An update on civvy street – what is life like after prison

7 Jan

It’s been a little while since I posted last. My life has moved on, framed by experiences and educated by mistakes.

I believe that failure is the only education an entrepreneur gets – so you better listen to the teacher.

I moved away from writing on my prison experiences and commentary on the banking sector, as I wanted to make a life as far removed from the Sin City as possible. I try to communicate with old friends but am always wary that a bad choice in their own life will suck me under too. I’m a married man now, that girl who wrote to me every day, now holds my hand every night asleep. I had been out of prison a month or two and struggled to find work; so was blessed with some considerate family and friends to let me work on building sites, doing some labouring and for another do some admin work. Not what I had aspired to when I left University for the big smoke in 2005, but for the first time in my life I felt like a rich man with a couple of hundred quid in my pocket every Friday. It gave me the chance to save a little, and now I run a small sole trading business that pays our rent and keeps us stocked in a nice bottle of red once a week. I’m an uncle, I have my health and I’ve made new memories frequently. Spurs are still struggling to be a decent footballing side – some things never change.

It was a few months into doing odd jobs on building sites, that an offer of doing electrical testing popped up. I attended the interview more nervous than I have been before when sat down with fund managers. I established they were looking for an external company to outsource all of their testing work and not just an employee. Fortune favours the bold and in seconds, thats exactly what I was. I had my own safety testing company.

One thing no one can take is the education of spotting an opportunity.

My wife at the time had told me to not give up on using my brain or being afraid of business ventures. One mistake in the business world at 26/7 should not cap ambition. She was right – I had become insular in my attitude toward working for myself ever. Scared to put a foot wrong, I was wasting opportunity but so far not one company had offered me a job when I admitted from the outside I had a criminal record.

Here’s an educated young man, smartly turned out, well spoken and completely unemployable to those with little time to experiment with an ex-offender. It highlighted a problem once more that your punishment does not end. High insurance premiums, struggling to get a bank account, can’t get a job; the list is a lot longer than I can pen at this time. This is why prisons are a merry-go-round.

With no chance of being employed, the only solution for those with a bit of self motivation is to work for yourself. In fact those ex offenders I still speak to who have an income not derived from the Department of Social Security, work for themselves. Who would have thought that the so-called entrepreneurial driven economic recovery is being fuelled by old lags.

I drive through many town’s on business these days and often spot those Victorian walls that define a prison – the memories will never fade; and I wonder for a moment what life is like for those that will depart one day. Will they find a chance or will they get swept under the social injustice hoover once more. Conscious that this blog has strong SEO and is still read by thousands every year, if you find this post and want a chat about how you can build a life for yourself on the outside, you can message me and you’ll find an open set of ears. If you need advice on how to get on, check out Unlock an ex-offender charity organisation set up to help those on release.

Drop me a message on Twitter @disgracedbanker