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Tales of Prison Life

17 May

Dinners tripe today ‚Äď 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.

 

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Hump Day

12 May

It’s mid week, it’s hump day. The week is halfway done and my duties today involve handing out 20 or so movement slips (Not bowel function related) to those required in the education department. The rest of the morning is spent observing Ricky (Ex-Gangmember now education assistant) in his daily tasks. This ultimately means shadowing the habits of a human sloth. Perhaps a slow-worm would be a more accurate description.

I’m advised again to try to grab a sneaky SPL while I’m waiting until I am officially allowed day leaves. My acting isn’t up to much and I don’t fancy fretting over a nicking. I can wait.

I have a visit today from my Aunt, Uncle and cousin. I welcome the chance for intellectual debate and I know my Uncle is keen on the rumblings from the Eurozone. I get the impression he enjoys finding out about life this side of the parapet and he has a number of questions it seems are pre-prepared. I hear later that my Aunt would have enjoyed to get a word in too. Bless them all for making the long trip to see me. I hope I can return the gesture sometime in the not too distant future.

Unlike my last visit, I manage to avoid being strip searched afterwards. There are few more effective ways to kill your mood after a lovely visit, than stripping down to your birthday suit and doing an unflattering pirouette.

I get my gym kit ready for my Wednesday session and notice a Gym Screw who gives us extended sessions is on duty. George and I use this time to row and chat about home.

DUVET NEWS: The property office have slipped into my trap. They reply to my App with an answer that makes no mention of a block on inbound bedding. Checkmate. If there had been a new ruling blocking bedding being sent in, this would have been a very reasonable opportunity to note it. It just reinforces my suspicion that the level of understanding on prison rules amongst staff is so patchy, indifferent and inconsistent – what is said wrong is likely right and what is said right is possibly not. Either way, I’m getting me a duvet ūüôā

In other news, the Ford Prisoner Cricket Team loses to an external team of solicitors in a narrow run match. To an outside observer, it must look almost civilised here!

I pick up a spare menu card earlier in the day and send it home. I’ll publish it shortly. What would you eat on it?

 

Duvet Drama continues

16 Apr

A suggestion by the screw is for my compadrie to send on the duvet on a day out. With a ¬£9 weekly salary and little time as he transfers prisons, it is not realistic for him to find the time to package a large duvet stick it in the post with my name on and have it received into my property that way. Surely it doesn’t have to circumnavigate Crawley Sorting Office before it can be given to me.

As he leaves tomorrow, the only solution now is that my parents meet him at 7 in the morning. With a postal order heading his way, I’ve unwittingly put my mother under pressure and the inmate too. The last thing he needs before a prison transfer is, sorting out my bedding.

I walk away from the property office a little disheartened, this is such a trivial matter to an outside observer; but with so little to focus on inside, such small events become a disproportionately large stress creator.

This turns out to be a whole lot of hassle. I find out some weeks later, that it is perfectly acceptable within Prison Service Instructions, to allow one inmate to transfer property to another, providing they are both present. I end up ¬£15 short, minus the duvet I paid for and irritated by obstacles put in my way by a man paid to do his job poorly. This is now the second attempt I’ve made at getting a duvet. Prison bedding comes with hair trimmings, stains and pubic hair; the lice are unlikely to be far away either. Personal bedding is sometimes less a luxury but more a necessity.

Having spoken to my mother she has said she will make a point to have the postal order blocked by speaking to the Governor. I panic, this isn’t high school, a note from home carries no weight here. You can’t just call the Governor and explain these matters, not without both of us having soiled disciplinary record. Sending money in to another ‘Private trading’ is a punishable offence, or so I’m led to believe. With limited phone credit I’m urging my old dear to not chase this up, something so slight is panicking me, I’m anxious and all I ever wanted was a little warmth in bed at night.

With my last 29p phone credit, I call home again. My mind is put at ease, she will drop the matter. I’m furious at myself or putting this extra stress upon my parents. I’ve hated myself for many a year since that first knock on my door by the ‘Old Bill’ – the stress i’ve put them under is to me the sin I regret.

Stress in prison is exacerbated, because there is bugger all you can do about so many issues. Trapped and insulated from so many controls we take for granted in life; the inability to have complete autonomy, makes difficult situations that much harder.

For the men who fear an adulterous partner – they stay awake at night with nothing to appease them but a fractious mind.

For those with family at death’s door – there is no inbound telephone to keep them abreast of any news.

For those with a partner isolated and alone, serving their own sentence of separation Рthey feel nothing but the impotence of a former provider who is unable to fulfill that role any more.

Yeah, stress is proper rubbish when you’re in prison.

 

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?”

WORLD Cafe Day… here? In Ford? YES!!

7 Apr

A slip floats it’s way under my door to deliver the news.

I’ve selected to represent a section of the prison and will be attending World Cafe Day. This seems to sound an awful lot like an international cuisine exhibition. I momentarily lose awareness of my whereabouts.

This can only mean one thing with the word ‘Cafe’ in. It’s definitely going to involve food. Like a Victorian Urchin, the prospect of free nourishment (This includes bread) is a dreamy proposal. In prison, extra food is both a luxury and a comfort. In-fact scrap that last word.

Food is a wondrous joy.

I set myself up for an emotional fall of ‘Dropped pizza on a night out’ proportions.

First off, a late start means a little lie in. The event is to be hosted by the governess – or Governor as it’s appropriate to call them now. Short of offending. Although why the use of the masculine term as the overall term for a professional title, is any less¬†misogynistic¬†(Sexist) is beyond me.

The meeting held in the dining hall is screaming out to be a food based event.

Cue massive anti-climax

Being in the dining hall is the nearest I get to food.

No food.

What is this torment that has befallen me?

Seemingly, world cafe day is a fancy moniker for a:

Governor/Prisoner open forum. A focus group. We are asked a range of questions with groups answering different elements. The findings within each group are then presented to the open forum. The idea being is a useful event to address concerns an generate new ideas. The reality, is the last prison inspection bemoaned the absence of such a forum. This is a box ticking exercise therefore.

What I ascertain from the meeting can be summarised with the words:

“Nothing much changes”

One thing that did shock me however was the following:

Prison Industry at Ford produces ¬£187,000 income per annum. This is in spite of it having a 500 man population who are paid less than the price of a pizza each week. With a captive labour market, the type only businesses in China can boast, the best the prison’s business director can do is raise little more than the price of an iPad per man each year. They’d be better off having us all here manning an outbound charity raising call centre. This is an overpaid manager in the public sector, who will no doubt have more job security during the next round job cuts than a teacher; yet offers infinitely less to society. He will not be held accountable for his dismal business performance, but bask in the shadow of the ignorant bliss cast by the closed-shop nature of the Prison Service.

 

Country Tracks

23 Mar

A long tiresome journey, memorable for new vistas and a desire to vomit. Travel sickness has never been far away in my life.

As a kid my mother used to give us these travel sickness tablets, ‘Joy-Rides’ they were called. Sounds like ecstacy, the taste was anything but. In fact, I remember my anxiety forming on those mornings before travel, because of these tablets. The taste was awful, bitter, it set a pretty poor tone for the next few hours. God forbid you were in my way.

As we pull into my new home, it requires a sharp left turn into what looks like an old military base, being thrown into the cupboard door wakes others from their slumber. The reason why Ford struck me as a military base, is because it was. (Ex RAF and former Naval School)

That’s where the connection begins and ends. This place lacks order from the top down, riots only months before and the Governor has been named as a catalyst in a suicide inquest at a former nick. Inmates walk by, on what I assume is the start of their afternoon working day. They cross a public road to a second compound the other side. We are unloaded outside a reception hut and led into a back room before the drawn out reception process is put into (in)action once more.

6 1/2 Hours Later

Still sat in the waiting area trying to work out whether I’ll go for the Smoker’s Induction Pack or the Non-Smoker’s pack. You’re charged for the receipt of the item and in it contains a handful of items that you may want while you wait for Canteen delivery. With little but squash, polos and chewy bars, I’m not impressed by non-smoker’s pack. I request tobacco in the hope I’ll be able to use it as currency in the meantime.

Our bags in our possession we plonk them on trailer and wheel the items up to portakabin 200 yards away. Sheltered from the rain, we are given our ID cards and sign some paperwork. It’s here I have my first real conversation with a screw since coming to prison. One by one we head into an office and are asked a few questions by a man in a uniform different to mine. It dawned on me at this point, quite how little interaction there is between the Prison Service and inmates. Do they have a clue what really goes on in their workplaces?

New Pad

The cells are double rooms, or should I say; twin – in an old army style billet accomodation. Spartan, dirty and bunked with a smoker, I’ve no idea where the mail box, phone or showers are. I sit on my new bed and think about the guys I said goodbye to today. I wish I was back at Wandsworth. I know this feelings will subside but for now i’m not happy. I’ve heard this happens a lot to those moved to open conditions. There is a sense of protection one feels in a closed establishment. Taken down to dinner in the Dining Hall, I am very well aware how few prison guards are on duty and quite how many prisoners are walking about unhindered. Ford holds 510 on average, at the evening meal time, I see at least 300 of them.

I’m still in prison and anxiety builds. Suffocating with having to process this crowded new environment. The last time I was in such a busy environment inside, I had witnessed some severe gang violence. D Cats are not known for this type of event, but new in such a place, the heart rules the head.

Irrational, chips and a burger placate me.

 

 

Quoting another Inmate : Welcome to HMP Ford

22 Mar

Short Article for ‘UK Holiday Breaks’ Magazine¬†

With the UK holiday season still some months off, we thought our readers might be interested in a new destination which provides a real alternative holiday break at a very reasonable cost and can be enjoyed at any time of the year.

Holidays should always equate to relaxation, indulgence, indolence whilst also having the ability to re-charge the personal batteries! It is important therefore that your holiday choice ticks all the boxes and Ford Resort does just that.

Situated in West Sussex and a stone’s throw from the beach and sea, the resort enjoys a mild year round climate.

From the moment you arrive at the florally adorned reception, you appreciate the friendly staff who are there to do everything for you. They initially take care of your luggage and provide you with a specially designed cool, chic clothes for your stay at Ford. Escorting you to your room, you will be delighted to find you will be sharing with someone usually of a different age, different religious persuasion and probably different nationality. Wow! A new enlightened experience ensuring you start your holidays by dismissing boring old English prejudices about ‘foreigners’… and privacy.

The bathroom facilities are deliberately not en-suite thereby enabling the room sizes to be designed with a new intimacy. The clever overall layout of the rooms in ‘mini-clusters’ ensures you are able to enjoy the rapacious holiday mood created by rapper Jay Z, whilst also listening to three or four TV channels, ensuring you keep abreast of the ‘soaps’. What a great idea that is!

The leisure facilities deliberately exclude a swimming pool to avoid aggressive ‘towel-bagging’ but the gardens are extensive and varied . The resort has also attracted a raft of varied and friendly sea gulls and a colourful selection of budgerigars (STOP PRESS – Now Dead) and a special breed of myopic rabbits; all appropriate to increase the naturalistic nature of your holiday.

The range of activities and sports is extensive and includes football, cricket, volleyball and jogging. There is also a full manned magnificent Gymnasium. (Editor Update: Burnt down) Management have deliberately not built spa facilities inline with their ‘leisure philosophy’ in which they do not agree with any form of self-indulgence!

An unusual feature of this low-cost break is the opportunity for guests to undertake charity work such as poppy-making for the Royal British Legion, flower propagation and old-fashioned crafts such as carpentry and painting. The facilities also include an extensive library with many ‘large print’ titles for the older guests.

The resort is priced on a full board basis although guests are allowed to order their own food from the Resort Shop, cleverly called ‘The Canteen’. The restaurant facility is huge and the choice of food – if not always the taste – is varied. Vegan, halal and special needs are all available. Breakfast is continental and can be had in the room but a full English Breakfast – low-fat, naturally – is available at weekends.

Our researchers could not recommend highly enough the experience at Ford Resort. They all found it energising and recommended you choose the extended stay option. The owners of Ford Resorts boldly claim: A stay at Ford will change your life forever!

Forget Malmaison, this is the real ‘bad house’!

SP 2011 РFord Prison. 

ME

I’ve got my own take on this place but this had to be published first.

A grandfather to some, a lovely fella inside, he has a cracking wit and penned this in a writing class, we attended together. As for me, I’m on the motorway, staring out at scenes of freedom, fields, countryside, sunshine and a million journeys that take a million people in every direction but mine. I’m in the white van bombing down the M27, with the blacked out windows. Give me a wave sometime, distract me from Nausea.

Travel sickness with my knees in tight, recycled air and an empty tummy.

I don’t do mayo and the crisps, ¬†long ago polished off. I’d love a bag of buttons, coke zero and the internet. Funny what we miss…

 

Day 23 – HMP Wandsworth…

19 Mar

I’ve been shifted into Daz’s cell. Nice, much better than I’d hoped. With Shah going we were both cast alone. I still hadn’t heard anything about George and I didn’t fancy shacking up with a nutter.

Daz follows a regular prayer schedule, he observes Islam as does his family. His religious observance is no issue to me and the man has a well-kept and well stocked living quarter. I’ve arrived in relative comfort as the wing’s cells go. Being on remand and with a good little business on the outside, he has access to more available funds than his convicted counterparts. It means he is able to purchase a few more of the minor luxuries on the canteen sheet.

Being on remand allows inmates to spend more money each week, by a sizeable proportion.

It’s his kid’s birthday so he’s had some cards sent in from the outside, for him to fill in and send back out. A much more sensible idea, than buying in the lucky dip of depressing cards from Prison Supplies. I hadn’t even considered that as a plan, simple yet effective. It’s these small little detours in the prison life norm, that keep many inmates sane and even content. Finding a way to fulfill normal life functions in spite of the systems here, is a small victory and to be savoured.

Daz is respected here, what he asks for is generally granted and he’s pulled another turn in getting me from being stuck in with a first nighter. We talk about our lives outside, he knows a fair deal about me already from our time training each day; but we haven’t spoken about the reasons why we are here. Well – he has, mine’s just a little complicated to explain off the cuff in a few words. I tell him about my life in the City. Why I ended up there, what my real ambition had been, how I came to be on the wrong end of a Regulatory Enforcement Conviction and what my plans were now. There’s enough for a little book, for the mad little life this boy had in the last half decade. Pouring Champagne off girls in 5 star hotel rooms, punch-ups outside City pubs with jackets and ties in neat little piles. Gangsters and the plastic ones too, liars, thieves and addicts;¬†I’ve¬†met the lot.

And when I’m done talking, he walks me into his world, stories of the like just don’t enter the average person’s life – EVER.

He’s had, seen and done a lot, but humble and I make this conclusion myself. Theres no prompting from the fella, he’s a man’s man and adds a good helping of black comedy to his verbal autobiography. When he’s done talking, ever the selfless he pulls out from under the bed a large box, 3 foot by 2 foot, filled to the brim with edible¬†artifacts.

A treasure trove of food is opened. We make a fruit salad and destroy a bag of tea cakes I’d rescued from the kitchen, lathered in the marmalade for effect ‘Fruit Spread’ we get in our breakfast packs.

Fruit Spread is presented in a ketchup-like sachet. Coming in a range of colours and flavours, I make these sound a lot like condoms, some of them of them taste little different either. There is however one stand-out ‘Model’, this being the blue denoted blackberry spread.

Just the previous day, George and I had begun to sort each spread into a corresponding colour box and dumped the unloved choices on the landing, to see if they would get picked up by a sugar starved inmate. We weren’t in luck, we needed a coin and glue really. Still armed with the blue fruit spread, I add something to the party in D’s cell.

Who brings condiments to a party? I’d be a rubbish dinner guest.

“I’ve got the table salt guys!”

As we let the stodge sit on our stomachs, laying horizontal entranced by the tv, D says to me:

“You’re not going to be here long, trust me I’ve got a good feeling for you.”

He leans out the side of his bunk and winks to me…..

Letters from India

18 Mar

It’s day 22 and true to promise, I have 22 letters from R. She has written everyday, then emailed the letter to her sister. Her sister is gradually getting acquainted to the postal collection times in her locale as a letter or two arrives to my cell. With yesterday’s letter I receive a pleasant surprise of some of her pals who have padded out the content with words of their own.

Some prisons conduct an email system managed via EmailaPrisoner.com, a useful affordable service where loved ones can send their message online to be collected by the prisoner the following morning. Not Wandsworth, moving with the times is not something it puts at the forefront of it’s management strategy. It’s a shame really as the email system is easier than having to print/write out letters, popping them in an envelope and grabbing stamps.¬†

It’s nice to have new people to speak to in my letter writing, so I sit down to write back straight away. As I do when it comes to replying to all the letters I receive; I annotate it first to pick out the questions and then get writing while hanging onto the note in my spare mitt.

Writing to my lady love as the primary means of communication is not without its anxieties. I’m writing but am I thinking and writing? Is it dull to read, is my romantic intent wrapped in verbiage? I dread to think that she’s boring already. Her letters keep on coming, so I’m guessing it’s going okay.

…………………………………

Word Count

I asked my mother how many words I’ve written home so far. I’m told its likely many tens of thousands. I do a quick back of the beermat swapped for loo roll calculation and put it near 75,000 words in the diary alone. That is a lot of text for 22 days. I bet people on the outside will remark how quick time flies and all that other nonsense.

Time is relative, I’ve learnt that fast.

22 Days in heaven or a life of expansive opportunity will tick on pretty well. I’d imagine 22 days in Guantanamo Bay Prison, held without charge; would feel like a lifetime. I’m not in either camp but somewhere in the middle. Time drags, but event filled it is.

What have you done in the time I’ve written this?

What have you seen that has fundamentally changed your outlook on wholesale stretches of your life?

Are you happy, are you sad? What do you do each day to bring yourself closer to your own perfect Nirvana?

I want to be content…. so I write.

Poetic discourse

As a teenager growing up in middle England, middle class and right-wing suburbia; your world’s a sheltered place. As I got older, my views softened, with a sense of rationality. To those same neighbourhoods, I grew up around (Not my friends mind), I’m spoilt goods with a liberal, PC agenda.

I tell you…. I’m neither. I’ve just seen a lot more of the world than you have and I got caught for my mistakes. I’ve owned up, but what about you?

Your skeletons in the closet,

your shams, your scams, your anger boils like a flash in the pan.

Fisticuffs at dawn, punch ups and club rucks at 3 in the morn.

Bent Inspectors, ignore Subsidence – for a payout

Professional tax evasion

And treat you’re wife like shit,

But she’ robbing your pocket

until it runs out OR you kick the bucket

Then life insurance pays out.

Subtle form of murder

Mid-life crisis

Only the mid wife spies this

Baby didn’t save it

Bankruptcy brought on by drug prices

Marriage dead.

More scams, more shams

Car crash, what about whiplash?

Then our insurance pays out.

Holiday

Hotel’s robbed

No bother babe

like a shop window

and those bits you fully well know…. weren’t there

down with the bits that were,

loss adjustor’s then hampered.

Travel journey scamsters

Pay him off or play it safe,

cautious then it’s flawless

Money, to the blind alone its gorgeous

To me,

My Mince pies are working well now,¬†I’m wealthy with nothing but my girlfriend.

 

 

 

 

Security, it’s everyone’s concern

17 Mar

Top Quote coming:

Sign seen on way to dropping laundry off this morning:

“SECURITY – It’s everyones concern”

Quote from George, cell mate:

“It’s not mine, I don’t give a shit.”

Priceless.

I step out of the secure confines of my chamber to grab my laundry and post a letter to my pals back home. Shah grabs me to say goodbye, he is heading back to Ryehill¬†now he has finished his confiscation hearing. I bid him farewell and although he will be back here in 4 weeks, I hope I won’t be here to see him. He’s a top bloke but friendships aside, Wanno is not a place to stay for too long. It’s a bad situation waiting to happen.

I overhear some screws talking about the resettlement board, we slip out of the cell and tag along, George and I, to see if we can shake the tree as best as we can, D-Cat wise.

At the doors of the categorisation office, 3 screws stand firm and refuse us entry. We don’t have an ‘App’! If you’ve read my diary from the¬†beginning¬†of my stay in prison, you will appreciate the irony in that statement. Our renegade off wing fact-finding mission, was saved from failure as the Forces liaison officer’s ears prick up on overhearing our desire to speak to him. Clearly there is little call for him here and he is happy to be seen to working his own niche area of prisoners. At this point a female screw relents and allows us entry, we decline, we only wanted to nudge the categorisation officers, job done.

Being ex Royal Artillery, I am eligible for support from SSAFA. Be it TA or Regular, if you have served at least one day in the British Armed Forces, you can seek assistance on a range of areas while inside and on exit. I recommend taking them up on their offer, if at least to open a few avenues.

SSAFA stands for Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association. 

On my return to E-Wing, I sit down to a cup of tea. A couple of traveller lads I put forward for some vacant jobs, stop by and thank me for helping them out. The two brothers seem a little lost but polite and in the spirit of ‘paying it forward’ I’m only too happy to help them as Darren did for me.

I whack on ‘Homes under the Hammer’ a favourite, when a screw storms into the cell and rips the tv out of the socket. Tucking it under his arm, he says:

“Your moving cells and your buddy is being put on Basic Regime. You can stay here but I doubt he will be on the wing much longer”.

The previous evening, Twat arrived at the cell and asked George to sign his IEP Warning. The warning he had been threatened with but not incurred. Maybe Twat is bored but he’s issued him with the IEP notice regardless. It needs to be signed by the prisoner, no guesses for what George did.

For not signing, he has been given another IEP Warning. Not the type to back down, it looks like he’s heading for the block.

A decorated Naval Officer, former director of a Government Department, ex professional Athlete, now in prison, faces a spell in¬†Segregation. Talk about humbling. I pack up my belongings again, in the threadbare plastic bags I’ve used more than they should be and head for a new cell and a new cell mate. With no sign of George at the moment, I can only imagine how his week has taken a massive wrong turn just out the traps.

At the moment though, I’m keen to know how my own week is going to pan out now. Cell E3-11 awaits.