Induction Begins – Day 4

15 Feb

My alarm is set to a leisurely 8am, although intermittent clanging wakes you throughout the night. I’m searching for my razor but old boy Mike’s still snoozing away. I may have an induction visit today. Every inmate is entitled to a visit in their first week. Wandsworth have a day set aside – Thursday, for drop-in visits. My best pals have said they will try. I’ve told my parents I don’t want them in a place like this. They’ve been law-abiding all their life and they don’t deserve to walk into a prison and have more gloom hanging over them. This place looks like a proper prison, not what you want Mum seeing. Besides, I couldn’t bare to have to see them sat in a room with utter scum. I’m open minded about what makes a man end up here; but there is still bucket loads of faeces for humans here.

In expectation that I may be getting a visit, I make sure I look clean and tidy. I don’t want to leave them with a negative impression on how this place weighs on me. Got to keep up appearances.

I think about whether after today I could have a beard protest and not shave until I move nicks. I think it would take me quite a time to build a respectable beard, plus I couldn’t really hack the itching. Sack that idea.

Yesterday’s t-shirt wash has left me with a sodden top still, I go without and just chuck a jumper on. It’s raining outside, nice to see a bad day when you can’t go out 🙂

At 8.45 the cell door opens, a friendly looking northern chap in a blue tracksuit comes to grab Mike for his gym induction, somehow I don’t think he will be going:

“Can I come instead?”

“Sure.” He says. I must have looked eager, besides I needed to get that squared away. I grab a towel and step out of the cell.

Suddenly it dawns on me, I may have a visit. I may also not have a visit, but for fear of either of us getting hauled over the coals for not being where we should, he pens me in for tomorrow and I retreat back into my dark cell. Something to look forward to tomorrow.

Back in the cell, while I await the indeterminate day ahead of me, another arrival, anther ‘Keymaster’. This time a woman who advises me that induction begins today. I called her ‘Love’ last night and she ticked me off for doing so. I call her ‘Madam’ this time but I’m sure she’s been called worse. Little Hitler.

I tell her I’m waiting for an induction visit.

“They’ve been discontinued”

My heart sinks on the sound of the sudden blow.

“No Visit?”

Eager to see friends, now I’m hoping they haven’t taken time off. I feel like more of a problem than I do already. I don’t get it; there is a sign on every landing informing me of this routine. It’s even in the pamphlet I was handed on the first night.

When you’re in the court cells and on arrival you’re generally given a:

‘Your first night in prison fact sheet’.

If I can’t rely on this what am I supposed to trust. Even the prison website reflects the Induction visits. I find out, a phone call later home, that 3 very special people, went out of their way to come see me, travelling many hours to do so. On arrival they were turned away.

I’m told later that the induction visits do or at least should take place and that it is enshrined in prison law that newly sentenced inmates are entitled to such visits. How do this many employees so poorly understand the rule and regulations. This isn’t a niche ruling after all. Punishment for those other than the convicted. I’m furious.

I head up to this ‘Induction’ session on the 4s landing. It involves me filling in a two boxes on a form and accepting a weekly 50p television charge. You might not think that’s much, but when you know the tv is a £10 analogue job and has been in that cell for a decade, you realise the prison makes a tidy income for the original investment on the televisions.

I’m currently on ‘Prisoner Unemployment Benefit’ – £2.50 per week, right now I envy those ‘Fat Cats’ on Jobseekers Allowance. Induction is now complete.

The next ten minutes is spent with some fellow white-collar crooks, engaging one another on sentences and conviction. The white-haired man called Aslan from the first night is in the room, he expects me to be shipped out to ‘Fraud’* Open Prison next thursday. I hope he isn’t pulling my leg, that would be incredible.

I’ve read online that the quicker you get through induction the quicker you can get categorised. I expect to be a Category D inmate. First time offender, non violent, no risk of escape etc. The other end of the spectrum is Category A: there is a significant and likely risk of escape and more often than not, you’re dangerous. As I head back to my cell, an education officer yells out for another form of induction. I detour via his room and ask to get it done now. I am given a basic literacy and numeracy test, which I would be disappointed if I scored poorly on. The paper’s are taken off of me and I’m given my ‘Bang-Up’ marching orders. To their credit, the two staff members in that office are decent humans. I imagine theirs is a thankless task. A stream of disinterested foreign nationals stream in patchily, there to distract their morning or to use as an excuse to slip out for the phone or the shower.

I later found out, that if your literacy or numeracy levels are deemed to very low, you can be made to undertake remedial studies. Failure to complete these and you will not be eligible for unemployment benefit on the outside.

The news is on in the cell. A juror has been sent down for contempt of court – private messaging a trial defendant via Facebook, causing the trial to collapse.

Maybe a poke would have been better?

I see Ian wandering around outside, my own cellmate is moving to a single cell on the hospital wing, he knows this and has been told its agreed he will move in.

While the cells empty, I do some push-ups and continue my writing. I wait for my new arrival; it’s agreed that it’s Ian, so I know it won’t be.

It isn’t…… and he comes in kicking and screaming: priceless.

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4 Responses to “Induction Begins – Day 4”

  1. Chris February 15, 2012 at 9:54 pm #

    Thanks for the Blog, David. I am potentially going to be banged up for a Section 18 assault so this insight is helpful to say the least. Awaiting the next installment!

    • disgracedbanker February 15, 2012 at 10:55 pm #

      Just make the effort to talk to others, try and quit smoking if you do already, it will make life easier not having to spend money on burn.
      Use your time wisely, read, learn a skill, keep yourself busy. The best way to do that is put your name down for jobs as soon as you can. Pester the screws and don’t be afraid to bombard them with applications etc. Touchwood you don’t end up with a spell but as long as you avoid trying to be someone you will be fine. If you’ve got nothing, no one will want anything.

      We had a sign on our cell door at Wanna saying:

      Non smokers, this means:
      No Burn,
      No Rizla,
      No light,
      So bugger off.

      Prison isnt as scary as people first fear

  2. lee February 18, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

    sorry i didnt grab your name, but im rivated to your daily installments. I found this blog on the unlock forum. Im looking at a spell in jail soon, first time and worried stiff about it all. Unfortunatly im smoking 10 to the dozen and cocaine is taking over my life just with the sheer worry and anxity. Hopefuly the spell inside will do me good. Your blog and reading it has made me feel a litle at ease. Thank you for taking the time out to do it and all the best for the future. Regards lee.

    • disgracedbanker February 18, 2012 at 8:00 pm #

      Mate, chill, you’ll be fine. Its what you make of it. If you act like a bad-man you’ll have a tough time, but if you act like a normal bloke people will have time for you. You have to remember, others inside want to find normal people to befriend also. Act normal and you’ll be a breath of fresh air.

      Take some reference books in, don’t spend your time playing old copies of Tiger Woods Golf or watching soap after soap. Prison is a blessing in that you get a chance to reflect, if you look a gift horse in the mouth and waste that time, time that you could use for the improvement of your future, then you’re only mugging yourself off.

      I taught myself spanish, not fluently, but I can read spanish to a good standard now, I also kept my diaries. I only wish I’d taken in a ‘How to beatbox dvd’ that would have been neat to learn. 🙂

      You catch my drift, just make the time productive. Theres no rape in UK nicks really and only smoke if you can afford too. Personally I would use this as a chance to rid yourself of a habit that only brings you down.

      Cheers for the comment, it means a lot to me when those in your position say that. It proved there was a reason for me to do it.

      Dave

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