Tag Archives: prison

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 🙂

 

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

Part 2 – His and Her’s Tale. His Tale

1 Jun

His Tale:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I feel like I’ve been set free.

I could be acquitted.

I could have been found not guilty.

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

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

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

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.

 

Capers in the control room – HMP Ford

16 May

The morning bell this saturday sounds at 6.55am – then nothing for an hour. The first morning bell usually chimes at 7.45, so a manually sounded roll check alarm run from the control room, is down it can be assumed to a handful of screws thinking it would be funny to wake everyone up that bit earlier. Given that nearby homeowners can hear the morning bells, it’s somewhat inconsiderate and anti-social to those perfectly law abiding local residents who were woken up that bit early on their saturday morning off. It’s a snidy little action that just makes prisoners dislike screws, where they may have previously been ambivalent.

On some occasions the roll-call bell sounds for a brief moment, at other times it rings off like an overweight screw has dropped his paunch on the push buzzer. Suffice to say, in a quiet wooden hut at 7.30am, we hear the bells no matter how brief they are.

The prisoners wake up with a gripe on their day off, I get some small pleasure from seeing the screw taking our billet’s roll check stack it over the bin I leave outside the door. Living in such a small space, it isn’t a favoured option of mine to sleep with a bin by my face. As no one else chooses to leave their bins outside the door, the guard obviously didn’t have to engage his mind beyond ‘Stage 1 Screw Functionality’.

Stage 1 :

Breath in; breath out, burp, feed hamster in skull, repeat…

………………………………………………………..

With no gym this morning and none tomorrow, I wouldn’t be surprised if some irritation is shown on the prison site. This is evidenced later when a Russian lag here has a plate of food chucked in his face after slighting an ex boxer from London. The Russian has a reputation for bullying the small, a man his own size standing up to him is well received by the onlooking audience. True to form of a bully, he scurries away when challenged. George and I take a walk after breakfast to kill the time that would otherwise have been filled by the gym session and me being encouraged to thrash my self on a rowing machine.

I grab a coffee after we walk for 4km and then catch up with Spence who is on the grass outside the billet being beasted into submission by an old boy who is able to produce an exceptional volume of push-ups. Spurred on by this show of physical excellence by a man in his 50s, I spend the next hour doing shuttle runs and then knocking out 12 rounds of skipping. In doing the latter I generally attract a small audience; today this includes a drug importer, two fraudsters, including one Carousel VAT scamster; and a man sent to prison for using his fists in a public place. All are perfectly normal to talk to and it is only when I am writing on my daily experiences that I consider them as social misfits, offenders the black sheep of society. I do find it harder to skip well with a little team of supporters but it certainly helps kill the time better. I certainly never pictured such a scene in the weeks before I was sentenced. All of those irrational fears and nothing has come of them. The truth is, prison life is what you make of it. So I’m making friends and getting productive.

Match of the Day and X Factor is on, plus the defence of my quiz title. Saturday’s tasty.

Day 28 – The Lunar Month

2 Apr

Boom, 28 days done, the hallowed lunar month. The moon waxes and wanes its way back to where it was the day I got sent to prison. It seems so long ago now,  the unknown, the letting go, the uncontrolled detachment from my family and life’s little luxuries. Landed in the lap of the lost and I am a little more comfortable in my skin again. As Jeffrey Archer put it:

“I’ve been to hell… this place is practically Heaven”

I get up at 8 and head to the dining hall to sample a cooked breakfast, courtesy of the Queen. It’s not Claridges but it’s better than prison oats (Superfast – as they are branded). A choice of 3 items from Halal sausage and eggs; boiled or scrambled, toast, chopped tomatoes in sauce and baked beans. Thankful for the boost in protein, a nutrient that is lacking from the diet inside, I wolf down my selection sat alone on a table nearest the exit. With an hour to kill before the second gym session, I have nothing to do but stand outside and listen to the conversations between other inmates. From the banal to the downright fabricated, these individuals represent an amusing diversion to listen to. I ascertain the following:

– Many apparently have a multitude of women on the outside – Described as:

“I got some next-girl on the regs”

– A concern over money worries in this credit crunch is not isolated to the outside world, on the contrary, I hear from one chap:

“I got bare tings coming up for making P’s, you get me…” (Sounds like a question, it’s actually a statement, fyi)

– Not forgetting, the summer weather reminds us all to be conscious of our own body image:

“I’m on some MAD workout and diet, to get hench man. It’s some secret workout from an A Cat up north.”

These are just a fraction of the conversations I overhear, stood amongst the bone-headed and the bone-idle. I’m sure there are others who struggle to hide a smirk or two at the pleasingly pathetic subject matter that echoes from such environments. It is endearing really to know that even those the newspaper’s condemn as thugs and villains, are equally as insecure as the rest of us.

Sat on the concrete floor playing chicken with Hemorrhoids, I figure out what I shall do in the gym. In the background my thoughts are jarred with the frenetic chiming of the sailor’s bell attached to the chapel. It’s a call to prayer, Christian style. It may be a sunday but my body is my temple.

I smash out Daz’s circuit in the gym and have breakfast mk II in the billet: green tea and peanut butter on toast. I have a visit later today, it’s my first brush with loved ones since Southwark, I decide to save my hour of walking until after the visit. I’m expecting to eat a good deal of junk food, I may need the exercise. I spend a half hour writing in my diary and try calling R.

The British Grand Prix helps kill off a little more time, I can’t tell you how excited I am to see my friends. Freedom if only for two hours within a secure environment. G and Clive are heading down, ecstatic I am even able to tolerate Delroy, as we watch Button, Hamilton and the incongruously named British F1 driver, Paulo Di Resta. It soon strikes 2pm and I leave my shadow standing as I fly over to A-Wing to hear my name get called out for a visit….

Joining the massed ranks of the equally as chirpy ‘men of shame’, I jostle with others around the screw’s reception desk. I’m nervous, I’m excited, I’m anxious…

“Mason”

Yes! I hear my name.

I run out the building over to the visits hall; the gym as it was earlier and get ready to see my mates.

 

 

 

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 – Ford 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…

 

New Pastures

21 Mar

In a mad rush, I make sure I have all my belongings but forget about packing the edible type. I figure it shouldn’t be long at my new gaff before I get my hands on extras, I’ll have figured wrong no doubt but it completely slips my mind. My journey is ticking on and I’m heading for open conditions.

The relief

The sense of achievement… It sounds bananas  I know; but in pleading guilty I had planned that I should be back out of bang up in under a month and will spend the next 6 to 8 months in open conditions. It meant by the time the missus returns from working overseas, I’ll have more regular visits and maybe even home leaves. A month or two more and I’ll be heading home. Christmas would even be achievable, if at least for an outing.

My brief obviously didn’t want this to be the determining factor, in guiding my decision to relent on defending myself. But I’d be a liar if I said anything else swayed it. Too long in purgatory, if I could get 2 and a half or less I thought, I’ll be out by the Olympics, maybe I’d be free again before my 30th

I remember asking for a ball park figure of the kind of sentence to expect from my Barrister depending on a range of plea or trial scenarios. Working from that figure, made this way seem the quickest route to get my life moving again. This providing my confidence in coping with prison was as real as I suggested to myself. Not a time to discover I’m deluded 🙂

Now another item on my list of milestones to meet, has been met and things seem a little bit more ‘On-track’.

Faces of buddies to wave me off, stand at the cell door. The screw, after telling me to pack my stuff, locked my cell door. It means I don’t get the chance to give people a proper farewell but I quickly scribble some notes for the lads and leave D some green tea to enjoy in my absence. I write down my details and wait to be walked back to the reception for the first time since I was sent here, when I was extricated from the outside world.

The hotplate/kitchen boss an inmate like us, with a helluva catalogue of lifetime stories gives me a hand with my bags. He shoves some coffee sachets in there for me, as a farewell gesture.

Nice bloke.

I’ll never see you again but you helped make my life during this turmoil, bucket loads better. Thank you, happy trails “C”

My Waiting Room

I’m directed to sit in one of three rooms, mines marked D. Besides me, set to embark on a trip away from this urban nightmare, other inmates arrive in my room with the same excited buzz about them. The prospect of using the phone when you like, regular gym sessions, evening strolls and an end to constant door slamming. Happy faces all round, a sense that each of them feels a little safer and a little closer to a peer group level they estimate themselves to be on here. I’m happy for the same reasons, I hope for a prison filled with spivs and mustachioed bounders; a world with danger that little more remote.

Not My Waiting Room

Next door paints a less happy picture. Inmates off to dispersal nicks, to serve out decades surrounded by futility, lost youth, and psychopaths. Anger isn’t present, just cool-calm violence; the latter, something to fear. Long drives to destinations to long spend, Long Lartin, Strangeways and Swaleside.

Waiting In A Room

I never prepared myself for 9 hours of sitting around, interspersed with 2 hours of queasy, unbelted, unstable, sweatbox Serco driving down to Sussex. Sharing the journey with 5 others from Wandsworth, I’ll arrive at Ford back at square 1. I’ve heard rumours it’s not all it’s cracked up to be, it’s a prison, what is it cracked up to be?

Once again, I’m alone, I know no-one and still a prisoner.

The van loads with us on it after a period of excitement that waned and made way for tedium. With nothing but unknown faces, wooden benches and a barrage of the same repeated conversations about Ford, it wasn’t long before I wished I could be back upstairs laughing with the lads or being beasted by Daz in the gym.

In the vehicle yard again, the sun’s out, its a good day for a road trip and my lucky number flashes up on my little casio watch. Down in the footwell is any number of sandwiches I can’t stand for lunch. Mayonnaise, salad cream and another indistinguishable sauce – none I eat. A bag of crisps suffices for lunch and I become re-acquainted with that sepia canvas, London through the window of a prison van…

 

The Land of Oz

20 Mar

Morning comes and a loud bangings woken me up. An inmate across the landing from me plays a drum solo on his door. I’m sufficiently confident enough here now, to want to find out who this person is and shout down his face.

I’ve got a short fuse today from a light sleep the previous night. Thoughts of getting out of this place and onward into the future’s freedom, dreams that stir excitement and keep your eyes from settling shut. I must have dreamt of an open prison and the lairy landing neighbour’s ripped me out of my ‘Happy Place’.

The doors are opened and I go first to the landing office to check my pay. I’m now doing two jobs and I should therefore see a preferential level of pay. At least more than those on unemployment wage here. I knock, I wait, ignored and wait.

The door opens eventually. I’m ignored a little more, then I ask to check my wages.

Surprise – I’ve not been paid.

More displeased than before, I drown my sorrows in a huge bowl of cereal.

I’d been told my pay would be amended by today, I’m due wages from the day my working career had begun. Payments are generally made daily onto your account, providing they are inputted in the first place. Which it seems has been the case here. Not 1 day, but on more than 15 occasions. That’s an attention to detail at omitting to make payment that the Greek Government admire! I could make a point that this is:

Obtaining services by deception……

But let’s be honest here, I’m not going to am I? No. The gym roll call comes round and the matter is forgotten about.

Darren and I grab a towel and a bottle of squash then head down to the end of the landing as per usual. A list is handed around where inmates visiting the gym write their names. Theres a lot of people today called X 🙂

I run off briefly and post D’s kids birthday cards and a letter for his missus, he meanwhile appends our names to that list.

Waiting for the screw to come along and let us through, I smirk as I see George join us for the gym. I smirk from remembering the first time I spoke to him here. Just a week back I and the others headed back from a gym session when George, a tall Aryan looking man remarks that in the City he would pay £80 a month for that in Cannon Street. I know the gym he’s talking about, a uni pal took me there once. We strike up conversation but the entire time I’m thinking:

“WHAT THE HELL IS HE IN HERE FOR?”

Got to be on remand for murder, a Wifer* or similar. The more I look at him the more I see a picture of married lunacy exploding in a fitful of rage. His strong manner, his swagger… Murder or attempted, I think its’s got to be.

*A ‘Wifer’ is a man who has done his Wife in.

George has done none of these things, your mind wanders when you rock up some place like this. He fiddled the books he was overseeing while managing to cut their budget year on year. Doing a good job, so had a little play. Owned up, paid right up, a guilty plea a year old and with a baby less than a week , still got a hefty bird. Who says Judges are soft. Despite paying it all back, the Crown are trying to get money he earned legitimately through his own business in the years before too. I wonder if the incentive of bankruptcy or bailiffs chasing you on release is a good motivation to stay crime free or if it poses the threat that it may make reoffending more likely? I’ll leave that thought open. My name’s being called.

“M*S**!”

What have I done I thought? My name is yelled out again.

Is it my letters?

My stash of photos?

My Diary?

The uniform approaches

Its one of the friendlier screws, an old east end dog:

“What have I done?” I ask

“Nothing you tart – pack your bags, you’re moving”

Flashback to the verbal nudge and the wink from the D-Man last night.

“Where my off to Gov?”

I’m off to FORD!