Tag Archives: lawyer

Saturday night fever

15 Mar

“For talking back to me, I warn you now, I’ll issue you an IEP.”

George is advised in no uncertain terms that any more transgressions will result in an Incentive and Privilege downgrade. The phrase: ‘You can’t reason with ignorance’ is applied here and my cellmate takes this as his cue to leave but not before asking for:

A bar of soap.

Some shower gel sachets

A new razor

A Visit Order form

A toilet roll, and any other items that Twat is obliged to hand him.

He joins me down stairs still trying to find a screw to come to location of my block. We grab one and when asked if he could open our cell door, he replied:

“It’s not my job to open and close your cell door.”

Think about that statement, from a screw, a prison guard.

It is actually the fundamental responsibility of a prison guard to:

a.) Open a door

b.) Close a door

Perhaps I asked the cultural liaison executive or mistook him for an inmate, but I doubt it.

If ever you want proof of Prison staff’s mental capacity, consider a prison guard telling an inmate that it isn’t his job to open and close cell doors.

The screw who finally relents and opens our cell door is an optimistically named, Mr Friend. I’ve never met a person with an aspiration as a surname. It shows its hardly worth being a model prisoner here, courtesy is not extended to even those who muck in and make a difference. Hand me my Methadone and ten packets of butter.

Across the wing, rumours spread of a Governor’s inspection. Search mobs in combat fatigues, loving the sense of thrill of doing a cell by cell sweep. It’s the nearest these overweight pretenders will get to feeling like SAS.

We have never been sat down and informed, what is and what isn’t contraband. My omission of any introductory prison briefing from management, is not sheer written idleness, it’s because there isn’t one. Everything you will ever learn in prison, will be from a fellow inmate. Prison rules and regulations change so frequently and often for little rhyme or reason, I realise over time, screws have just given up ever learning them.

I am a little worried that through no fault of my own, I have items deemed unacceptable. I found a two pence piece yesterday, money is banned inside, so i panicked and chucked it in the servery bins. Ridiculous isn’t it? I didn’t want  to put it in my own bins in case they rooted through my litter. George has pieced together what he can and we go through the cell assessing if it is or isn’t legal within our possession here.

First up is a towel pinned across a shelf to afford me some privacy from prying eyes skulking around the landing. Perfectly reasonable, completely forbidden. In place on my arrival, its clear there is no system of cell inventory keeping by the staff. Which begs the question, can any punishments for excess or misused kit hold up if the cell hadn’t been inspected on entry?

The answer….. YES, of course they can.

I’m not really sure how a disciplinary system can be implemented, when no one, including the enforcers know the correct procedures.

I have a little time before lock down to call home and speak to my dad; I wish him a belated birthday.

Tony grabs me as I walk back to my cell, braced for religion I’m disarmed with a working radio. He knows my desire to listen to the boxing fight tonight and has foregone his ability to listen to religious audio tapes for me. Good bloke, now all I need is David Haye to come good.

It doesn’t happen. Still, it was nice about the radio though yeah? 🙂

 

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A New Day…

13 Feb

After a night of thinking and staring at a tv, I wake up late at a little after 8.15. There is a lot of time to sit and think here and just as much to watch the tube. I stopped being a tv man shortly after my problems with the regulator began. Life’s for living, I embrace that mantra, getting re-acquainted to society’s modern opium hasn’t taken long though. A bit of Jack Dee and Luthar fortify my cell from beyond the door.

Last night, there was a lot of door banging, those faces obscured by hoods your mother would cross the road to avoid; well they’re here and they miss their own. No-one is going to answer your door and over pressed panic alarm buttons inside your pad, are very possibly only there for visual effect. Red-lights flashing outside cell doors, are ignored for hour after hour. The concept of ‘duty of care’ is not widely embraced here at Wandsworth.

Chains rattle again, the jingle nearer every second, expectantly like a dog we look toward the door; it’s opened and morning light floods in:

“Medication!?” Is barked at us.

“What medication?” I ask.

The door slams back shut.

Each morning the cell doors are unlocked for ‘medication’. This is the large percentage of inmates who are following a program of Heroin withdrawal. Their medication is Methadone or Subutex. I’ve never heard of the latter but it is dispensed in a small white cup with a shot of green liquid. The ‘Methadonians’ as I hear one screw refer to them, trudge along to a dispensary at the end of each landing and are served through a barred door. They are made to consume their drugs there and then must return back to their cell.

The reason for the above is some will sell their own medication to others. This approach doesn’t stop those who preserve it in their mouth, only to spit it back out when they get back to the relative privacy of their cell. Those with tablets, do the very same. I don’t know the going rate, nor do I know why someone becomes a buyer for this junk; but I can hazard a guess.

Alex tells me that this stuff is exactly the same as that which it replaces. Posing the riposte to the argument of de-criminalising heroin etc; haven’t we already done it?

Association

I hear an escalation of sound as some activity is brewing, the ‘clunk-click’ of tens of steel locks tell me its Association time.

Alex, a veteran of jail by now, tells me to grab a shower before it gets filthy and before I can’t again. It’s already hot this morning, outside there’s a summer breeze I’ll not know but in here there’s an extra few degrees that no sooner do you wash the prison off your skin, a layer of grime is waiting to take its place. From sweat soaked clothes to sweat soaked clothes, it might be an idea to shower fully dressed.

I grab my towel and prison bar of soap ‘Buttermilk’, I wonder what I’ll do if I drop it? I didn’t get  a rope with this one….

I don’t have a bar of soap but I’m entitled to laugh.

On arrival I was loaded up with sachets of coconut smelling hair and body gel, so clutching 2 or 3 of these, my flip-flops and that front-on middle distant gaze, I slink into the shower room. It’s not busy, I’m surprised, you’d think others would be desperate to maintain a sense of sanitary dignity. Maybe they all believe the rumours of prison showers, maybe most of the guys here all have the same insecurities and same concerns as one another. Some others come into the room now, quick nervous glances dart around from all. There is a lot of Poles and Russians here, I detect a language not my own and can’t help noticing they shower with their underwear on. Suddenly I feel very conscious, am I doing the wrong thing? Am I now, one of those shower stalkers that they’ve only read about in books and seen in films? After a game of rugby if I or one of the lads showered in his boxers, you’d be laughed at – I’m not the odd one here, who showers in their pants!?

I notice I’ve spent a long time talking about a shower scene and probably shouldn’t refer to it as a: .

‘Shower Scene’

I finish up and walk the short distance back to my cell. Alex calls out:

“You might want to wait a minute”

A silhouette of a man sat down is etched upon our bedsheet/curtain divider. I ask him to open the window but I don’t hold out hope, not unless he has an angle grinder.

“Its okay, I’ll burn some incense.” Says Alex

Its not okay but it will do. 🙂

It seems stupid but I felt buoyant, I’d only had a shower but I’ve walked a prison landing and faced a fear. It wasn’t what it was cracked up to be, if I can use the phones now without having a tear-up, I’ve had a productive day inside.

Others on the landing, are hanging in gangs. The Russians, the Poles, Romanians, JaFake-ans (Kids from London but mimic Jamaican) and the Muslim Brothers. Each one is drawn to a crowd for the obvious protection it affords, I wonder if there’s a crew for me? Not seen many in Lewin shirts and Saville Row Whistles.

I get changed and scurry through my paperwork. I kept a list of numbers and addresses printed onto A4 in my holdall and now grab it so I can use the phone. Prisoners are issued with a pin code, mine’s: 37994495, (And its empty if anyone sends it in! 🙂 ) this stops the obvious trade in phone cards. Instead, weekly you enter how much you wish put onto your phone account from your ‘spends’ account. I’ve only got the £2 I received when I wound up here but it will do me fine for now.

The phones are located at the ends of a landing, mine has 2, but the stairs to the next level are ungated, so I head up to use those seeing as they’re free. A bit of common sense gets you far here, at least until you have to deal with screws. I pick the handset up, type in home and add the pin code. My mum answers, it’s a f***in relief.

The Showers….

12 Feb

Wandsworth is a local prison. This means, it feeds newly sentenced prisoners to the wider prison system from courts. For some this could mean a matter of days holed up in its squalor, for others, it ends up being months, sometimes years. There is little rhyme or reason to the inconsistency of how prisons operate in the UK. Where one will let you receive books, another laughs at the suggestion.

‘Wanno’ as its colloquially known, is a B Category prison, this is the second highest security classification in the system, don’t be fooled into thinking that prisons put individuals of different offending backgrounds together. If they can put a Ugandan multiple murder suspect, previously convicted of rape awaiting extradition hearings in a cell with an articulate and considerate family man convicted of corporate account embezzlement; they will. It’s a terror weapon that I will come to hear levied against prisoners with less experience of the jail regime.

Since I’ve moved cells during association time, I’ve not had a chance to use the showers since yesterday morning, now upstairs in my new pad; I ask when we can get out for a wash.

“Maybe tomorrow” Is my reply.

Remembering it’s a scorcher today, the thick walls of the prison absorb heat and with such little ventilation, the heat sky-rockets. If its 25 degrees outside, then it’s nearing a stale, humid 30 in here.

Alex, tells me to take a risk whenever the cell doors are unlocked and run into the showers. I don’t know if I have the bravado to do that just yet, its easy for him to say, he’s been inside for a year already. The showers occupy a large room on the middle of the landing, out the cell door to me and to my right. There are large windows from it out onto the wing, so prison officers can observe if there is or isn’t any violence, drug dealing or sexual intimidation going on.

From what I piece together before I go in and in discussion with others, sexual intimidation is fairly non-existent in the general population wings of prison in the UK. You do hear stories but those I pick up on, take place in the sex offender wings. One lag wrote a book about an experience of being raped by his 2 cell mates; the publication ended up in the prison library. Word travelled fast and that prison never put 3 men in a cell again. You can only imagine the horror of being confined for 23 hours a day in such a scenario. It’s one of many incidents I learn of negligence bordering on the criminality.

I spend a little time chatting to Alex about writing, philosophy, he is surprisingly learned, in fact, there is no surprise at all, why should a man from another country, another walk of life be any less intellectual. It makes for a nice distraction and above all I am, so soon into my incarceration challenging my perceptions of others. I like this moment of escapism. Actual escapism is however a practical impossibility, the window in my new boudoir, is just as small, just as well reinforced and looks out onto a rabbit warren of razor fences and open ground. There will be no new Andy DuFreyne here, no rock hammer will get me out of this place.

Dinner

Dinner it seems can happen anytime from half four onwards, while you’re collecting your scoff, you pick up your breakfast pack too. Breakfast packs are made in the prison system and the process of placing the items in the small clear bag is operated on a production line basis. It’s a job requiring little skill or mental aptitude and provides no obvious preparation for release. But it reduces the need to put on an additional meal time in the morning and saves on manpower and resource costs.

I pick up Rice crispies and a teacake; before you think it’s all luxury, the cereal is unbranded and the teacake doesn’t come with clotted cream. Unbelievable…

It isn’t the worst thing in life, although being locked in all day with no exercise is pretty weak. A friend of mine recommended I put my name down for anything that comes my way inside, it makes the days livable and offers more time out of the cells. I decide to put my name down for a job in the wing tomorrow, how and where I do that I am yet to know.  If I pick a valuable job or certain courses, there is the risk I could be kept here for far longer than is necessary. I had planned to be brought here before I was sentenced and I have a tolerance level of how long I wish to be kept in this abode of social toxicity. The sooner I can move along the system the better.

Thoughts of what’s to come

Every waking hour before sentence I devoted to thinking about prison. My laptop plonked open by the side of my bed, favourites omnipresence on the screen, searches of sentences, prisons, convicts, forums, categorisation, suicide rates, overpopulation and scare stories of cell mates.  Researching the complete unknown, I’d learnt a lot I didn’t need to know and still hungered to satiate the never quenching thirst of ‘What happens in jail?’ From what I could ascertain, I should be a low risk Category D prisoner; so sooner rather than later I hoped to be shipped out to some midway point between prison and freedom. The likelihood will probably be much different, but a world away from south-west London’s bad-house.

I think about things I can do while inside, to make my time productive, I put together a list:

–          Practise my French

–          Learn Spanish

–          Stretch more

–          Read

–          Write to a friend each day

–          Learn the Haka

–          Write left-handed

Content with my fairly eclectic list, I switch the tv on and channel hop ignorant of the listings, I settle on a standard Channel 4 documentary which is essentially a mockumentary on some topic relating to:

‘My wife and her six arms’.

The rattle of a prison officer’s keys jangle in the far distance, a whistle blows, heavy footsteps, some commotion but on another planet to me, behind my big steel door. Safe inside the cell from other’s crisis.

A new cell, means a new cell mate – Day 2 PM

11 Feb

Everything I’ve just laid out, flies back into my clear plastic bags but in less order than it began. Reminding me of the Street’s line:

“In just going out, I’ve lost out”

Clothes crumpled, precious photos carefully slid down the side of my mountains of jumble. It will keep them flat and nothing else matters. I’m lying, in the early days moving cells and sharing with new faces is russian roulette, its brown trouser time. Anyone who says they’re not phased by the shifting of cells in bang-up, especially when it’s two-man lock down, (Double Bang-Up) is too cold to be human. It’s not nice, it’s all of your pre-conceived ideas and fears, it’s all the movies, all the stories, everything you know that’s probably bollox*, could be as true moonlight after sunshine right now.

(*Please excuse my profanity, there really aren’t the right words sometimes)

I’m rushing but trying to look cool, I have a feeling I’ve packed these things just a second ago. I discover when you’re in a hurry to pack, two things happen:

1. Its like trying to put a ladder in a handbag; and

2. You CAN move pretty fast. I don’t know why then, my dad used to make us get up so early before a long drive on a family holiday. Just rush, its dead easy.

Ian’s milks open and so is mine, you can’t really pack open milk and in prison its a carton. Moving from one cell to the next in bang up (Closed conditions) you don’t really have the convenience of going back down to your old cell – its all locked gates and segregated landings. So I have to discard these but hey I’ve still got mountains of sachets of desecrated milk powder.

I’m told I’ll be moving to the 3’s, that’s the level above me, but it could also be Timbuktu. The short squat Nigerian screw is devoid of any social skills, there isn’t scope for pleasantries, he beckons me like a dog to hurry, so I whack a brave face on and I’m back onto the Wing.

The landings, staircases, tons of steel cages, solid metal doors and the contrast of the nicotine yellow walls set against the black uniforms of the screws, is exactly as you imagine. Britain’s most dangerous prisoner, Charles Bronson says of HMP Wandsworth:

“This is a real man’s prison”

Cell 3-08

The door swings open on the landing above, I’m at the door and if my eyes were on stalks I’d extend them inside before I step in; giving me a split second to analyse. I don’t have that luxury, so I spin the chamber. Every prisoner, in every movie i’ve ever seen is loaded within the world’s biggest revolver pointing straight at my temple. Nonce’s, gangsters, Morgan Freeman, perverts, MPs, street urchins, Nicholas Cage, Killers, the birdman of Alcatraz and the list continues. Every bad choice is buffered in the hope that like my first night, I meet with an island haven, set within these walls of sadness.

I squeeze the trigger and stick my hand out, I don’t get the shake I was aiming for – on closer inspection the geezers asleep. Well this is going to be merry when he wakes up. The cell is pitch black, mostly from what appears to be an improvised curtain arrangement. Again there’s a stained bed sheet hanging from the ceiling, fastened by a fork. The sweet aroma of incense is burning away at the base of the double bunks, transporting me if only for a second or two, to the Medina’s of Morocco, the bazaars and anywhere infinitely more choice than prison.

I repeat the unpacking performance of last night and this morning and in the dark try to create some space for myself.

I’m on the top bunk and for some that’s less desirable, but in my history lessons, I learnt Kings defended their castles from height. I gladly take the top bunk from the clutches of my as yet un-named companion. A screw walks past the door, peers in through the bullet hole and then slams the viewing flap shut. There goes a little more light and with it an extra window into my new world. The tv flickers on silently, unwatched but I’m a little too mannered to change it for my own choices. What if he’s awake and he’s just ignoring me. Perhaps he is very much into… (Closer inspection) Loose women?

Some time passes and I hear the growing restlessness of a man waking from his sleep. Sliding from under his prison issue orange scratchy woolen blanket, the man stands up, and peers at me. I’m disarmed immediately:

“Hey, call me Alex, welcome to paradise”

A slightly built man in his late 30s, Alex from Dominica is much less than what my own paranoid mind had led me to believe. Brought back to Wandsworth from Ford Open Prison to deal with a Proceeds of Crime Order, (Confiscation as its more commonly known)  he is killing time until he can get on the next bus back to the low risk D Category establishment. In the mean time, he is sleeping his time off, reading the Bible and as I will discover, lecturing young men such as myself (I’m definitely still young :), very late early 20s…… ahem) on ‘true happiness’.

At least he is lecturing, far better that than Letching.

He’s a non smoker, which means he is unlikely to be a smack head or an abuser of any of the other unsociable drug habits; he’s in for Fraud, so I’m not going to find him trashing the cell up at 3am and better still he has already been classified low risk. Satisfied with this news, I can relax and I begin to do a little more writing. I write home to my pal Mel in french, Gen and Clive benefit from some trivial etchings and I consider how many days until I see R again.

I’ve not touched my Bourbons.

An hour passes

I’ve destroyed my Bourbons.

I look at my cheap casio watch, where once rest a symbol of an ego long since passed. I like a nice watch don’t get me wrong, but I wouldn’t recommend bowling around a nick with a Rolex. It’s 12.30, lunch is due.

Theres been a clattering of noise at the end of the wing for the last ten minutes and in order to keep prisoners apart where possible, we head up to the serving hatch in individual aisles of a landing: 10 to 15 cells at a time. They’re calling the cells opposite at the moment, then its us.

The doors open and like trapped dogs in a car we flood out onto the landing, I look to Alex for an idea of what to do and mirror him. I’ve got a blue plastic plate and bowl in my hands and I’m walking toward the ‘Hotplate’. I’m not making an eye contact but my chins up and I slap back on a sense of:

“Don’t F*** with me and I won’t F*** with you” But its essence and I’m not too proud to admit that.

A screw stops me, apparently I can’t wear flip-flops on the landing. Health and safety reasons. Even here! Ridiculous, it’s not my health and safety rules. I now have to walk back against an oncoming tide of people you may only ever read about for the rest of your days in tabloid articles that make you shudder, I just feel a bit lost really.

I get back to the cell to change and the doors locked, I’m now waiting to catch a key-man’s attention just to do as I’ve been asked. By the time I’m back at the servery, I’m left with the dregs. The food not the people, they’re all back in their cells-cum-toilet eating in a sea of bacteria, chain smoking and vegetating to daytime tv. A Lamb kebab burger that looks in all honesty like its been collected in the trough of a portaloo from a building site on Brick Lane, winds up on my plate. My pal Lee calls them ‘Thunderboxes’, I have a little smile as I walk back to the cell. I’m given some beans too, well I’m given tomato sauce with a couple of foreign objects in, a swarthy looking man walks confidently past, has a look at my meal and chuckles.

“You won’t get far on that mate” He calls out as he carries on with his march.

The door locks behind me, Alex prepares himself for sleep and I begin to read an Art History book I’ve brought to prison. I won’t let this time here go to waste, its my way of thumbing it to the system. I’ve learnt already that I love Canaletto.

Alex leans out from his bed and says:

“David, Lies are Truth in Disguise”

June 13th 2nd attempt at Sentencing – Southwark Crown Court

9 Feb

Day 1:

The family in tow once more, fresh from my sister’s wedding three days before. Pockets stuffed full of wedding cake leftovers, if I’m going down today I’m going to do it with a sugar rush.

So I wake up at 5 am, nervous but excited; and thats saying something when you are about to be sent to prison. Didn’t have time for breakfast, but Dad’s brought me up a coffee. Just how I like it, 3 heaped spoons of wondrous caffeine and so little milk it paints your insides black. Once again I don the suit worn on these occasions many a time before. A charcoal, tailored number from TM Lewin. It was my favourite, but its a little glum these days, carrying the air of depression transposed upon it, with the wearers ill-fated life. The black tie, the white shirt, I pop these on too. Once again, I don’t want to walk into court like the barrel chested gangster I’ve been painted.

I pick up my phone and see an email from her. Her, my girlfriend, she’s in India now, working and having fun. I wouldn’t have it any other way. The hope is I can get my sentence done while R is abroad. By the time she comes back I should be in an open nick and getting home leaves. Still, this is all in the very distant future as far as I am aware right now.

I never got to reply. (No Wifi in court 🙂 How does anyone cope!? If you know me, you know how I need my media.)

We get to court and this time matters proceed as expected. The FSA have been told by the Judge that regardless of what they push me to plead to, it won’t affect his sentence.

I tuck into some cake during  a break, savouring the taste of icing, a taste I am little likely to experience for many a month to come. As it reaches lunchtime, the wheels of justic begin to turn. I am remanded in custody during the recess. I guess its soon going to be time to head off to the cells and Judge Rivlin QC senses its time I get used to that. It certainly shows his intention, but I don’t get to say bye to my family. No hugs no kisses. Thankfully, there are less with me today. My sister’s on her honeymoon with her husband and I’ve purposely asked others not to come. I can’t have people wasting their time and money to see me go to prison.

I hear Dad has had a row with my Barrister. To be honest, its not their fault and Dad’s clearly stressed by the whole affair. No matter how often I tell them this isn’t any great drama and life will get back to normal, he is my Dad and my Mum is my Mum. They will always worry, if I’m honest it is the realisation of this and not prison that has reformed me in recent years. Perhaps the prospect of prison but not the actual visiting of prison has the most rehabilitative effect. Its irrelevant though right now. I’m worried that my Barrister may be less than effective in mitigating my sentence to the Judge after this debacle. Its a genuine concern, who wants to sell something they don’t believe in or care for?

Despite being cake less, being held in custody over lunch was probably a good thing. It got me away from the sadness of others. Its horribly selfish I know. But its guiltfree 🙂

A sweet little Asian chap – a court guard, Jim, took charge of me. He led me down to the holding cells via a lift and a path taken by so many others from so many walks of life. It is an as exciting trip as perhaps one to a hospital kitchen maybe. Its neither frightening nor eventful. Its just sterile.

Lunch time

I had to hear from my legal team in a box room devoid of soul, beneath the court. Cuffed by one hand to a security guard and given a red high vis bib to distinguish between me and the non-criminals, I am taken from what is effectively a secure cupboard to see Ben and Richard. We have  a chat, there isn’t really much for us to discuss besides the obvious:

“What do you think…”

Moments later I am prepped and taken back up to Court 1. This must be the nearest I could ever get to imagining what walking the green mile must be like. This is my room 101.

Court 1

As I enter the courtroom, there my loyal family sat alongside press and members of the FSA. What a tragic combination. I wave to those I love, I’m smiling, I hope they can too.

I listen to Judge Rivlin paint what seems like a terrible picture of me, I think of my girlfriend as he speaks and I think how happy we are together. I think how amazing it will be when we are reunited again. My subconscious listening pricks up what seems like a man summing up. I’ve not been here but it seems like how I imagine it would summise.

I’m told all my sentences are to run concurrently – (at the same time) and he begins:

On the first 14 counts – 1 year

On the charge of misleading statements – 18 Months

On the charge of Money Laundering – 2 Years.

There isn’t anything else for him to sentence me on, I exhale a little, its come in exactly what I’d imagined, though a little more than I believe the FSA thought. While I’m stood there heart beating like a man looking down the barrel, adrenaline is racing through me, I calculate, I’ll be home in January.

There is nothing in my life I could compare the sensation of standing in a dock at a Crown Court waiting to hear your fate. I expect it feels very much the same if you are waiting for 1 month or 1 life. It depends on your own expectations and where you have come from in life to reach that point. But for me as I surveyed the deathly silent chamber of justice, waiting to know my own fate, I was conscious that the rattle of my life force pounding within my chest, must have been deafening for all including me. The realisation as I turned to wave at my family and say “Its all good” heading for the exit marked ‘Prisoners only’; was a flood of endorphins telling me that the end is now beginning.

In the basement

Not long after being taken back down to the courts holding cells, I am visited by my legal team again. They say an appeal isn’t worth it, even though I’m conscious that prosecution witness statements could be proved to be flawed, I accept my fate. Its what I’d pushed for. At least now I can begin to plan my future.

Its been 16 days since I drove my sweetheart to the airport and set her off to India, I just see this days event as another step closer to being united with my baby again. Richard tells me to call home as soon as I can, my family have taken the news badly, my best friend Mel is keeping their spirits up, she’s a gem, an extra sister. I’ll never be able to truly thank her for all the support she gives me.

The holding cell is 3 feet by 8 feet, with a wooden bench, a red button and NOTHING else.

“Mason’s in 13!” I hear. How ironic. Its the only time I hear my name or receive any sensory stimulation for a couple of hours, until I hear the unmistakable sound of a secure vehicle reversing into a holding bay somewhere. The siren and warning message shakes me too. I’m about to begin my journey to prison.