From Aussie Supermax to the London Dungeons

3 Mar

Globetrotter and taking the time to stop for notable sites of attraction, Tony spent 6 months in the ‘Chopper Reid’ environment of an Australian Supermax prison. Not yet convicted but you can still legally waste away for years in such hardened environments. Supermax in Australia is not a pleasant place to be. Two man, three man bang up and the worst of the worst. Gangland figures from the East, Central Europe, Russia and the Balkans, as well as the home grown Ockers. Bikers are a big thing in Oz too, all paths in a Supermax lead to danger. Waiting on an extradition treaty to kick in, quite a bit of introspective reflection it seems took place in this man’s life. Guilty of crimes or not, we all have times in our life when we sail close to the wind, I for one thing make no bones about my own experiences improving me as a person, regardless of my thoughts of the particular offence I pleaded to. I’ve not been an angel; voted:

“Most likely to appear on Crimewatch” at my school leavers do – Tony lived a fast life too.

He talks to me about his religious beliefs, he’s a devout Christian, I would love to know if his beliefs were as strong before prison, I may ask in time. Inside prison, within this world, you wait to be offered the information, you don’t snatch those questions out of turn. To look at him, he’s a smart talking ‘Unit’. My first impressions were not immediately of a former financial professional, he’s built a little bigger than your average accountant but maybe that’s time spent in prison for you. As soon as he opens his mouth, you can detect education.

Charged with Fraud Conspiracy offences, he is alleged to have links to a Mega Million Pound Scandal; he draws huge comfort from his faith while he is separated  from his wife and kids. In my time inside, he is amongst the most selfless people I’ve met here. He willingly helps even the most outcast inmates. How he acts inside of prison, 24/7, will have no reflection on how the media or the courts see him, they will never be aware of this man’s persona here. He could be as devious as he likes here and put a show on for the courts, or he could be kind within these walls and no one would be any the wiser. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges set out and I have seen more good spirit from this man even if he were to be guilty than I have seen in years of knowing others on the outside who will never appear before a court.

The difference between in here and outside there:

“You truly know someone’s character”. In the meantime, you continue to give way for that drunk driver, or help that elderly paedophile cross the road.

After recently hearing some bad news from back home and being the subject of demonstrably false gossip here, (Accused of being an informant he lost his rag) ended up being sacked from his prison job and moved to a cell on the 4’s. As I said before, the 4’s house the nightmare cases and his new cell mate was an A Cat rated, sadistic and self harming, violent, ex-paratrooper fresh back from an 8 year sentence in a blood curdling violent Venezuelan prison. On entering the cell, Tony laid out his ground rules:

“Don’t have the tv on too loud and don’t sh*t in the toilet while I’m in the cell, besides that; all’s well”

The mis-aligned A-Cat para takes this statement on board before spying that Tony is reading the bible. He consider’s whether Tony has made a confrontational remark…. seconds pass and nothing is said, eyes locked onto one another. Then….

Nothing.

No explosion of attitudes, no row, just a shockingly polite request to show Tony some of his favourite verses.

The following morning, the screws check-in to see if Tony has had a nightmare evening, has claret been spilled? They know Tony, this is nothing more than a bit of punishment for him, his cell-mate would normally be banged up alone. His previous day’s behaviour violation, earns them the right to make him suffer, a man not convicted of any offence as yet. As the eye slot opens, there sits Tony and a man with a penchant for violence, drinking tea while having a pray. Not my idea of a good morning, but a warming tale in this vault of horrors regardless.

I’m not a religious man but not closed to the idea either, but I can’t help but be impressed by the ability of two such different men finding common ground through G’d. Now, let’s see if we can make that work outside of prison! I’m not naive, I see the damage MISINTERPRETED texts over the years, has had, but prison is a powder keg of problems and such a story reminds us of the good that can be had too.

Sadly a story like this, only comes about after some unprofessional perhaps criminally insane prisoner allocation. Someone will look out for that man. It may not surprise you then when I tell you that it was Tony who made sure the nervous inmate from before was well taken care of. His cell mate Andrew, is equally as sincere in helping others. Whatever happens in their cases, no one besides us, society’s black sheep – the bruises on Britain’s body will know of their true nature, their good will; I hope Karma does it’s work here one day.

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