Later that day…

2 May

I get a call-up slip to head to the Medical wing for my Hepatitis B Jab. Wasted journey, the prison has run out of vaccine.

Don’t worry, there’s not some epidemic kicking off here; a massive Hep Infestation.

In the billet the phone isn’t working. It’s been like this for a while now. No one says anything as they think nothing will get done and because nothing gets done, no one ever says anything. Perfect.

When the final roll call bell goes off in the evening, we are confined to the billet. For those who need to call home during these hours (That’s everyone), we have to risk a nicking, also known as an ‘Adjudication’; or at the least an IEP Warning. Through out the night inmates dash back and forth on ninja phone missions. Its the same when the toaster or kettle is on the blink. Imagine no access to a cuppa of an evening. That’s jail right there!

The Duvet Saga Continues…

I spoke to my folks. My mum’s getting a duvet sent in direct from an approved prison supplier. Magic – surely this will sort my headache out. She finished the conversation with:

“Yes, your Dad thought you would like a nice big double duvet for you to wrap yourself up in in the winter.”

I listened to her kind words and then said:

“Sh*t – cancel it, I’m never gonna let them pass through a DOUBLE duvet”

A day goes by and I hear my mother’s changed the order to the approved prison supplied issue. I head up to reception on hearing of a speedy delivery and queue up to collect my property at the required time: 18:30.

I’m in the queue rolling on the balls of my feet – perky, I can’t wait to run this quilt back to my pad and smell fresh bedding.

I approach the desk and it’s the same officer who rejected my deal with a previous inmate.

The one who thinks I bully prisoner’s for bedding.

The one who suggests a prisoner takes a duvet out of the prison, back home and then sends it in to me, so it can be put into my property free of the stains of discreet violence! Apparently Royal Mail absolves your sins. Hand delivering is off course ruled out, there needs to be a link in the chain. Absurd.

It’s the same chap who my mother spoke to recently to confirm the BS Kite Mark details for the quilt.

It’s the same screw who spoke to my mother on more than one occasion to confirm these details AND the same screw who therefore had countless opportunities to inform me of a new prison rule that sounds both highly specific and suspicious, but no less believable. I hear it for the first time anywhere in the prison right now:

A new rule brought in after the New Year Riots and subsequent fire means no inmates can have duvets sent in of any kind. This of course does not stop them from selling their own line; but there exist fire safety fears, so a (ahem) ‘blanket ban’ on all others is apparently now in force. This of course is a truck full of ‘adolescent male cows’. I’m furious, they have incurred my folks cost and wasted their time. They aren’t in prison, they haven’t broken any laws. This petty nastiness punishes the innocent in all of this – the families and friends. What gives an insecure bully who can’t do their job properly the right to keep on being paid to tell others how to behave.

The quilt meets all British Fire Standard regs, it now sits in my property box taking up unnecessary space because one man doesn’t know his job. Seriously, it’s a duvet and I’m getting so worked up about it. With few outlets to vent inside, these types off issues can often manifest into greater problems.

I put in an app, asking the following:

“What standard of British Safety levels, must a duvet meet before it can be presented out to a prisoner?”

If they answer this on face value, I have good enough grounds to make the screw give me my duvet. Project OutSmart has begun.

Petty mind for a petty law.

I’m interested to hear the notion that the fire that started during the riots was exacerbated in any way disproportionately by inmates bedding. If the fire had reached the bedding, it had already worked its way pretty quickly through tinderbox construction of the billets. I hear the wooden builds ignited quickly, besides:

FIRE TENDS TO TAKE HOLD WHEN THE 4 SCREWS LOCKED THEMSELVES IN THE CONTROL ROOM AND DID NOT THINK TO CALL THE FIRE BRIGADE FOR 24 HOURS.

FIRE EXTINGUISHERS WERE HALF-FULL AND EVEN EMPTY IN SOME CASES

INMATES WERE UNABLE TO CALL FOR EMERGENCY SERVICES ON THEIR PAYPHONES

Now for some lower case text as the matter requires. Those contraband ‘Techs’, mobiles to me and you; were needed and used to call 999 when the billet phones wouldn’t. There are some decent guys here and a good number with volumes more grey matter than our handlers. The prisoners helped preserve a great deal of property and the talk of large scale riots is generally overplayed.

Don’t believe the hype.

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