George served a total of 4 months in prison from February to August 2009. His original 15 month sentence for assault and false imprisonment was cut short by an automatic early release policy after good behavior.

Despite his brief incarceration, the musician experienced difficulty being behind bars. However, he focused on rehabilitation and rebuilding his career after release.

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Today Boy George is sober, lives ethically, and continues creating new music and performing decades later. Overall, his relatively brief prison stint did not ruin the legacy and future successes of this remarkable pop icon.

Frequently Asked Questions About Boy George’s Prison Stint

Why was Boy George sent to prison?

He was convicted of assault and false imprisonment against photographer Audun Carlsen stemming from a 2007 incident.

How long was his original prison sentence?

He was originally sentenced to 15 months (about 450 days) in prison.

How much time did he actually serve?

Boy George served 4 months (around 120 days) before being released early.

What was his experience in prison like?

He disliked it but tried to adapt by working and socializing. He lost weight on the prison diet but worked to stay occupied.

Why was Boy George released so early?

A UK policy allows automatic release halfway into a sentence under a year. Good behavior enabled Boy George to qualify for this after 4 months.

When was Boy George released from prison?

Boy George was released from jail in August 2009, after being sentenced that January.

Did serving time affect Boy George’s career?

It did not negatively impact his career. He has released successful new music and still performs regularly.

What has Boy George done since being released?

He has embraced sobriety, become a vegan, and released multiple albums as a solo artist and with Culture Club.

Could Boy George go back to prison?

It’s possible if he were to commit another serious crime. But he has rebuilt his life and is not likely to reoffend.

Imran Khan

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About us

We are dedicated to exploring the intricacies of prison life and justice reform through firsthand experiences and expert insights.

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Welcome to ‘Prison Inside,’ a blog dedicated to shedding light on the often hidden and misunderstood world within correctional facilities. Through firsthand accounts, personal narratives, and insightful reflections, we delve into the lives of those who find themselves behind bars, offering a unique perspective on the challenges, triumphs, and transformations that unfold within the confines of these walls.

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