Tag Archives: elliot morley

Kweku Adoboli / UBS/ The week review

23 Nov

UBS weak link Kweku Adoboli, saw himself star down the barrel of a 7 stretch this week in a dock once graced by I, at Southwark Crown Court.

Having already served over  a year of his sentence, he must now while away another 2 and a half years, although come the summer he will be allowed to begin home and town leaves. Quite how devious or truly criminal he is, is a topic that has been left in the calm, hysteria free hands of the  The Sun, The Mirror and the Daily Mail.

For many outside of the City of London, this was one of a number of obvious calamities still being committed by the arrogant swaggering bowler hat types.

Is Kweku really a criminal in the true caricature style we associate them with? His swag bag seemed a little empty for a man who is accused of a £1.4 billion fraud; for this isn’t a fraud with the intention to steal £1.4 billion, merely corporate financial manslaughter, where a sledgehammer was being used to crack nuts. What does 7 years buy you in other walks of life?

7 years is the average total sentence of Rapists in the UK.

7 years allows you to kill a man driving dangerously with intent.

7 years allows you to stab a man in the neck with a bottle for GBH.

Kweku will serve 7 years for doing his job badly in an environment where blind eyes were turned when the money came in.

Perhaps those blind eyes should too be punished, for creating the conditions and culture where deceit, and smokes and mirrors are employed.

As is likely, UBS will see no more criminal imprisonments amongst their staff. They will pay large fines and duck down below the parapet again for a number of years, before the next cataclysmic economic asteroid rocks the financial capitals of the World; where they hope their mistakes are the least and they can join the queue without making regulatory eye contact.

In the meantime Kweku will don the green trousers of a prison orderly, tamed –  for now.

I walk the streets of London once again, but these days my attire is a little more blue collar. My hands have paint and the callouses upon my palms are no more a Cityboy’s than they are a writer’s. Time moves every bit as fast once more, I wish I had some time to stop and reflect upon my life. A one year sabbatical seems a nice idea again 🙂

 

Part 2 – His and Her’s Tale. His Tale

1 Jun

His Tale:

51/2 months down, more than 6 since I’ve seen her last. I wake up nervous, my stomach filled with butterflies, today is the day I’ve dreamed of.

I keep myself occupied with a visit to the gym, setting  a new 30 minute distance row PB, 7631m. I see myself making improvements in personal fitness, it means my time here is not entirely a waste.

I have little appetite as my mind is focused on a date with destiny. I wonder where she will be sat, will she find it okay? What will she be wearing? What will we talk about? Will she cry? Will I cry?

So many thoughts drift, well, race across my mind as the minutes tick by.

I kill the hour before the visit deciding what to wear, showering and making sure I look as good as a man can whilst being in prison. I fear she will see something less than she has in me, in visiting me today. For the first time, a sense of shame crosses me as I think about my whereabouts. She is this travelled, articulate, intelligent and unique creature. Special in so many ways. I am a prisoner, stripped of liberty and often times dignity.

She tasted foods until recently from the magical east and the Orient; I queue up for mine with a plastic bowl. I know my worries are likely ill-founded, R would love me still even if I wore orange overalls today. It’s her best quality of all. She makes Mase feel young and wanted; she get’s my humour and inspires creativity within me, when other’s have only stifled it. My feet are shuffling and my knees are bouncing. I can;t take my mind off my anxieties: “Why am I so nervous?” I tell a friend who knows about my visit.

“MASON” is called out by a screw on duty, I scamper off to the visit’s hall so I am as near to the front as possible. I don’t want to lose a minute with this girl who waits for me.

As I walk through the door to the side of the hall, I am patted down by a guard and then look ahead of me.

Slightly to my side, my eyes lock on to the most beautiful sight, I can’t believe what I can see. It has been so long and yet I see nothing but the very best of that person I said goodbye to at the airport all those months ago. More beautiful than ever, tanned, lithe and running toward me at a concerning pace. She flies into my arms and wraps herself around me. It is all I can do to keep myself on my feet. In that moment of power blessed with her affection, she crashed into me and holds me close; as I hold her the same.

I feel like I’ve been set free.

I could be acquitted.

I could have been found not guilty.

I feel every emotion that equates to happiness. Today is marked down as one of the happiest days of my life.

When you have nothing but emotion, no material obstructions and no insincerity, you can find  a piece of true beauty, true euphoria that even drugs cannot deliver. In losing my freedom, I have tasted what it is to truly feel liberty. You may never envy my location, my whereabouts, my happenings and my failings but I will never envy your lives if I could go a lifetime without an experience that I shared with her today.

I spend the next two hours, nervous, giggling and an inch from the prettiest nose on earth. Tomorrow she comes again, I’ll sleep like a child waiting for Santa.

Cage Fighter Caged in a different life could be in London 2012 Rowing Team

31 May

I stay up late the previous night watching Scorcese’s Departed. Quality movie, but it leaves me sleepy the following morning. I go to bed pretty early these days, its the best way to get the day done. In the gym the next morning is a Cage Fighter and convicted drug trafficked Ken. A mammoth of  a fella and despite his warrior like appearance is very down to earth, respectful and approachable too. A former professional fighter, we strike up conversation over last night’s boxing. He hasn’t been here long and as I sit down to knock out a sedate 10km on the rowing machine, he plonks himself down next to me and obliterates the prison 1 minute distance test. I can only compare his output as an angry speedboat disrupting a leisurely Sunday afternoon’s canal barging. He takes a look at the other times on the different time trial leaderboards and comments casually:

“I’ll get a little fitter and I’ll see if I can beat those.”

Time proved his statement. He ends up holding the 2000m record. Watching the split times he produces in his rowing, they are phenomenal. The man is built for power and perhaps if life had thrown him a different hand, or had he been brought up in a more Tory environment, he could have been competing at an elite level with an oar in his hand.

Instead his life is shaded by organised crime and being paid to punch and kick.

Tall, broad and thickset, it’s funny how many would-be gold medal winners pass life by, completely ignorant to the sporting prowess they possess. I say ignorant, perhaps ‘unknowing’ is a more accurate description. Ignorant would be unfair. Ken, as a I shall call him should be sat in a boat on the Thames come July 2012. He will watch from Prison instead – sliding doors.

George has acquired some washing lines and erected a spider web around our ceiling. It is now our primary means of laundry. I admire his handiwork and listen to my Spurs beat Liverpool. Clarence, spends the day with his earplugs in, so he can enjoy Match of the Day in blissful ignorance. I know the score, I know he owes me biscuits, I see him before the highlights show and hold a straight face. Bless him, he is still confident of winning.

…………………………..

Day 99 arrives and is notable for the fact that it is day 99. More books arrive from R, I’ve got enough now, I don’t know if I’ll be able to get through all I have even with more time whacked onto my sentence.

Day 100 arrives and I feast on a little banquet of treats I purchased knowing this moment was coming. Diet Coke, wine gums, dates and OLIVES. The latter item, I had repeatedly flirted with buying but was put off as it seems a little OTT, ostentatious. But readers, NOW is definitely the time for Olives. As prison milestones go, 100 days is pretty big for me. In two weeks, I am at my halfway point and two after that I can apply for my first home leave.

I settle down for the evening, armed to the teeth with artificial sweeteners.

…………………………..

My 94 year old nan visits me today, the screws even hold doors open for her. That is the first time I’ve seen civility from them here. They may not show a lot of courtesy here, but they did today when it mattered. That ticked the box for me. Touched.

With my Nan came my parents, always a pleasure and these days I feel infinitely closer to them than I have ever been. I am the first to admit that this bad hand I’ve been dealt with is a blessing in disguise.

A new fella in the billet Ben strikes up a conversation. Just arrived here from a closed nick in Kent, he is on a 7 stretch. First impressions are that he has OCD but a good humour too. His cellmate is old enough to be his Dad, they make for an odd couple but it’s nice to get chatting to some new faces.

An ex screw is protesting out the front of the prison today over unfair dismissal or some nonsense due to a stress related injury. The gates are locked up and the local media are alerted. Inmates watch on vaguely interested but with a distinct lack of sympathy.

The World’s Stock Markets are again facing certain doom, I however am tackling a tougher issue. How to eat a bowl of custard with only a fork. I’ve forgotten my spoon for dinner and can’t remove the warm custard from the canteen. A few years ago, the wider financial market news would have etched a pain look upon my face as I would stare at the data screens and eek out an opportunity in a turbulent day of trading. How my life has changed immeasurably, how such stresses have ebbed and how much more content I’ve become.

Two mammoth swans arrive here at Ford, the seagulls seem a bit put out. Prisoners come out in droves to feed them. Lot of nature lovers here.

 

Life in Prison

28 May

So today is 3 months since I was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court and it feels like a good deal longer. Life is not tough, though a little boring at times, still, I can exercise each day, read the papers/books and have  a laugh. It’s just that I can think of more constructive things I could do with my time. I’ve seen a lot in my time inside and experienced such a spread of diverse peoples, a range perhaps I shall not see in my life had I not been “Behind the Door”.

I’m entering a writing competition with the literary class, I spend a bit of time today, completing my entry. I also am introduced for the first time to ‘Speed Solitaire’. A variation on conventional computer solitaire, using the one card draw method; by two inmates in the Education Department and who use my office, who are counting down the days until their release.

**BAD NEWS**

I’ve run out of visits and am likely to have sunday’s visit with my sister knocked back. How irritating that the most efficient system, in fact possibly the only efficient system is the visits booking schedule. I do still have an ‘Emergency Visit Order’, I am waiting to hear that it is still valid. The prison has cracked down on abuse of the system of late after complaints made by some inmates who missed out on visit slots. I’d sympathise with these grasses if I didn’t already know these same people were the type to be so badly organised that they have left something as important as arranging a visit with ‘loved ones’ to the last minute.

I speak to R finally and things seem okay, it’s a weight off my mind. She lets slip a surprise that she may be home earlier than expected. I’m thinking she probably had to do this just to appease me, like a spoilt child. Back in the kitchen, someone has stolen our worktop and our wheely bin. The residents of G2 are fuming at this inconsiderate action. Rather than ask prison estates to replace items, aggrieved inmates just nick someone else’s. To demonstrate the intelligence of those that dwell here, the billet stereo was left plugged in and put on the wet sink top. Perhaps this says more about the lack of training in practical skills than in the lack of common sense present. Who nicks a bin?

Tonight in the gym I train without my Ford Mr Fix It; the last time I saw him today he was off to pick up 10 bottles of Vodka. I think the worse when he doesn’t show up for training, With his release dates approaching its not like him to miss training. I needn’t have worried though, he falls into my cell stinking of booze to borrow some pegs for his washing after evening roll call. With only weeks to go until his release an ineligible for tag, any nickings of adjudications he picks up now will have little or no effect on his release date as he will be gone before they are sat before a judge. He therefore cares little about bending rules in his final days. He is a funny fella despite his criminal temerity and I enjoy hanging about with him. I like knowing how the real prison works and he can be assured I am very good at keeping mum; it’s why I’m here.

 

Lord Taylor of Warwick Part 2

27 May

A hurricane is a brewing – I use this as an ideal opportunity to dry some clothes outside. On the flipside it could also be a terrible time to do so but I’ll take my chances.

On the news, I hear Lord Taylor of Warwick the Tory Lord jailed for expenses fraud has been given his electronic tag to observe a Home Detention Curfew. To the lay person, this means being released on tag. He will have to observe strict curfews or face being recalled to prison. Today is the 3 month point of my own sentence. Had I only received a year I too would be out today. I didn’t, so I’m not.

Anyone with a sentence between 6 months and 4 years is eligible for early release on tag. This means in the best case scenario an inmate can spend up to four and  a half months doing the remainder of their bird at home. This is providing they have a home to go to, are wanted their and not deemed a danger to the community. Importantly, it clears up bedspaces in our crowded system and makes for  a cheap solution to containment.

Lord Taylor’s first priority was to do some work for penal reform charities on his release:

“If anyone listens to me” He says.

It’s a strange turn of events when a member of the ruling elite need to be disgraced to better understand the plight of the contemporary mass and become more in tune with society. Sadly it also becomes that bit harder to be listened to when you find yourself in such a situation. He aims to see inmates categorised while in the court cells after sentencing. The burden this will ultimately relieve on strained resources would be of untold value. After sentencing, the 5 hours plus sat on a wooden bench in an empty space could be more efficiently used by HM Courts and save having to send sane non violent offenders on a prison merry-go-round just to have them wind up at the correct nick weeks later than need be. George is a case in point. I get the impression that a good deal of problems in the UK Prison system could be eradicated if better use of the money alloted was made.

I busy myself in the education office reminding inmates of the importance of manners when they demand I put their names down for the Education Gym session – many of whom are ineligible anyway. It falls on deaf ears, coincidentally I tend to forget to write their names down too, at just about the same time.

I can’t help but think of R, she sent me 5 emails today, I worry I’m being harsh. I have continued to write to her, I just haven’t sent the letters. I need my outlet, my writing keeps me occupied and it helps me vent the thoughts I don’t feel comfortable telling those around me here.

Today I am halfway to home leave.

 

 

Paperchase – Coventry City FC – Labour MPs

24 May

On your last day here, you do what’s called  a paperchase. It’s all the sign off formalities to clear you for release. Only the guys leaving on tag take it real serious, being released early is deemed a privilege and not a right. Kick up a fuss over this and you could wind up staying for a little longer. For those who are leaving at their halfway point, they can use the paper as bog roll and still walk out the next morning. I imagine a fair number of people enjoy doing the paperchase as it’s that sense of last day excitement you have seen so many others go through.

I’d walk around with a bit of paper if it meant I was going home tomorrow.

The summertime seems to have ended, it’s proper damp here.

It’s making it that bit harder to clean our clothes. The heating isn’t on and the rain prevents drying clothes outside. Struggling to improvise here, in order to simply wear clean underwear – just like a holiday camp eh? The prison has now run out of ‘clean’ towels. So this 5 star resort is now a little shabby, unhygienic charade of a prison. The screws and management can’t sort out the simple matter of laundry; what good are they doing to the minds of young criminals?

At lunch one inmate is put on report after refusing to attend his afternoon work shift. He demands fresh clothes or access to cleaning and drying facilities. His work place is the gardens, so his only pair of prison greens (We are only allowed one pair of work/cargo trousers) are sodden. I don’t think asking for access to clean clothes warrants being put on report and being threatened with extraction to a closed prison.

While the public would wish us to break rocks for the rest of our days, with no opportunity for reform that sees us with the potential to live better lives* – being able to wear clean underwear and workwear is surely no mean stretch of requests; particularly given we are the (relative speaking) well-behaved bunch at Category D establishments.

*I mention this little barb after listening to a Radio 5 Report on an ex footballer being allowed on day release to train with Swindon Town FC. Ex Coventry City footballer Lee McCormick.

The inmate in question has served the good part of a 7 and half year sentence for death by dangerous driving. The tragedy took away two young lives after a professional footballer had been drinking before getting behind the wheel. It is awful and a man with no previous criminal history will be haunted for the rest of his days by this. Some call him a murderer, not a fair tag and not truly realistic but it is an additional punishment our society puts upon such people. I have met a handful of men inside for similar sometimes less culpable offences and often wonder to myself what is an appropriate sentence?

Coppers, Bus Drivers all sorts of perfectly sane, tax paying individuals you would happily have a conversation with and invite into your home. How would you sentence them?

In writing this, I do not seek to undermine the pain and suffering Phil and Amanda Peake have gone through, the parents. Nor would I wish to ignore the tremendous work they have done since the deaths of their two young children to highlight the dangers of drink driving.

Radio 5 gets me going – a separate story on the workings of prison wages, brings a lady on the phones with zero experience of the workings of the justice system yet heavily armed with critical information that has no foundation in truth.  This lady with no exposure or grounding in life this side of the parapet begins:

“Old people don’t get what they have…” Unsure of what that has to do with the prison debate…What do 80 year olds need with free weights or Methadone?

With many of us wearing dirty underwear, using filthy, pubic lice infested towels NOT WATCHING Sky, we are criticised for the lack of productive hours we put in – a prison management issue not ours. Then the very same people who spout this rhetoric demanding longer sentences are the farthest back in the list of people prepared to offer an olive branch at the end of it, to let us earn a second chance.

These holier than thou types seem to brand any person inside, a violent thug or dangerous predator. It is for this reason primarily that the Blue Collar inmates here LOVE seeing a ‘Well to do’ type fall from grace. Do I blame them?

Put it this way, hearing an ex Labour MP has today been charged with £60k worth of expenses fraud puts a smile on my face.

 

Bank Holiday Monday

20 May

If I could write anything of interest to describe the day’s events, it would be a grand use of artistic license. I don’t feel like lying, so I shall keep it short. Bank Holiday Monday has been very forgettable.

A feast is laid on for the Muslim inmates to celebrate Eid, the end of Ramadan. The actual figure of inmates here is now 60 who are classified as Muslim. The final toll of observers could be counted on one hand. The prison has spent 4 times the daily budget on these inmates, meaning the food fund for non Muslims is significantly lower. The quality of food has suffered therefore. A number of non Muslim inmates tried to attend the feast of Eid and were turned away. This isn’t equality, this is outright racial discrimination. In order to promote and foster greater spirit and community between racial and ethnic groups, all religious festivals should be inclusive, not simply the one-sided events at Christmas.

This sadly is never the work of the ethnic group themselves, but an ignorant jobsworth public ‘servant’ who is part of a failed system of integration. I am yet to meet an ethnic minority who espouses the opinions that lead to Town Halls banning Union Flags flying from buildings or discomfort over the term Easter or Christmas.

The divisive and dangerous ignorance is evidenced by the fact so few know Jesus is a significant Prophet in Islam.

The £2 per head spending on food each day to the general population is more like £1 per day at the moment. One inmate who works in the kitchens tells me frankly:

“For every tray of chicken served up, another is slipped out the back and sold for Burn”.

Tonight I am served a pitiful attempt at Turkey Stew. There is no meat in my stew and nothing solid at all. I push the food back and eat creamed rice for dinner. I get some bemused looks from the servery staff:

“Yes, I am going to have creamed rice for dinner”

While the prison is failing in the food aspect of operations, the laundry is now closed for the next two weeks. In  prison two weeks is an altogether different measurement period. With the inclement weather it is going to be very difficult for a billet of 20 men to be able to wash their underwear etc.

With no onsite launderette, prisoners here have offered to buy machines for our own use. This multi-million pound operation runs so inefficiently it can’t even take charity from prisoners. This is something you don’t read in the press. Convicts buying the prison equipment… what a farce.

2nd September

100 Days until my first visit home.

Today has been a lush day and I am sure for many in the UK it represents the last vestige of what can only loosely be termed British Summer Time.

Spence has had his release date confirmed for Wednesday and I’ll be sad to bid him farewell. He has kept me company these last few weeks and I hope he can crack on with the rest of his life without returning here again. I feel that pang of envy, that jealousy you feel as those around you leave before you do. It’s awful and you feel nothing short of shallow for feeling it.

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”.

…………………………………

Bollywood

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.

Days that melt into one another

12 Apr

A long slow day that as sodden and as miserable as prison can be. A monday in civvy street is a depressing part of the week for most people. Sometimes Mondays feel good, a new week to tick off has begun, but with little to keep me occupied beyond writing, at the moment, today feels somewhat worse.

That sensation of being trapped and unable to leave the prison, makes for such inner gloom.

Just because I am not trapped in a metal cage doesn’t mean I’m not trapped in any other sense. My life can’t begin fully until I walk out the front gates on their terms. A month in and many more to go, I’m starting to get irritable. This week is number 5, I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be close to the end. It will come, patience is an attribute I’m still working on.

I finally pick up my radio, I look forward to buzz free listening. Not having to hold my arm in the air, or hang the radio off a ceiling light fitting, just to get signal. As if that yard will make any difference in the whole scheme of things, where radio waves travel through the ether.

In the mail room today I’m perked up by a backlog of letters forwarded on from Wandsworth, there’s a prison letter in there too. It’s from Darren, I rip it open and trot back to my cell to start reading it all.

My original diary entry wrote this as:

“I felt like a squirrel, racing back to his home to bury his armful of nuts”

It sounded dross; so I’m only going to refer to it, as an item that fell on the cutting room floor.

…and rightly so.

I try not to write like a CBeebies script writer.

Back in the cell. having returned from B Wing office, there’s a note on the floor. It’s a B Wing Call Up slip.

What’s a B Wing Call Up slip?

It’s a sheet of paper advising you to report to B Wing reception and collect some paperwork. Sometimes it is simply a reply to an App, others it could be collecting a sealed response to a complaint. Having just got back from there I immediately turn back to see what awaits me in my filing cabinet.

A response to my application to be a billet cleaner. Single cell and free time in the day to devote to study and writing.

The App I’m told, is going to be put in the in-tray of the cleaning officer. Did they need to call me up to tell me this?

Day 37

Wet again.

Canteen day brings a cheer to my week. I spend the morning causing untold damage to a door frame in Carpentry, at lunch Delroy returns to the cell after one of his rare occasions out of the small room; angered by an ‘Electronic Tagging’ rejection form.

“Offender not UK Citizen”

As I’ve said before, he is and his passport to prove it, is in his locked property box here.

It’s a bit of a ‘Computer says no’ situation. As annoying as I find him, I don’t take pleasure in his discomfort. He’s harmless and just a belligerent old man. He has been advised of his appeal opportunities, but they won’t be heard till November: 4 months away. It sounds to me, that an appeal isn’t necessary, just someone taking a personal, bottom-up view of the situation. This bureaucracy and bad communication doesn’t do the prison service any favours.

Later in the day, I deal with an altogether different type of John Lewis list than an MP is used to. I submit to Ex-Politician Elliot Morley, a duvet order form, after ‘Property’ here rejected one brought in for me by my sister.

No sooner have I put my order in, I’m offered an unused still wrapped one from an inmate on my course who had another sent in from home. The spare is sat in his property box. Leaving Ford soon, we discuss me buying his off him at a discount. I head back to Elliot and cancel my order. I could have a duvet much sooner than I anticipated. A small completely irrelevant luxury to you reading this, but a home comfort I’m reminded I miss every night.

 

The Morning of a New Chapter

25 Mar

I wake naturally in the absence of my alarm.

No yelling.

No banging.

No clunking.

No chains of keys jingle jangling.

Out the window is a green square.

I reach under my bed, eyes focused on a view of relative beauty and withdraw a packet of cereal and carton of milk for my breakfast. With it I make myself a tea, Euro Shopper prison’s cheap stuff. Angst of isolation, new-found friend-less state of solitary stimulation. Alone here and starting again; I can be contented that I shall never need to return to the fire filled belly of the underworld.

I go for a stroll in between a widely spaced and sparse list of induction activities that require my presence. It’s a small world and casual small talk near the Chapel leads me in to a conversation with a friend of a friend. He is in fact seeing this old work colleague of mine in his weekend visit. I pass on my wishes and am buoyed by a sense of familiarity with at least one soul here. He gives me his cell number to pop by and chat at a later time, I decide to put it on the back-burner for a while. I’ve spent the last 2 years talking about the specifics of financial law and really don’t fancy giving up the retirement of this, anytime soon. He himself was implicated in a much larger Boiler Room Scandal, his sentence reflects it. Serving a 5 year sentence for establishing unregulated brokerages outside of the UK to sell shares in a range of questionable investments. An Essex boy like myself, he has seen the high life and is now sitting in the role of Society low-life. With a kid and a wife, I get the impression he has toned down his aspirations these days. This is the thing with many investigated in complex financial crimes, the time it takes to investigate, charge and then prosecute. There are some, where half a decade or more can pass from initial arrest. Many of those who experience such a fate, are much different people by the time sentencing comes round. Don’t misinterpret this as a statement suggesting they do not deserve punishment, it’s just a point to be noted. It is simply that much more punishment lay in the purgatory and the not knowing for the future, than the mere act of prison itself. For me the real stress ended, the moment my head touched the pillow for that first night in Wandsworth.

Working alongside J my new-found acquaintance, is ‘Shamed MP’ Elliot Morley. I didn’t consider who he was, when he politely introduced himself as Elliot and asked if I need advice or help to pop into their office. I treat people as they treat me, in prison. Elliot seems a decent enough bloke, a bit nervy but I guess not all are able to feel comfortable in such drastically different conditions than they have become accustomed too. It must be quite a shock to the system to be sat in Parliament representing tens of thousands of constituents one year, to wearing green cargo pants, working in a prison helping a chaplain. I won’t judge him for his mistakes, half the Commons were on the take BESIDES a man in a wig and robes has already done that. Who would have thought I needed to come to jail to meet an MP (Ex) and a Lord.

 

Shortly after I walk off, Elliot heads for his dinner. What happened next made it’s way into the papers…