Sunday, 19 October 2014

Prison UK: An Insider's View: The Scariest Prisoner? An Innocent One

Prison UK: An Insider's View: The Scariest Prisoner? An Innocent One: The media has recently carried a rising number of stories of people who have been released from prison after serving very long sentences be...

Monday, 13 October 2014

Bonding After Release From Prison - From Andrew

Hi all. My son was 4 months old when I was sentenced to prison. He is now 5 years old.
At first, I was placed in a jail near to home and my girlfriend brought our son to see me quite a lot which I was very grateful of.
I was then moved to a jail about 2 and a half hours away from home and the bonding with my son came to a halt. My girlfriend did not have her own transport and could not afford the journey to prison via public transport. Also she found it very difficult to travel the distance with our son because he is on a special diet due to his disability. 
I came out of prison when he was 5 and my son was a stranger to me as I was to him. My girlfriend did stay in touch during my sentence and kept me up to date with his progress and development and sent me photos.
Since I have been out of prison, I am finding it difficult to bond with my son. I feel disgusted with myself for saying it and I do love him, but I have missed so much because of my stupid foolish decision to commit a crime. I paid the price for that, but so did my son who is the innocent party no matter which way you look at it. I spoke to my probation officer about the bonding difficulties because when I attend probation, all they do is ask me how I am. Every time I tell them I am finding it hard to bond with my son and they do or say nothing. 
Prison is prison, I except that and I deserved the sentence. But whilst I was in prison, the so called rehabilitation process was virtually nil apart from some diploma's here and there which I achieved studying. But there aren't any diploma's in there for people being released back in to a family environment after a prison sentence. The prison gate opens and that's you thrust back in to a family home that has changed dramatically straight down the line. Maybe the bonding will come naturally and will come in time. Maybe it is me being impatient? I don't know but I thought I would write in to you and let your followers read what it is like from a Father's and ex-prisoners point of view when a family has been separated in this situation. I am fully aware that it is my fault for getting myself in the situation in the first place, but how many children are sentenced too when a parent goes to prison? How is my crime my child's crime? Regards Andrew. 

Ex-Convict Donates Kidney To 'Make New Start'

A woman has received a kidney transplant from a former convict after a desperate appeal in a local newspaper. Sally-Ann Grainger, 34, featured in an article asking for a donor to come forward in January. She went into renal failure after taking medication following a double lung transplant in 2009. Ms Grainger had to have dialysis treatment three times a week and described herself as "barely existing". Even though she was a complete stranger, 33-year-old Wesley Joyce, who spent time in jail for assault, donated his kidney in order to "make a new start". He was one of 10 people to come forward, but the only one who was a tissue and blood match. "This was the perfect opportunity for me to give something back, as long as I matched," Mr Joyce told Sky News. "It wasn't good enough that I said I'd do it, I needed to actually do this."I said to Sally's daughter that I thank her mum for giving me the opportunity to do this."

GDS Prison Diary - Part 41

08.00pm – Quite a busy day in fact it has turned out. Tonight in one hour the TV film on the life of Cilla Black. I have met Cilla few years ago not long after her husband died. Her record ‘Anyone who had a heart’ is the first record I bought I think I was eight or something. Of course I stole 6 and 8 pence which was the cost in those days of records. Three records cost £1. I think I remember on TV hearing she was the first woman to be No 1 in the charts but could be wrong. Today tried to call my little son but can’t get through. Infuriating, with all the phones can’t get through but then it’s my own stupid fault being in this position. I should never have trusted the Government that I would be sent to Italy quickly. Never mind. I have paid a price for my trust and loyalty and now the time has come for me to present the bill!!! The Scottish referendum is nearly here. My God how biased have the BBC been to the ‘yes’ campaign. The Daily Mail also so biased. Jeez there is a threat that if Scotland is independent the Scots will lose ‘Strictly Come Dancing’!!! Seems the English really do need the Scots much more than they can admit.

Where Do I draw The Line? - From Anonymous Mother

Dear Prisoners Families Voices. After doing a google search on sons in prison, I came across your site. My son is in prison and this is his third prison sentence. Like many other Mum's I make sure he is OK and has regular visits. But I will say this, it costs me more financially to make sure he is OK in prison than it does here in the outside world.
I also very often think that if prison is such a bad place, why does he keep going back?
When he served his first prison sentence, I was mortified when he told me that prison wasn't as bad as people make out. When I asked him whether prison was a deterrent, he simply said, no it wasn't.
I am a good decent Mother and person. I have four children and three of them are doing well and have good life's. I have always treated my children the same and have treated them all fairly. I never expected that one of my children would end up in prison. The rest of my children refuse to visit him or contact him in prison. They have washed their hands of him because this is his third time in prison. That just leaves me to pick up the pieces and try to get to the bottom of why he perhaps prefers prison than living at home. All sorts has run through my mind and I have tossed and turned of a night with my brain on overload trying to find a solution. I know the main solution is for my son to take responsibility for his own actions but what work and support has been put in place for him just isn't working. Probation provide no support and other services that are involved do not seem to be helping him. I just don't want to be prison visiting for the rest of my life. I am in a dilemma also because my other children disagree with me sending him money and buying things to make his life easier in prison which I guess that is what I am doing. But I'm his Mum and I love him. I just wish I knew where to draw the line. Thanks for listening and please protect my name and details. Thank you. 

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Prison Governors: a Mysterious Presence

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Prison Governors: a Mysterious Presence: This post is in response to a recent request from a blog reader who asked me to share my thoughts on prison governors. To be honest, it was...

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Cutting All Ties? - From Tired Mum

Hello Guys and Girls! I read the blog post about mollycoddled prisoners and would like to comment if I may.
My son is in prison at the moment and this isn't his first time inside either.
I have always stood by him like many other Mum's in this situation and I am guilty of running to his beck and call when he wants money or clothes etc.
Last week he rang me and asked for fifty pounds. He wanted me to send the money to an inmates girlfriend to which I replied to with a definite no! He hung up on me and that was that.
A few hours later (off a mobile phone) I got a call from a guy saying that my son owed him money for 'stuff' in prison. Little did I know and call me daft or whatever, that my lad was using drugs in prison.
I hung up on the mystery guy and then thought that if I didn't 'pay up' would my son be in danger? I guess he would be, but call me an awful Mother, I was not giving in to demands, in fact I couldn't and cannot give in to demands because I cannot afford too! My son rang me a few days later telling me that he is on another wing which I am thinking is some sort of protection wing? 
Not only do I have to put up with the shame of my son's wrong-doings and sweeping up the rubble when he goes to prison, but I also have to put up with crap whilst he's in prison too and I have had enough. I can barely make ends-meet myself and I work full time! 
I am just sat here in thought wondering how many other Mum's or Dad's are having the same issues with money demands from prison? Chris Crayling bans everything that benefits a prisoner/s yet cannot get on top of the drugs crisis in prisons? That's one battle he won't and cannot win! 
In the meantime and yes this is a rant, parents like me and probably many others are being badgered for money from our loved ones in prison. As sad as this may sound and I know this will not go down too well with some of your blog readers, but I feel like changing my phone number and cutting all ties with my son until actually gets out of prison never mind maintaining them! Maintaining ties with my son just labels me a human cash machine and I am tiring with it.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Two’d Up… the Joys of Sharing a Cell

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Two’d Up… the Joys of Sharing a Cell: Most prisoners who aren’t in Cat-A (high security) prisons are likely to end up sharing a cell for at least part of their sentences – somet...

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Prison Pests (3): The Wing Bully

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Prison Pests (3): The Wing Bully: Bullying – whether in general or in a prison environment – is a significant problem that is receiving more attention at the moment. This bl...

Mollycoddled Prisoners? - From Mum of Prisoner

Dear PFV. I have been reading some posts on your site about maintaining family ties. Personally I think it is all about getting the balance right. My son is in prison and he has been in prison four times. During every sentence I supported him both financially and emotionally. Some people might disagree with what I am going to say next, but looking back I think I mollycoddled him too much.
He had everything on a plate apart from his liberty. He had money, letters coming in every day, regular visits, stamps, clothing and footwear and basically everything he wanted he got.
This current sentence he is serving I have decided to knock a lot of what I do on the head. In a strange way I felt like I was 'rewarding' him for being in prison because looking back again, he actually got more money, clothing and footwear from me and the rest of the family than he did when he wasn't in prison!
I absolutely agree with the other families who have posted their views about where do you actually draw the line? Maintaining family ties I do agree with but how far do we go? Is providing our loved ones with everything they want in prison a good thing? No I don't think it is and as long as I keep giving in, I do not see a future for my son in the respect of going on the straight. Prisons should be places where people do not want to go back to, but people are going back time and time again! I still support my son, but I feel it is time now that I took a step back to actually let him reflect on what he is doing. 

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Jon's Jail Journal (by Shaun Attwood): Life Lessons Talk by Shaun Attwood (Full Talk)

Jon's Jail Journal (by Shaun Attwood): Life Lessons Talk by Shaun Attwood (Full Talk)

Prisoners Families Charities Please Explain - From Gillian

Hi PFV hope you are all well! 
Please could I respond to the brilliant post by Sharney which I have just seen over on Twitter.
I absolutely agree with her about the maintaining family ties thing.
The Government urge prisoners families to maintain ties because quite frankly I believe they want their beds to be filled at all times!
My partner is in prison and this is actually the third time he has been in prison since we met. I work full time, have a lovely home which I have worked hard for and we have a beautiful 18 month old little girl. I write to him, he phones me every night and me and my daughter visit him twice a month and engage in family visits when the prison organizes them. My partner knows that I will stand by him and that I will maintain ties with both myself and our daughter so I really do agree with Sharney and ask how maintaining family ties supposedly reduces re-offending?
Are the Government urging us to keep in contact for a reason namely financially? I love my partner but looking at it realistically, he doesn't have the worries I have out here plus he knows for a fact that I am here for him whilst he is in prison and when he is released, so I would like charities and organisations that campaign for prisoners families to elaborate on why maintaining family is important? From Gillian. 

How Does Maintaining Family Ties Work? - From Sharney

Hello. If I may, I would like to discuss the whole saying of, "maintaining family ties reduces re-offending."
My brother has the strongest family ties possible yet still re-offends. Our family has supported him no end with avenues of rehabilitation and helped him financially. We have always stood by him and visited him in prison yet he still goes back to HMP.
This whole 'family ties' thing confuses me. 
Yes I wholly agree that maintaining ties is important, but are those quoting this making it easier for our loved ones? Let me explain.
The more families scramble around providing financial support and driving to visit our loved ones in prison, sometimes 100's of miles away, is this actually deterring our loved ones from going in to prison? This by the way is just a thought because something doesn't sit right right.
I have met numerous wife's, girlfriends, Mums and Dads who visit their loved ones in prison never missing a weekend, yet when we have spoke, they tell me that no matter how much support they give their loved ones, they go back in to prison. So how does the maintaining family ties reduce re-offending? I would like to know how it works? Love and best wishes Sharney. 

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Need A Cuddle?

What Do I Put? - From Ex Con

Hi. Considering I am getting zero help from my probation officer, I was wondering if any of you guys could advise?
I have been in prison for lets say quite a while and I am actively seeking work. The problem I have is my CV.
I have been on some interviews that require information about the gaps on your CV and why there are gaps in your CV. It is pretty obvious after spending time in jail that I do have gaps on my CV but how do I explain this?
I know many companies will show me the door if I tell them I have been in prison. All I want is a chance and there aint anybody out there willing to give me one. It makes me laugh that when you are in jail, those running it bleat on about rehabilitation yet do not prepare you for things like this and a CV these days, (as I have found out) is a major requirement for jobs. The application forms too seem to ask more and more personal questions too. If I write on my CV that I have served time in jail, you can bet your bottom dollar that it will be screwed up in to a ball and thrown in the bin. Have you any advise please? From Ex Con. 

Prison Pen Pal Blip - From Bobby

Hi to all. I have been out of prison for 2 and a half years and my partner and I have just had another baby.
We were cleaning out the pantry the other day when we came across the letters my partner sent me. We decided to have a browse through them. Whilst doing so she found a letter from one of my female pen pals.
Stupid me never told her that I was writing to 2 other women  but there was nothing in it whatsoever and no plans to hook up with the pen pals when I got released from prison. I should have told her but my partner gets jealous so I kept it to myself. I thought I had binned the letters from pen pals before I was released but clearly I had missed one and it has caused havoc to the point we have split up to let things settle.
Life was pretty much going OK too as I have just found myself regular employment but I just wanted to write in and tell my story about prison pen pals and how much aggro it can cause if you are not up front about writing to others. Cheers Bobby.

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Votes for Prisoners: No, It’s Yes…

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Votes for Prisoners: No, It’s Yes…: Only a quick post today owing to pressure of my real work, I’m afraid. Around ten days ago I was asked by a reader of this blog to give my v...

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Prison Pen Pal Horror - From Anonymous

Hi. I used to write to a prisoner and came unstuck big time!
Before anyone replies and says it, I'll say it first by saying that I know there are genuine people in prison who want friendship but I landed a pen pal who fleeced me.
I'm a grown woman so I was fully responsible for my bad decisions.
I started writing to a prisoner who wasn't a lifer but someone who was serving quite a long time in prison. 
Every night I used to tap away on my lap top and type my pen pal a letter. 
After about 8 months, he asked me if I wanted to visit him. I wasn't sure but I decided to go along and meet the person who I got to know well via letters.
He wasn't shy and was up front about his past and told me he had been in prison quite a few times. So I decided to go and meet him.
He was single and just needed a friend plus he did actually come across as being a very genuine person.
As I sat opposite him in the visits room, I noticed his clothing was a bit shot at.
I told him not to be offended and asked him if I could buy him some new clothing and he seemed very appreciative. I have a good job, no children, so I could afford to treat him. 
To cut a long story short, we grew very fond of each other and I supported him financially every week and what I gave him wasn't pennies either. I spend a considerable amount of money on him. One night when he rang, he asked me if I would buy him some new trainers which were £80.00. I said yes no problem and he asked me if I could send the money to his sister so that she could purchase them for him and book them in at the prison as she lived nearer to the prison. I sent the money and in fact I sent his sister quite a lot of money over the four years I was writing to her brother.
During a visit I was having a cigarette outside before the visitors were shouted in to the visits room. A woman came over to me and asked me for a light and said that she had seen me visiting before. She then went on to ask me whether my partners girlfriend knew that I was visiting! I hadn't got a clue what she was on about and she explained that the man I was visiting usually has a young woman and a child visiting him. He had never mentioned them to me and I asked the woman if she was sure. She replied yes as her partner was on the same wing as mine. After some careful investigating, imagine my horror when I eventually found out that his sister, the one I was sending money too, was actually his partner and they had a child together! Basically I was providing for his partner and supporting their child! I had been well and truly mugged! 
I could have pressed charges but I didn't want the hassle so I just stopped writing and asked the prison to stop all outgoing mail to my address which they did. I changed my phone number and have since moved even though he wasn't from my local area. I think someone mentioned in a post on your blog that being taken advantage of just doesn't happen on dating websites. It is true, it happens in prisons too! For anyone reading, please just be careful. I know there are some prisoners who want genuine friendships like there are people who use dating sites to genuinely meet someone etc. But in all walks of life there are those who take advantage. Love and best wishes to all. Anonymous. 

HMP Styal to house first Clink restaurant in women's prison

The first public restaurant to be established in a UK women's prison is to open in Cheshire. The eatery, designed to help improve ex-offenders' employment prospects, will open at HMP Styal in 2015. Governor John Hewitson said it would let people "see first-hand how we're helping to prepare women for release". It will be the fourth such establishment set up by the Prison Service and the charity Clink. The other three are in male prisons. A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said the restaurant would allow inmates to "gain food preparation, food service and cleaning City and Guilds NVQ qualifications", as well as experience working within a real business. Clink's chief executive Chris Moore said opening at Styal meant the charity could "increase our training efforts to continue to bridge the skills gap in the hospitality industry" and hopefully "continue seeing a decrease in reoffending rates with support from businesses and the public".

Phone Bill Or Prison Visit? - From Prisoners Partner

Dear Prisoners Families Voices.
Weekend just gone, my prison visit cost me £120.00. It was a choice of taking the kids to see their dad or paying the phone bill. The kids hadn't seen their dad for 3 months and were asking and asking if they could visit him so how could I say no. The cost of the visit though has not enabled me to pay the phone bill so now their dad cannot phone them.
It cost nearly £65.00 for the train to the prison for me and the kids. A further £25.00 in return taxi fares. It cost me roughly £10.00 whilst sat on the train as the goodies and drinks trolley paced up and down the aisle. And when we got inside the prison it cost me another £20.00. Why does the Government make it hard for families especially children to maintain ties with their mum or dad in prison? I know my partner did wrong, I know that, but my children don't fully understand because they are too young.
They just think that we can hop on to the train every weekend to go and visit him but that is just not possible. It is impossible. We won't be able to visit him now for another three months because in the meantime I have to save and pay the phone bill so that they can speak to their dad! Choices are so difficult in this situation especially when there are children involved. I just thought I'd let you know some of the struggles families face. Thanks. 

Breaking Away - From Rosanne

Hi Guys. I relate so much to the post titled Lifer's Wife. 
My ex partner is a lifer and was convicted when we were both having a relationship on the out.
I was absolutely devastated too and the whole situation made me very ill.
I stood by him for three years and felt that I couldn't do it anymore. 
I became an obsessive writer when he was sentenced and I too would spend every day and night writing letters and sending him cards. It cost me a fortune but I never begrudged it and at the time I enjoyed penning letters to him.
One morning I received a letter from him saying that two women had wrote to him. There was nothing I could do because if he chose to write back then that was his decision. Being his partner or not, I couldn't really deny him writing to others because when all said and done he was spending years in prison. 
A few months down the line he wrote and told me that one of the women was going to visit him but told me that there was nothing in it and that they were just good friends. How would I know what their letter content consists of? 
Anyway, letters from him started to dwindle and I became less interested in writing. I started a new job and began to have a social life again.
One morning again, I received a letter from him saying that he was finishing our relationship and that he had started a new relationship with his pen pal. 
I wrote back and wished them both well then received a rant phone call from him asking me if I was seeing anyone else. I wasn't but I had got my social life back and wanted to move on. It was all a bit of mess and confusing because he was in prison for years and the prison he was in at the time was about 4 hours away from my home and I couldn't drive nor afford to pay for the journey on public transport. So in reality our relationship probably ended as soon as he was convicted. How could we in all honesty carry on a relationship just through letters and phone calls? I know some women do and I am not knocking that, but the meaning of a relationship for me is having someone with me, not 4 hours away locked behind bars. 
I am seeing someone else now but I do drop my ex the odd letter or two. 
We don't have children together so breaking away and moving on was a little easier. Looking back it was an awful time and the prison journey was tiring and stressful. I don't look down on prisoners and never will, it is just that I didn't want to be locked away serving a sentence with my partner. Both our lives changed when he committed the crime and when that happens there are consequences. Lots of love to you and your readers, Rosanne. 

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Prison Insiders: Screws Without Keys?

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Prison Insiders: Screws Without Keys?: I’ve written in a previous blog post about bent prison officers being called ‘cons with keys’. Since the title of this blog is “an Insider’...

Pipe Dream Prison Escape

Gordon was caught red-handed trying to deliver a giant pipe to HMP so that his pal could escape without getting his prison issue clothes dirty.
Gordon was arrested and said that he regretted giving in to his best friend's request. 

Britain’s giant spider invasion: House spider bite leaves girl, four, with nasty rashes

A young girl was left with rashes all over her body after experiencing an extreme reaction to a giant house spider bite. Elle Hands from Northfields in Birmingham had rashes sprouting all over her body and face along with a swollen foot. Paramedics who attended the scene confirmed her reaction was due to a spider bite. Elle’s mother Penny said: ‘At first we thought Elle had been bitten outside, but I’ve seen some very large spiders in her bedroom and wonder if one of those attacked while she was asleep.’ ‘I want to make parents aware that a simple spider bite can have serious consequences.’Britain plays host to 14 different species of spider that can deliver such a bite.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Lifer Wife - From Anonymous

Dear Editor. I don't wish for my name to be published but would like to tell my story.
My husband received a life sentence 5 years ago and within the last 12 months I decided to move on from our marriage. It was a painful decision.
For 4 years I was a prisoner too on the outside because I lived my husbands life inside if that makes any sense.
I stopped having a social life because I felt guilty going out enjoying myself whilst he was in prison and I broke away from my friends because I just did not want to socialize. I was wrapped up in writing letters upon letters to my husband cooped up in my home every night alone with a bottle of wine.
I was in my own prison at home and one day I decided enough was enough. 
I still love my husband and always will, but I have a life here on the outside and I have to live it. 
Some lifer wife's are happy with their life and I respect that, but for me the situation was making me depressed and withdrawn. I was more worried about my husband than myself and my appearance suffered. There wasn't and still isn't anything I can do for him but to be his friend. I still drop him a line and a card every month so I haven't completely cut ties, but I don't visit him anymore. I know he has pen pals which is a good thing for him so I know at least he is corresponding with people on the outside and perhaps getting visits.
I have filed for divorce because basically I have too in order to move on.
I wouldn't say I am completely happy because I still wouldn't be surfing the net looking for prisoners families sites like yours, but it will take time to move on.
When my husband was first arrested, I had to move because people were throwing paint on my door and bricks through my window even though my husband was in prison pending his trial. 
I had absolutely nothing to do with what he did yet I was treated like scum by members of the community. My husband was in prison relatively safe and I was the one taking the brunt of his crime which crippled me to the point of attempting suicide. I won't lie because that is how I felt at the time. It was traumatic and frightening but the Police didn't really give me time or day because I was the wife of someone who committed a very serious crime. I could go on and write pages and pages of my experience. I just wanted to share my story and would be interested in other lifer wife's stories and their opinions and feelings. Please keep my email and my name confidential. Thank you. 

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Chris Grayling’s Pants

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Chris Grayling’s Pants: Only a brief post today because I’ve been travelling, but I just wanted to share a quick story with readers of this blog. I happened to mee...

Friday, 19 September 2014

Police Phobia - From Anonymous Mother

Most children are frightened of the bogie-man or Mr Moon, my daughter isn't afraid of any of those - her fear is the Police.
When we walk down the street and see a Police officer approaching, we have to cross the road.
When we see a Police car or van, with or without the sirens blaring, I have to pick my daughter up and cover her ears whilst she trembles in my arms.
When my daughter's school has community bobbies coming in to do talks and presentations, she has to be dismissed from the class because she starts trembling and crying. 
My daughter has a phobia of the Police.
Eighteen months ago, my husband was arrested for supplying drugs. 
Poor me thought he was going to 'work' every morning on a building site. One of his friends even picked him up every morning and I thought nothing of it.
Eighteen months ago at 5.00am, the Police came through my door and turned the house upside down. The noise was horrendous and the Police were a scary bunch.
Our daughter was petrified and screaming to the point of vomiting.
My husband was cuffed and behind the sink in our bathroom were rolls of money. During his trial, I was told that he was planning to leave me for his mistress, a local woman he had been having an affair with for two years.
I had heard enough and turned my back on him completely because our daughter was my main concern.
She still has nightmares that are so bad she wakes up trembling and shaking.
We were offered no support by the Police or other agencies.
What happens God forbid if my daughter needs the Police at some point?
What when she enters her teenage years she needs the Police because some weirdo is bothering her or God forbid she meets a man who is aggressive towards her? At some point in anyone's life, we need the Police for whatever reason.
I was told a few months ago that if my daughter needed counselling, I would have to pay for it. I can't afford it.
The school have been relatively understanding but until you have the Police coming through your door doing what they do, no one can ever understand.
I know the Police have a job to do and I know that my husband is where he should be which is in prison, but my daughter didn't ask for any of this. She didn't know her builder Father was a drug dealer.
The school have informed me that they will try to help my daughter and push for counselling so at least now we are getting somewhere, but I have had to really fight for this. I am going to swear so please pardon my language, but it has been a fucking living nightmare. Right now I have a 7 year old daughter who thinks that the Police are bogie-men! 

Arrest After 96-Year-Old Dies At Care Home

A woman has been arrested after police launched a murder inquiry into the death of a 96-year-old woman at a care home. Detectives are treating the death of Ethel Baldwin at the Abbey House Care Home in Netley Abbey, Hampshire, on September 13 as suspicious. A post-mortem examination has been carried out, although the results have not been made public. A Hampshire police spokesman said: "Specialist officers have been liaising with the care home and family members to establish the circumstances of this death and to ensure the safeguarding of other residents at the care home."A 36-year-old woman from Southampton has today been arrested on suspicion of murder and is helping police with their enquiries."

Financial Gain - From Anon

Dear Prisoners Families Voices.
Please can I reply to the post about pen-pals. 
I used to write to a male prisoner in the UK and he promised me the earth.
Call me naive or whatever, but I did actually fall for this guy. 
I sent him money so that he could order clothes and footwear out of the catalogue and money for his phone credit so that he could ring me.
I went to visit him once a month and we got on great. He told me everything about himself, what crime he had committed and how he was brought up in a kids home etc. So he did tell me a lot of personal stuff about himself - apart from telling me he had a partner and a young daughter.
Out of the blue one day, I got a letter from another prisoner who managed to find out my address because I guess letters are read and left lying around or other prisoners root for them? I don't know, but the prisoner did get hold of my address and wrote to me telling me that my faithful pen pal had a partner and young daughter. I decided to do some investigating and it was all true.
I felt gutted, used, foolish, upset, you name it. 
I know there are some genuine prisoners who just want correspondence and a friend to write to but this experience has put me off altogether. I would just like to say to those who are promised the earth and a relationship when they are released is to be careful. I was a fool but common sense is the key. It happens all over such as dating websites where women and men are taken advantage of purely for financial reasons. It just happens. Thanks for listening and can you please keep my name anonymous. 

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Prison Penpals: Who Writes and Why?

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Prison Penpals: Who Writes and Why?: Having posted recently on this blog about the problems prisoners can face in keeping in touch with family and friends while they are in jai...

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Goldfish has brain surgery to give him another 20 years of life

Meet George – he’s a very special goldfish. He’s special because he’s just undergone surgery to remove a tumour from his brain. George, who is otherwise a normal goldfish (but by no means ordinary), was said to be ‘really suffering’ and was unable to swim or eat properly due to a large tumour hanging off his face.

Breaking Away - From Anonymous

I know some people have mixed views on having a husband or partner in prison so I would like to give my story.
My ex partner has been in prison since 2010 and will be in a few years longer.
I have been a single parent now for 4 years.
When he first went in to prison I thought I could cope and I managed well for the first 12 months.
Money was tight because as a family we had lost my partners income.
It's a shock to the system but I thought oh well people cope when they are made redundant and so on, so I thought I had better just get on with it.
In 2012, and a reality check later, I decided to break away from my partner and the prison thing. I had had enough and became depressed.
For two years I had missed out on my life by concentrating on his life behind bars. I was an obsessive letter writer, I made sure I went without so he could have a good weekly canteen and I sent him postal orders so that he could ring me every night. 
I decided to visit him and tell him to his face that I couldn't cope any more.
He was upset naturally but he said he understood. Whether that was to make me feel 'better' I don't know, but either way I walked away.
I felt upset and guilty and didn't know what to tell our 16 year old son.
Just last week, I received a letter from him. He told me that he had met someone else in the form of a pen friend. He told me that she sent him money and 'looked after him' to which I thought well fair enough, I wish him well.
But reading on, I came across a paragraph that said if I want to get back together with him when he is released, he would jump at the chance because he has no intention of settling down with his female pen friend who obviously has fallen for him. I don't know this lady thankfully because I would have shown her the letter if I did. I know it happens because I have read quite a few stories about women being used financially to support prisoners. But I did not expect my ex partner to be this ruthless. 
Our son said that he understood my decision and agreed that I should move on.
He is a lovely young man who is doing well in life and has coped brilliantly since his dad was sent to prison. I know some kids have a real hard time when losing a parent to prison bars, but I was fortunate in that sense.
I guess I just wanted to share my story with you because I needed to let off some steam about how this prison situation has done my head in.
I know that there are quite a lot of individuals who are strong enough to stand by their man, but some of us aren't. I was actually called a selfish cow for dumping my partner on a closed chat group and couldn't believe what I was reading. How dare they when they had no idea how I was feeling and the situation behind my door. So for anyone who does break away, I just want to say, have some compassion and thought for those who just cannot carry on anymore. Just because you are strong, doesn't mean we all are. 

Dealing With Prison - From Mum

My son is in prison for a violent offence and will not be home for a very good while.
Up until two years ago, I used to call anyone associated with a criminal, scum. Not nice I know but I wasn't brought up to break the law and I followed the law through family traits. I brought up my two sons with exactly the same principals but two years ago my world fell apart. 
My son committed an awful crime and I have no idea whatsoever triggered him to do this.
He had done well at school and uni, and got some brilliant qualifications. He is clever, polite and generally a good lad. He didn't give me much trouble when he was a teen and neither did his brother. I thought I was lucky compared to some teens these days.
I had always had a very open relationship with my sons and they always confided in me about girlfriends and problems.
Their problems weren't major ones by the way, they were just the odd thing in general. None of them were bullied nor did they take any illegal substances. 
So what went wrong because I do not know. All I do know is that my world has been shattered. It goes to show that anyone and any walks of life can end up in prison. I will have to deal with it, I have little choice. 

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Maintaining Family Ties: an Uphill Struggle

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Maintaining Family Ties: an Uphill Struggle: Amid all the media debate over the current state of our prisons – violence, overcrowding, rape and sexual assaults, staff shortages – a ver...

Monday, 15 September 2014

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Prison Rape: Why Andrew Selous is Wrong

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Prison Rape: Why Andrew Selous is Wrong: There always tends to be a media feeding frenzy whenever the words “rape” and “prison” are used in the same sentence, either by prison refo...

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Retailer Phones 4u 'Forced Into Administration'

Phones 4u says it has been forced into administration after the network operator EE decided not renew its current contract.

My Mum Is In Prison - From A Teenage Blog Reader

Hi. My Mum is in prison and I am living with my Gran at the moment. 
I am 15 and I am finding it very hard at school because some of the girls make fun that my Mum is in prison.
My Gran is 76 and I see her crying a lot because of my Mum. 
My Gran doesn't want to visit my Mum so I visit Mum with my auntie.
I am a strong person and want to help other teenagers in my shoes so I just wanted to say to everyone who has a Mum or Dad in prison to stay strong. You are not alone and keep on studying hard and make your parents proud of you. My Mum will be out of prison in 2 years time and I will be there for her when she comes home.

Prison UK: An Insider's View: An HM Prison Inspector Calls

Prison UK: An Insider's View: An HM Prison Inspector Calls: When it comes to trying to understand what goes through Chris Grayling’s mind, there are many “unknown unknowns” (to borrow a phrase from t...

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Jurassic Grayling

When UK prisoner Malcolm Biggins surfed the prison library for a book to read, he had a full blown panic attack resulting in the librarian having to help him blow in to a paper bag, made by prisoners in the work shop!
Biggins collapsed on the floor clutching a book he had found in the history section. When Biggins came round, he showed the book to the librarian who struggled to breathe himself.
The book by Christopher Grayling reflects the current book banning situation and clearly proves that Grayling's prison reform is indeed Jurassic. 
The book has now been taken out of the prison library and has been destroyed in order not to cause embarrassment. After Biggins recovered from his panic attack, he told us, " I started to hyperventilate through laughter and collapsed on to the floor. The prison healthcare has now put me on anti anxiety tablets which have calmed me down. I just couldn't believe the coincidence finding a book written by someone with the same name as that chap!" 

Is My Dad In Prison? - From Heather

When my partner received a custodial sentence, I told my daughter that we were visiting him at work. I too at the time felt this was the right thing to do namely to protect her.
One day she came home from school and asked me if her dad was in prison.
When I asked her why, she told me that one of her friends had told her.
I couldn't lie anymore and I told my daughter the truth because rumors were rife in the school.
One question led to another and I found this extremely difficult to explain the situation to her because her dad was in prison for a serious offence.
The situation spiraled and my daughter didn't want to go and visit her dad again in prison again.
After 12 months though, she decided that she did want to go and visit her dad again because she wanted to ask him some questions. By then she was 10 years old and if she wanted answers then she should get answers within reason of course.
Because her dad had committed a crime and was sent to prison, she thought that her dad did not care about her or love her anymore. I fully understood why she would feel that way because when he committed the crime, he had no thought on how this would affect his daughter. I will never condone what he did.
Her dad and I are no longer in a relationship because I wasn't prepared to put my life on hold. Some of you may think that I am selfish, but it is my decision to move on. I still take our daughter to see her dad in prison once a month and they have a good relationship communicating on a regular basis which involves visits, phone calls and letters. 
If there is any advise I can give, it would be to be careful what you tell your children in this situation. We all want what is best for them but sometimes a white lie can backfire, which it did in my case. I agree with others that it is a personal decision on what to tell your children when a parent is serving a prison sentence, but I regretted the 'dad's at work' thing and being openly honest was the best solution at the end of the day. Wishing you all the best. From Heather.

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Homosociality: Why Prison Mates Matter

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Homosociality: Why Prison Mates Matter: Most of my recent blog posts have been about the grimmer aspects of prison life: suicide, self-harm, unhealthy food, poor prison management...

Expecting father signed off from work with morning sickness (and grew breasts)

The days of fathers sitting in the waiting room with cigars and a hip flask are long gone but this father-to-be truly went the extra mile. As his fiancĂ©e progressed through his pregnancy, Harry Ashby starting suffering morning sickness and food cravings, and apparently began to develop breasts. Mr Ashby was diagnosed with Couvade syndrome which is where men experience the same pregnancy symptoms as their partner. The 29-year-old spoke of his experience: ‘I hated the feelings at first but now I think every man should go through it because it helps you understand what your missus is facing.’