A social documentary of Prison Life in the UK

19 May

No scrambled eggs, I got up for nothing I curse within me as I trudge back to my cell holding my solitary boiled egg.

In the gym I knock out a 10km Row and then head outside for  a 5km jog. I have a little body weight circuit I do each lap of the prison. My theory is, I will run my body into the ground. The outcome should be one of the following:

a.) The physical fitness of a special forces soldier; or

b.) Such physical disrepair that I shall be granted leave of the prison for an afternoon to have my joints looked at.

The exertion causes me to spend the rest of the day sleeping, with small interruptions for F1 and writing.

I get offered a kilo of tuna from a kitchen worker I train with. I don’t have the readies to suit his short term tobacco desires so I introduce him to a lad on the billet who makes a trade in anything not readily available to prisoners. If either party was caught involved in this trade, they can expect their time in prison to be extended and a speedy removal from the relative comfort of an open prison. HMP Lewes or Winchester, certainly aren’t an upgrade.

I read yesterday’s (ahem) Sun and to my disgust find out I shared a roof with the killer of Baby P. I never delude myself that all those in Wandsworth were lovable rogues but to see in print that such scum was living only yards from me, brought home the reality of my situation. Knowing I could have done the country a favour, a missed opportunity for twisted stardom passed me by. To be fair, many would have thought the same, to this end, he would have been held in the secure wing: “On the Numbers”.



My little lady in the Indian Subcontinent speaks to me today from the set of a Bollywood movie. Performing in a ballroom scene, a pang of jealousy strikes knowing some hired dandy gets to dance with my little princess.

There is a prison biathlon being run today. A 10km cycle and a 2km row. Both George and I wake with pre-competition nerves; a nice sensation given the shortfall in stimuli behind bars. I finish 3rd, George 2nd. It being Bank Holiday, the prison is quiet with the absence of many inmates.

New Media

I listen to my beloved Spurs being dismantled on Radio 5 and then read an article in the Daily Mirror that is nothing short of ‘Total B*llo*’.

It relates to resident MP Elliot Morley and is entirely misleading in it’s content. It is exactly this type of tabloid journalism that derails much of the work the prison service does and would like to do. This particular article is led by a captioned image showing Elliot just to the side of the Prison Chaplain. A photo taken in his early days here when his appearance was more dishevelled, is used to show some cosying up of the ex MP and the Chaplain. An eagle eye shows that in fact the MP is not actually standing beside the man of the cloth. Given that Elliot Morley works in the Chaplaincy the paper uses this visual to show that favours were being done for him. This is as opposed to letting some ignorant troublemaker having a job that involves hoovering the church. Do we really think as sane human beings, this job is prized by those from sink estates who would rather spend their days here bullying others or playing on their playstation?

Elliot got his job here because he asked. Just as every other Orderly who gets such jobs does. It is the minority that want such roles here, you don’t need to be an ex MP to have life a little easier, you just need basic literacy skills and the ability to talk without needing to grunt or spit every other sentence.

The article remarks at the speed at which he arrived here. It took him two and half weeks. Why should it take any longer for a non violent, first time offender to be classified as such and moved to the appropriate establishment?

I was here in 3 weeks and others from Lewes are here in a matter of days. The Jackanory finishes by referring to his time at Wandsworth as a ‘Mini-Break’. This is the same Wandsworth branded as ‘Demeaning’ just last week. I wonder if the writer of this fiction would fancy spending a couple of hours in the prison exercise yard in SW18 3HS.

The story and others such as these are the work of bounty hunting screws and story hungry hacks. Such fiction is often the only information society gets on the workings of the prison system and it does much to dispel the real situation inside. Don’t believe all that you read. This place is neither picnic nor shower-shaggingly frightening.

That’s all today

I look forward to the day the Leveson Enquiry sees a number of these journos head this way. Then and only then might we see some more accurate reporting in the future. That’s if News International and Co are about to re-employ them.


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