Tag Archives: pac con

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 🙂

 

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The Diary Ebook – Amazon Release : Prison Diary of a Stockbroker

19 Nov

For those who fancy reading the prison diary ebook, it is now available on Amazon Kindle at:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/A-Banker-Bang-Up-ebook/dp/B00A9VGUP4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1353365555&sr=8-1

There are a few bits extra forming an expanded foreword.

I shall be penning more on the life of the young broker in the New Year, I hope it is as well read as the prison blog. Thank you for all your feedback and comments and continue to welcome communication from those seeking advice.

Buy the Amazon Version of the prison diary

Comedy Club

9 Jun

Boxing Day

I was never so aware as today, quite how many animation movies run on our tv over the Christmas period. The prison breakfast is gradually running shorter each day of available items, such that I expect a right hook on the final day from the kitchen staff, instead of a warm dish.

Today’s insomniacal boredom is punctuated by a ‘Strongman’ competition, contested by only 4 inmates. Given the braggadocio within these barbed wire fences, it surprises me so few are willing to prove their physical prowess. Perhaps talking about it is less strenuous, or maybe they are taking a winter break from being ‘Gangsta’. In other avenues of occupation, George obliterates the rowing record on the 2000m by 20 seconds. I was sure at one point I could literally see him developing a body wide hernia.

Team ‘Going for Gold’ also made a long awaited return to the prison quiz after many weeks of sitting it out due to what is best termed as: A decline in standards. A change in atmosphere at what was once an enjoyable, sedate and high brow evening; saw the introduction of easier questions to equal the standards so the quiz was more inclusive. Not wishing to seat myself on any intellectual pedestal, (Mine would be only half elevated I assure you) but isn’t the whole concept of a quiz, to determine who has a better spread of knowledge or grasp of a particular area? To dumb down the standard of questions kind of panders to the stupid. A stupid idea for stupid people. I like to think that a halfway functional human being can come away from a quiz after a poor performance and think:

“Hey, you know what? Maybe I should read more – I’m not as smart as those other chaps.”

Instead the mindset here must be:

“Hey, those questions were beyond my limited knowledge range, this is a fundamentally unfair system, that rewards those who make the effort to learn. I’m demanding the questions are made easier.”

For those people, perhaps a raffle may suit their insecure sense of self-worth. Like a quiz, but with no questions. You simply need to turn up and hold a ticket. Or steal one, if that suits those here more.

Back to the quiz, I don’t want to dwell on a result that I had initially thought saw us taking away free phone credit. Instead we placed in that position made famous by British sportsmen and women throughout the years. 4th.

Yes, a BRAVE 4th.

Andy Murray, Paula Radcliffe, Bobby Robson’s Heroes, Terry Venable’s Heroes, a bit more Radcliffe and probably a lot of white British 1500m runners.

The billet has turned into a bombsite over Christmas, a cleaner with an altogether different take on personal hygiene is ‘running’ things nows. The screws don’t do spot checks, so we have to live in squalor. Making matters worse, we have a phantom sh*tt*r  operating also right now. I believe it ‘s just the one, I don’t think these people work in teams. Parcels of human excrement keep turning up on the floor of the bathroom. Maybe it’s a statement to the cleaner, to start doing his job.

NYE

On it’s way is the first anniversary of the Great Fire of Ford Prison. The Riots, as they have been dubbed. The governor and screws are panicking that this year will see a repeat of last year’s events, despite the prison being made up of entirely different people…

I look forward to seeing how this day pans out.

Christmas Day in Prison – Scrooge to be Screwed

6 Jun

After a sleep disturbed by midnight Gangsta Rap and my own snoring, I awake to a warm Christmas Day. A cooked breakfast of sorts has been arranged for the next 3 days, so I grab mine at 8 before joining in with a 10am circuit down at the gym. It’s what you do Christmas morning, yes?

The big lunch is only a mild improvement on a usual Sunday ‘Roast’ – the one parsnip making that differential leap. Definitely ALL of the trimmings. 🙂 I don’t expect Claridges and many of my gripes or comments are tongue in cheek. At the end of the Servery queue, the Chapel staff hand out a Christmas card and a mars bar on behalf of the ‘Mother’s Union’. A lovely gesture by the charity that strives to help inmates maintain family ties while inside. It promotes a cheery smile too.

I’m smiling. This is my first and hopefully only Christmas in prison and part of me has a macabre fascination to go through with it to see what it’s like for those less fortunate in decision-making in society that go through such experiences. A handful of chaps from our billet who are united by military ties and a sense of sanity, sit down together for the meal, having made the effort to wear civvy clothes and stay out of prison issues for the day. It’s nice to spend the day in a manner that reflects freedom of choice and expression, as best possible given the circumstances.

The phone in the billet is busy early in the day as prisoners call home, whisper sweet nothings or return to form and yell at their spouses. George has to deal with an inmate who feels that his own Christmas Tupac message should be able to filter through to George’s mother via the background noise on the phone. Even on days such as today, it’s alarming how many people lack self-awareness or possess a consideration for others when it comes to noise or in fact any aspect of life.

Is this education? Parenting?

Whatever it is, it strikes back to that sense of entitlement that society seems to harbour more and more in recent decades. Agitation grows over George’s riposte to the lairy adolescent with music at such volume. Our Grandparent’s queued for fruit, lost school friends in ‘Just Wars’ and were thankful for hand-me-down clothing. Our generation and it’s offspring, cannot envision a time without convenience, luxury or their opinion being heard. The cries of the few are heard over the tolerant silence of the many.

Don’t listen to angry music and delude yourself that the lyrics of a commercially minded businessman are anything other than that. He plays to an audience that thinks they’re kindred spirit, he lies for you to buy. The reality is, your fellow man is all around you and looks nothing like you imagine. Aim high but don’t tread on another to get there, the footings are weak.

Don’t daydream for a decade or double to realise you didn’t make hay while the sun shone. The wannabes in prison exist in the droves as they do on the outside. Year after year spent wishing for  a life of someone else, when all the tools you needed to make your own could be had too. 20 years later you wished you’d learnt that trade, that craft, that skill, that profession. Biggie didn’t wear a boiler suit and mend central heating systems, but Biggie got shot dead and my plumber’s got pots of cash. Smell the coffee boys and come back to the real world.

The notion of knuckling down and putting up with the hand that God gave you, seems to be disappearing as fast as the faces of World War veterans on Remembrance Sundays. Life isn’t always glamorous and life isn’t always fair but if we don’t start living for what we have and making the best use of it we can, then it will pass you by and that will be your time over.

Next stop, you and I are disparate atoms lingering in the void of cold dark space after the Sun has ceased burning and the Earth has stopped living. The galaxies merge and neighbouring stars die too. Billions of years pass by and we are in the infinite nothingness of the Big Freeze. Cosmologists and Astronomers will tell you we are insignificant in all of this. Maybe we are, but I’d like to think that even if our generation’s existence can be measured as a fraction of one heartbeat of a single human lifetime, at least let it be a beat that shows signs of a cathartic, energetic and fulfilling pump of life and not a whimper or trifling whine. Life truly is too short to waste idle.

Philosophical rant over, it’s not unsurprising that if an inmate can’t think how a neighbour might be disturbed by their activity, you hear they wound up in prison after failing to spot a policeman quite overtly monitoring them.

Christmas Day over, touchwood, I’ll never need to spend another 25th of December considering the prospect of Prison.

 

Back to Prison & Christmas Eve

5 Jun

My time away was a pleasure and I feel exhausted after it all. It might sound a little bizarre but I was ready to return when I did. I don’t want to be in prison but you learn to accept it. It’s not the hell its characterised on television and I know I don’t have a huge amount of time left, most of all its a comfort zone I’ve grown accustomed too. With friends around you and zero of life’s pressures I could handle a little more of Ford.

On my return I hear the Prison Block has been active, with a number of inmates being shipped out. The worse news was hearing that Paddy a young Irish Traveller was caught with booze and stuck on the first bus out of here. It’s tragic news as he works on the Servery and ensures all inmates get proper portions of food. 4 pieces of stuffing, two helpings of cake, double pie, extra meat, you name it he’ll serve it. When he’s working, bring Tupperware.

In other news a young lad Ali is sent packing after he’s snuck in an internet dongle and plugged it into one of the PC’s in the Chapel. He has subsequently used it to access the web and it’s world-wide hub of infinitely more fun things than there are here. Pictures are found on it of kids. HIS KIDS, rumours spread fast that he has in fact been accessing Child Porn. It’s amazing how warped chinese whispers can get. He is now in harm’s way if he remains here. He is moved possibly now for his own safety too.

My cellmate has had some bother in our absence after a set-to with a prisoner about mail issue times. My cellmate being the mail orderly, sees him pestered constantly about the prison about whether someone has received a letter. Complete strangers who have never met him, greet him with the uncomprehendingly stupid query:

“Have I had any mail today?”

Maybe, or maybe you’re one of the other 400 who haven’t. Who are you?

Jamie and I find out the identity of the protagonist and knowing him personally we have a chat to him.

As I walk around the prison today, a few guys know I’m back from my first home leave and stop to see how I am doing. One, Simon (7 years – Drugs) notices my face is a little more tanned than it should be in a December. I give him: “No Comment”. I see him mouth “Fake Tan” as I wheel away.

Christmas Eve

Short of nearly 200 inmates, the kitchen have taken the opportunity to cut down on its kitchen prep for meals. Consequentially leaving a large number of prisoners more dissatisfied than usual. A cooked breakfast of 3 battered chicken burgers and 2 hash browns struggles to form part of a healthy diet, even with a sensibly placed hard-boiled egg rolling around the plastic plate. I wonder what the heart disease NHS bill is for patients from HM Prisons.

I catch a cold on my home leave and am feeling a little groggy; finding time for 40 winks to kill the odd hour of your sentence here though is never a drama. I use some of the morning to put together a letter in spanish to my South American cousin. Based in Peru and Bolivia, formerly of Venezuela, Spain, France and Britain, his command of languages is formidable. The son of my mother’s late sister, I often think about him at important times of the year. I want to reach out to him more and see him closer to the family. Time will tell.

I glance across at a TV Guide, these are often like gold dust in prison, but we have happened upon a couple of them. As usual, there isn’t a good deal of choice. Tonight, around the world, billions of people are snuggling up with loved ones or sitting down with family preparing for Christmas Day. For those of us ‘Behind the Door’, tomorrow is another day.

 

Tales of Prison Life

17 May

Dinners tripe today – not tripe but resembling poor quality produce. A roast dinner which features an undercooked chicken drumstick, boiled potatoes and courgettes, is not a roast. Not exactly drama number one, but disappointing nonetheless.

I find food solace in a visit with the folks. Two beef pasties, a flapjack, bakewell tart, Lion Bar and 4 diet cokes form my real Sunday lunch. The visit flies by as they always do as I enjoy sitting around a table with my mum and dad. I enjoy that a lot more than cringing as my mother remarks on other inmates and their choice of partners, in a volume that is distinctly louder than a whisper but with that pretend whisper voice for effect. I am aware that all mother’s likely do this and my cringes are the same shared by many other inmates over the years. Mum’s will always find a way to embarrass you but I can forgive a bit of nosiness, it’s their legal right I believe.

It’s Ramadan this month and my lunchtime food excesses are compounded when a billet mate, Hussain brings round a selection of Samosas, Bhajis and Curries for us to munch away at. Ramadan here started with 40 inmates observing the principles of fasting during daylight hours, it is a week or so in and only 7 are still keeping to it. The ones that have fallen by the wayside highlight a common trend in the UK Prison system; Pr-Islam. Many young offenders who come into the system via inner city detention centres convert to the teachings of the Koran. Or more accurately, the firebrand extremist preaching and the immediate clanship that goes with joining the Islamic brotherhood behind bars. As these younger prisoners grow up or move out of the closed system and into an open prison, religion gradually ceases to be of the same importance as it once was; and a breed of fairweather followers emerges. Despite not keeping to the fasting of Ramadan, these others still collect their bulk daily meals after dark as well as queuing up to take the normal prison servings. Kind of really defeats the point that Ramadan aims to teach. Having spoken to one inmate, Chris who takes his beliefs seriously, I understand there is some disappointment that this liberty has been taken.

………………………………

George has created the spreadsheet countdown I discussed before. I have 112 days until I am eligible for home leaves. A blink of a lifetime but a lifetime away to think about.

………………………………

Sunday evening’s bells ring for the following durations:

Bell 1: 10 Seconds

Bell 2: 12 Seconds

Bell 3: 18 Seconds

Bell 4: 7 Seconds

I know this delightfully boring fact as I counted it using the ‘Hippopotamus’ count technique.

I begin to keep notes from now on, on the time that the bells toll, the pauses in between them and their duration. What I will do with this data is anybody’s guess, but it’s a ‘keep me busy’ occupation that I really don’t have anything better to do.

When the screw comes round, I ask him why the ‘Automated’ roll call alarm is so irregular. He explains it’s manual.

“Why then didn’t the guard in the control room think when he had headed north of ringing the bell for 20 seconds, that he should possibly stop?”

I don’t think the screw really understood the wording of my question, I mutter “47 Seconds” under my breath.

Deaf ears.

Ironic.

…………………………..

The mail orderly headed down to the reception with the day’s parcels yesterday, as his job entails; he’s met with a:

“Too busy, bring them back tomorrow” (This is the prisoner’s post by the way. One extra day to wait at least now before it’s cleared)

Today the orderly returns to the reception with twice as much post as the day before and a holdall* to hear the same screw say:

“I can’t do all that mail! I’ve got new arrivals in an hour.”

The orderly advises him that it may be wise then to use that spare hour before they arrive and clear this mail. The backlog will be larger still tomorrow. *Along with the parcels is a holdall containing a note reading:

“Dear Sir/Madam,

this is property for my son’s release. Please take care as a phone, charger and other valuables are enclosed.”

With a sneer of contempt for a caring mother’s thoughtful gesture, Mr Smith throws the holdall into the concrete wall of the reception.

Ironic.

One lad’s about to finish doing his penitence, his debt repaid, this screw’s wanton act of vandalism to other’s property is both petty and sinister. How nasty can you be? Do you want people like this reforming Britain’s broken generation?

Spence has his tag confirmed for next week. I’ll be sad to see him go and will aim to see if George can move into the space coming available. Cellmate roulette is not a game I fancy playing.

 

Por tu amor, haria cualquier cosa!

11 May

I’m down today.

I can be positive to my heart’s content, but there will be times when I’m reminded I am still many months from any real freedom. I make some bits and pieces in the carpentry workshop for George’s furniture and then proceed to slice open two deep clean wounds with a freshly sharpened chisel.

When you see veins, you know you’ve gone too far.

I see veins

I’ve gone too far.

I bleed like a stuck pig and spend the rest of the morning with my hand clenched around an evermore reddening tissue. I learn 10 new words in my spanish studies. A phrase I pick up seems useful for any budding Casanovas:

Por tu amor, haria cualquier cosa

For your love, I would do anything

………………………………………………….

I admite to myself today a truth: writing a daily diary makes two things happen. It allows me to document every day here, a minor social commentary on a piece of life few ever experience; but it also allows me to be reminded of having to spend many more days here. The activity of writing eats up time but thinking about time served is an unwelcome commentary to my thoughts.

But I can’t stop writing this diary. What have I begun?

🙂

Two lads are called out for ‘Random’ drug testing. One of those was smoking something very odour rich at the weekend. It’s unlikely he will last the week. He could follow in the footsteps of the 14 who just escaped this weekend. Absconding as it’s known is surprisingly common. Inmates go out on town leaves, get drunk, fear landing in hot water on their return, so instead leap into a vat of boiling water and just do a runner. A convicted murderer joined the fun this weekend.

Prison is full of rumours, people with few things better to do than make up stories promoting their own false sense of importance. The mill has been working away, today’s news is that ‘Methadonians’ will be allowed into the prison from September. This will likely bring it’s own problems, with a good many suggesting we will not only need a key to our cells but also a key to the billets. It’s not a popular rumour but as time will show, it is only that.

It’s a sad truth that addiction on the world outside is a major cause of crime; the same can be said on the inside. Thieves aren’t popular, nor is the prospect of an arrival of more.

I retire to bed at the end of a drab day.

 

Old friends

26 Apr

It’s been a long time, well it feels like a long time since I saw the man last. 3 and a half weeks in prison drags, as does every week and every day. Breaking the days into manageable chunks and gradually counting them away; 50% of my current sentence has passed since I saw a face from earlier in my journey; a rush of companionship  floods me. A sense of knowing, belonging – that shared challenge, I feel at last I’ve got my own pal here.

In hindsight, I may have been little more than a side story to him at this time (or even know) but to me, there at that moment, I was happy as a sandboy.

From being on the fringes here, I’m taking a little group of Wandsworth arrivals on a tour around the nick. They update me in the meantime on what’s been going on back behind London’s filthy chamber of secrets.

Daz has been shifted off the wing over the discovery of  a mobile in the laundry of his cellmate. But he’s now landed the plum job of gym orderly and I’m sure is content to keep himself fit and keep his mind healthy.

The two lay preachers who tried to pitch me ‘G’d’ on a handful of occasions are now working on the drugs counselling wing, helping others overcome social and mental issues.

George updates me on his own circumstances since I’d left. After refusing to leave the wing, the Governor was called and rather than issue a diktat on George, he is instead lectured at and after a surprising about-turn of events, issues George an apology and returns him to normal regime.

Assured of his D Cat status, he leaves the meeting thinking his ordeal is almost over – at least in Wandsworth.

Days later they move in a remand prisoner, awaiting extradition to Uganda. A convicted rapist charged with attempted murder. Nice bit of cell management, or something a little more cynical perhaps?

An argument over the tv escalates quickly the second day into their pairing. George wanting it off at 3 in the morning and the remandee, Brian wanting to channel hop until he sleeps.

“I’ll kill you” the rapist spits at him.

“Oh and FAIL again?” comes the reply, as the ex serviceman prepares for some vocal jousting.

George demands to move cells for his own safety or see his partner be ejected. The story that you’re housed with people of a similar criminal persuasion is only a myth. There is always the very real prospect of this type of situation occurring and it’s why cell changes always fill you with a sense of foreboding. The plastic gangster awaiting a death penalty in Africa may not have had it quite so easy with my silver haired buddy.

Well spoken, well-educated and white-collar, yes. A push-over, no way.

I chuckle as I remember a story he told me once of a property owner’s right of reasonable force to defend themself. George has tested the rigidity of :

a. The law surrounding this

b. a car door slammed in it’s frame repeatedly (A stress test if you will)

c. an area of thick calcified tissue: Bone

In conclusion, don’t get caught hanging out a car door in Luton, midway through stealing his car-stereo.

Fortunately when I hear this story I was by then aware of the index offence that led him to being in prison. Had I not known his crime, I possibly would have still thought he was a Wifer.

My Ford life has seen an uptick, I hit the gym/visit’s hall, then catch up with him again. We share a coffee, sat on a wooden bench around the cricket pitch, people watching as the evening draws in.

It’s not Provence and he aint my lover 🙂

but today’s a good day.

 

Why Prison Doesn’t Work

8 Apr

It becomes very apparent to those who wish to observe, prison fails for a number of reasons, but it must not be ignored the fact that fitting square pegs in round holes is not an appropriate way to manage personnel.

I mean, there is a problem with the calibre of people working in certain departments of the prison service.

There’s good, really good and there’s bad; there’s very bad indeed. This is a service with very little margin for error but insists on not enforcing change on it’s stakeholders in a way that can be seen in other industries.

Here are some examples to ponder in determining if there is something wrong with the current crop of Prison Staff.

a.

Ford has a limited education and training budget and therefore has a limited range of City and Guild courses to offer as the costs mount up. It’s taken a prisoner today to advise management to focus on Government sponsored NVQ schemes instead. This means the costs of exam and training registration could be saved and with NVQ being the commercially required standard for many skilled professions; it would be both positive financially and positive too in terms of re-training unskilled inmates with real skills. This would mean more learning opportunities and more real reasons to change one’s life from petty crime.

Level 1 courses in any profession is not going to make a prisoner more appealing to an employer. I speak as someone who while enjoying his Level 1 City and Guilds woodwork course, is not under any illusions that it could land me a job on the outside.

Why does it require prisoners to tell Governor’s things they should be only too aware of? To many who have spent long years within the HMP system, this is no surprise. To me a civvy, who took an ethics-free sabbatical to come here; I’m nonplussed.

Here’s another:

b.

Ford Prison’s paper contract sees them pay £9 per Ream of A4 paper. (This is 500 sheets) The service agreement with a private business, means Ford can only expect 50% of their paper in white. Pop down to Tesco’s and see how much it is there. Who has agreed this contract? This is bad business and is only one small item, likely littered amongst many tens of thousands of terribly negotiated poorly researched Procurement (Buying) decisions the prisons make. If your job is to land the best possible deal, then this contract screams out: ‘My Friend Sells Paper’.

The alternative is equally as worrying:

“You can’t trust the staff to not get ripped off buying paper, how are they going to manage Criminals?!”

…and another example

c.

If the prison chooses to flout European Law, or International for that matter; it can pay a fine and be done with it. If a Doctor mistreats or abuses his position, he can face a prison sentence. The same is rarely said for the repeat offenders public sector bureaucracy working within the hierarchy of HMPS.

Ford pays a fine annually due to the high-barbed fences that surround its prison. An open prison, I might add. It is not open through prisoner pressure, it’s open because it needs to be, to serve the purpose it does for returning offenders to society.

…and another

d.

The boss of Wandsworth Prison was caught last year shifting out 5 of his most troublesome inmates to a Pentonville for the duration of an Inspection, in order that he earns himself a glowing report and a reason to push for his next promotion or pay-rise. He is met with a sharp rebuke for what is a deception: his jobs remains safe. While in prison I have met a man sentenced for a term, for lying on his CV and ‘defrauding’ his employers as to his true professional qualifications. I wonder what he would think to hear of his Captor while in Wandsworth? It doesn’t exactly make you wish to conform now does it?

 

For the young, troubled, angry young man who enters the system, quick to argue, sometimes irrationally – setting bad examples asks for bad results.

So let’s go back to the question:

“What can Ford Prison do to cut re-offending rates?”

Maybe the question should read:

“Does Ford Prison and it’s management, have the ability to cut re-offending rates?”

Russian Roulette

25 Mar

Getting a new cell mate is a ‘Russian Roulette’. I’ve said this before; spin the chamber and see what comes out. My new cellmate is a Russian with only days to go. I don’t have anything to chat about, so I break the ice by laying my small green prison towel on the floor. Getting onto my knees and lowering my head to pray. The look on his face was a picture, I translate the international language of facial expressions easily. I smile, I’m not sure if he’s got my joke or if he thinks it’s a nervous smile by an unfamiliar cellmate with alternative religious habits to his own. An uneasy awkward silence descends upon an already awkward situation. The Russian heads outside of the billet for a roll-up. I cringe.

The cell unlike Wandsworth has no desk, so I am forced to use a prison pillow as a writing surface and sit hunched over on my bed scribbling my correspondences. I’m surprised by this absence of work-station, surely it is something they encourage in prisons?

I use the evening to make some calls out, let loved ones know that I’m now at Ford, I’m now very ready to have a visitor and I speak excitedly home about the improvements in my life I can see:

– I can use the phone when I wish*

*Caveat: When a long termer who has accumulated hundreds of pounds on their phone account isn’t on the phone to his mum

– I can pop out of my cell whenever I like to make toast

– I can run around the compound to jog of an evening

– Outside of the core working day, I can don my own clothes

– I can look forward to a melted cheese baguette every day instead of those ghastly warm meals I got accustomed to before. However did I cope? 🙂

– I’ll get the weekends off unlike Wandsworth.

– There is no gym, old inmates burnt it to the ground.

I have my heart set on moving to Hollesey Bay up the coast from Essex, a little pre-sentence research saw it provides a good deal more in the way of prisoner re-training than Ford. This includes plumbing, electrical and languages. Ford focuses primarily on literacy and numeracy. I’m some way past this, there isn’t really much in the way of rehabilitative offerings here for myself. Still, I’m sure there will be some other equally dubious investment sales opportunities I could always go into on my release*. Something the FSA will ignore until it’s done untold damage to private investors; at which point they can slam the stable door.

*For those unable to interpret dry wit, this is it. It’s important I make this clear.

Hollesey Bay will however remain a pipe dream, until I put a formal application in to the Governor. In it, indicating why given HMPS makes a song and dance of its track record in ‘Maintaining Family Ties’, being moved even further from Essex is a contradictory move. Buses don’t go too often between the two prisons and I hear sometimes prison to prison moves between D Cat establishments allow an inmate to make his own way there. That would be nice, a road trip with the family and a chance to visit some of my favourite road side services. I am informed that I can expect to wait between 8 and 10 weeks before such a transfer request is considered, I resign myself to the here and now.

The sunny daytime has made way for a damp evening. I put on my trainers and run for 6 km. The compound has a 1km circumference, I lap it 6 times. It clears my head, a cold shower and my first roll call (More on this tomorrow) gets me a little more settled. I write a to-do list of things to research now I’m here:

– Unused visit allocations

– Arranging visits

– Transferring canteen funds

– Application to move

disoriented yes, but enjoying the distinctly more peaceful surroundings I have landed in. Temporary or Permanent, time will tell.