No Manners, No Common Sense

11 Mar

I never cease to be amazed by the lack of common sense, courtesy and respect for others I witness amongst inmates. I wonder if an instilling of a little discipline, some gratitude too, would have stopped a good deal ending up in here.

As an inmate in on an 8 million narcotics haul remarked to me today – you just don’t get real villains inside anymore. The complete absence of awareness and mental faculty amongst the drug addled inmates is visible to even the blind. Blatant attempts to handover medications or drugs to one another on the landings, in clear line of sight of the screws is farcical. I wonder what their forebears here, Ronnie Biggs, Buster Thomas, or the Richardsons would say. It’s hardly Ocean’s 11 here. Speaking of which, my new work buddies in the hot plate, herald from a gang referred to in the media as the Ocean’s 11 Safe-Crackers. Funny bunch of lads, with a hatful of stories, I didn’t find them immediately approachable, but I guess they keep their cards close to their chest. They let me stuff my pockets full of extras to my heart’s content, so as far as I’m aware in my warped analysis, these boys are fine by me. There’s is a story I’d like to know more about, they’ve both been to Ford, so I’ll use that as a way to strike up a chat sometime. Would be nice to know what to expect at that place, as and when I get out of here.

Back to my rebuke of large slices of this place, there’s an armful of plastic gangsters, yelling abuse from secured landings, shouting out the windows at night to lads on other wings. Window Warriors they’re called. You’ll never follow through on half the muck you flip, but as each day goes by, another moron replaces the last. Broke Britain’s bang in Business.

In on a two week sentence, a month, 30 days to make it sound longer: complaining constantly about their treatment, carrying razor blades in their pockets ‘For Protection’, bitching about the colour of bread on offer or how many salt sachets they get. This to the man next to me, serving their gravy, just starting out on a 24 year sentence and yet he’s able to crack on with things. Grow Up. The irony is, as gangster as they think they’re being, it couldn’t put them any further away in the pecking order from the real villains they imagine they will aspire too.

The prison service spends less than £2 per day on inmates food, cooked by other inmates. Because of this, each prisoner is limited at this place, to 1-2 butter sachet per day and a couple of salt and peppers respectively. Trying to explain the implications on other inmates if one is given more than his ‘fair share’, is akin to reading a newspaper submerged in water.

One of the same prisoners, who makes a scene about the same issue each day, today attempts to abuse an officer, before then seeing sense about the same time as the extendable batons completing their back swing. The part-time hardcase, falls to the floor cowering as whistles erupt all around the Wing. It’s a storm in a tea-cup, and he’s a mug in a fish bowl, still, it keeps the Screws from nodding off. It’s not all what you see on tv, a lot of the time it’s a non-event here.

Having moved into George’s cell, he has decided not being a smoker, makes him an ideal candidate to be able to effectively trade tobacco. He won’t desire to smoke away his profits and with a few quid in his kitty to get started, he is in an advantageous position over others. Canteen being delivered, means I spend the afternoon and a bit of the evening teaching my new cell mate the art of rolling. My pals will laugh at this, I’m a long way from being an expert, my old uni roll-ups, looked more like a short tampon than anything to smoke. I used to get my pals to do it for me, but we blag him a decent cache with which he can begin to tout his wares in this new fledgling career of his.

The time spent doing this little task, gives us the opportunity to get to know one another a little better, he’s a funny bloke, belligerent at times but I like him. He’s an Alan Partridge fan too, he scores highly in my books. We chat about the legal/illegal drugs debate and the hypocrisy of legal tobacco, alcohol and it’s counter arguments.

The argument that recreational drugs leads to harder substances rarely washes with any of the millions that this ploy is said to apply to. There is as much proof that those who drink Irn Bru* are tempted to use Heroin than those who recreational cannabis smokers are. I just wonder what precluded Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, David Cameron, Prince Harry etc from using the feeder drug of marijuana to becoming hooked on Crystal Meth and Scag? Perhaps the answer lies in the question – what social issues most frequently link Heroin Users?

*Irn Bru selected with its large sales in Urban Scotland. Regions famed for higher than average Heroin abuse.

Being an argument that one could continue in a book of its own right, I shall leave it there. My opinions are not as entirely black and white as the statement above suggests. I’m merely playing devils advocate. But we should all just be a little wiser than to believe every hysteria war-cry that leaves the lips of a politician or red-top. Suffice to say that the last British Serviceman to leave the Colony of Hong Kong at the hand-over, did not expect to be sat in a prison cell some 14 years later, debating liberalisation of drug laws. Meanwhile ‘Tracy Island’ eat your heart out is taking place with my Blue Peter approach to making ‘Roll-ups’.

It’s the first time I’ve had a high brow discussion in weeks and it’s intensely enjoyable. The hours flick by, as some letters from R slide under the door. Pages of attentive jokes and emotion await me this evening, as it does every evening now. She continues to write each day, just as I do. I love her, just as much as I’ve ever done. I dream of the moment we see each other in a visit’s hall. So long away, counting every minute.





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