Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Prison is not the Place for Autism - From a Mother

I have a son with autism and he too is in prison. 
His behaviour is compulsive and severe at times. 
The Judge in court said that he showed no remorse - well he wouldn't because he is autistic and sorry is just a word. He shows no empathy whatsoever. 
As a mother raising her son, I received very little help and support from the authorities. He was seen as being just plain naughty. 
Someone asked me last week if I thought my son should be in prison. I answered no because I strongly believe that he needs specialist help. I won't blame the prison and its staff because prison officers are prison officers - they do not specialise in autism and no doubt they do not have the volume of staff to support him one on one, not that he would want that in a prison environment! 
My son is in prison for fighting. Anyone who is on the receiving end of someone with autism will tell you that they have super-strength when the adrenaline kicks in. 
The routine and regime in prison would be fine for my son. He likes to know what time he is eating, showering and so forth. He is time conscious and regimented in many ways.
He doesn't have a great deal of sensory interests but he remembers everything. If you took my son somewhere he has never been before, he will remember the directions and tell you what motorway signs to follow the next time you go. He can read the TV guide once and will tell you what time and what channel a programme is on. He is extremely intelligent in so many areas.
I am in no way shape or form defending what he did. He really hurt someone. But prison is not the place for him. 

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Autism in Prison's - From a Worried Mum

There is a lot of focus on autism in our prison's in the UK.
My son is autistic and is in prison. 
As far as I am concerned, his needs are not being met. 
Do prison officers and probation officers alike know the traits and triggers of a person with autism? Is there training in this area and how are behaviour's managed? 
My son is autistic. Loud noises are enhanced and he will present behaviour's that challenge. The slamming of a door, the sudden noise of an alarm, shouting, screaming and crying will distress my son. 
Routine is a must, he has to know in advance what he is required to do because he needs time to process whatever is required of him.
He sometimes repeats sentences and people think he is being rude. He isn't, he has got autism. 
He has unusual sensory interests. He sniffs and smells objects, be it a table or the floor. Some people think he is weird. He isn't, he has got autism. 
My son has a strong like and dislike to certain foods based on the texture or colour as much as the taste. He isn't being awkward, far from it, the problem is he has autism. Do prison's and their staff attend to the needs of someone with autism? I would like to know how someone with autism in prison is treated and I would also like to know if their needs are met.
I was told that the prison has a duty of care for my son? 
Thank you. From a worried Mum. 

Life for Drug Dealers - From Anon

Hi, I don't want to give my name but I am the sister of an ex-prisoner who overdosed off heroin and died. 
In my opinion, drug dealers should be given life sentences. Families of drug users go through hell and back and the impact it has on them is devastating. 
I stood by my brother through thick and thin and had scum drug dealers knocking at my door demanding money. What turns my stomach is these bastards are still pushing their filthy drugs in to hands of teenagers today whilst my brother is 6 foot under. They go to prison and within hours of being released they are selling drugs again. 
I know some will say that it was my brothers choice and that is correct. But please research what heroin does to the human mind. 
Drug dealers rarely use it, they aren't stupid! 
My brother was a runner, he sold for the big shots who profited from devastating families and killing people. Yes, heroin kills people and yes, heroin is illegal. 
When the drug dealer finally got busted, I went to court. I saw his girlfriend crying and in tears because he was sent to prison. But why? She had all the designer clothes on and was carrying a top name handbag! She reaped the benefits too but played the victim. He didn't get a long prison sentence so she didn't have to wait too long for a new pair of Christian Louboutin shoes! 
I'll move on now to the word ''rehabilitation'' and that is exactly what it is, a word. 
A 25 year old lad in my town bought a house outright from money he made selling illegal drugs. He's been to prison a few times but he has no intention whatsoever of working in a factory packing toothpaste for £7.20 an hour. Why should he when he can make £7.20 a minute selling drugs? When he goes to prison he only serves short sentences so prison doesn't bother him and he picks up where he left off when he is released. He will tell you himself that what he does is an occupational hazard and there is no way he would work in a dead end factory job. He probably wouldn't even get a mortgage if he did! 
As for me, I work full time and I struggle to get by. I have a mortgage and I am in arrears with my council tax which has now gone to court. I live my life by the law book but it does me no favours.
People quote that ''you cannot beat the system''. Yes you can and there are people doing it every second of the day. Prison is just a place you go to if you get caught. From all accounts, prison is a place where you can now continue with your drug dealing business because I have read endless news articles about prison's being rife with drugs and mobile phones so it is simply just a relocation for the scum that sells it. 
My email may come across as embittered, but what do you expect.
My brother is dead and the dealers are still breathing. How is that justice? 




Woodhill prison : Family say 'no lessons learnt' after man's death



The family of a man who killed himself at a jail with the highest number of suicides in England and Wales say the prison has not "learned any lessons". HMP Woodhill in Milton Keynes had five suicides in 2015. Relatives of Kevin Scarlett, who killed himself in 2013, claim there were missed opportunities to prevent his death and "nothing has changed" since. Prison minister Andrew Selous MP said the jail launched a review into the way prisoners at risk were supported.A Prisons and Probation Ombudsman report into the death also highlighted a number of concerns at HMP Woodhill.Mr Selous said: "We make every effort to learn from each death."

No Incentive - By 'Katie'

Hello. I understand where the ex-offenders views are coming from.
I am a female and I am also an ex prisoner. I was in prison with one girl who is now out and was added on Facebook by her. A large thread started and it was like a prison reunion. Because of data protection I can't copy the thread, but only a minority said that they would never go back inside. From an outsider (non ex offender) looking in, the comments would have been outrageous. One girl said she missed everyone in New Hall! 
It was my first time in prison and although I hated every minute of it, I got through it and met some good people who looked out for me. In all honesty it was very doable and not a shock to the system as I thought it would be.
I am interested in how the new prison reform is going to pan out. 
As for rehabilitation, I agree that there is very little on offer but the first port of call is to rehabilitate yourself! You have to want to make changes to your life. No one is going to wave a magic wand allowing you to live a normal life. 
I live on a large estate and I would say that every other house and those living in the households are using drugs whether it be weed or the hard stuff. 
The kids are living like their parents and their parents are drug users and unemployed. Much of a case of, monkey see, monkey do. 
Another girl I met in prison, her Mother had been released from the same nick 12 months previously. 
Society is screwed. It is a screwed up mess and the Government are giving no one the incentive to work and make something of themselves. 
I work full time and my wage is around 1,000 a month. My friend gets the same but she is on benefits. If I lost my job tomorrow, I would be around £18.00 per week worse off, but I would get housing and council tax benefit which would level it out, so technically I would be better off sat on my arse at home all day. This is the depression and mind set the Government have put people in. 
I started using drugs when I was 25. I sold my soul for a tenner bag of gear and prison was my wake-up call. I became clean and my mind unscrambled all the emotions and feelings that heroin wiped away when I was using it. I haven't looked back but every day I am in recovery and will remain so for the rest of my life. 
As I said before, I live on an estate that is rife with drugs so temptation is there every day. 
What the prison system and probation need to understand is, when someone is released from prison, they are released back in to a society that functions off drugs. 

Monday, 23 May 2016

Prison Profit - Written by Andrew

I would like to comment on what ex-offender had to say about the prison system. 
Well it is a bloody joke isn't it! 
I've been to prison and whilst not a political prisoner, it does not take a genius to see the flaws.
I'm not a drug user but was offered a good variety of them. I almost got bullied in to buying some but I stood my ground. Others fell in to the trap and the chase begins. Lads start sending out begging letters to their families and phone calls become not "how are you and the kids" but "please can you send me some money for toiletries" etc etc etc. 
The drug culture in prison is scandalous. But if they rid the drugs, there are better chances of prisoner rehabilitation. Ah but hold on to your horses, the system does not want one trick ponies, they want bums on beds which = money! 
I read an article last week about prison's being awash with drugs, especially legal highs, which have now become illegal, but easy to make yourself at home. Legal highs have killed people, they have taken lives of youngsters who experimented the shit for the first time - and their last.
The UK needs junkies, dealers and working girls to make a butty! Without them the revolving doors jam and 'rehabilitation' becomes somewhat of a reality. A glimmer of hope.
Everyday crimes such as theft, burglary, armed robbery and prostitution are nine times out of ten drug related offences. Drug addicts will flog a 50 inch TV for pittance just to mash their veins with all sorts of toxins. But the drug addicts keep the criminal justice system ticking over nicely. 
Why haven't the poppy farms been destroyed? It's a war-torn world yet the opium slithers it's way in to the UK like a snake in the wild. 
The world wants rid of leaders like Osama-Bin-Laden but no one mentions the poppy cultivation that is crippling the UK, America and other European countries. Google drug documentaries on You Tube and you will see who, apart from the killer drug dealers, is making a nice wedge out of our street junkies.
Prison's want people to go back. I totally agree that the UK criminal justice system is a profit making merry-go-round. 
When I go to my GP's, he advises me to stop smoking. It's bad for my health. 
When my wife goes to her GP, he suggests she stops eating certain foods that will cause high cholesterol. 
When I once took my son to see his GP, the Doctor did not advise my son to stop using heroin. Instead he referred him to a drugs clinic where they pumped his body with methadone that seeps in to the bones and is harder to detox from than heroin itself! 
My next door neighbour though, an alcoholic, receives a benefit supplement for being a piss-head - but hang fire, alcohol destroys the liver and the brain. Alcohol induced dementia is a growing concern in the UK but the Government give extra hand outs for you to kill yourself. 
The prison system is money spinner. Offenders have families too and offenders families buy their loved ones drinks, snacks, clothing, toiletries, phone credit, and whatever else is on offer. 
It is there in front of your eyes - the more junkies the better - the more crime the better because off the back of a criminal is a nice little earner. 

Sunday, 22 May 2016

From EX-Prolific Offender



Hi Prison Widow. 

I was, still am, an addict, although been clean now for just over 7 months. 
I have put my family through hell and back and have spent a lot of time in HMP. My convictions were mainly drug related and I sold drugs to feed my addiction. I begged, borrowed and stole off my nearest and dearest and time and time again they supported me throughout every prison sentence - bar from the last one. My girlfriend and Mum washed their hands and I did not blame them. But I started writing to women pen-pals and they funded my addiction whilst I was locked up. It is shameful and disgusting but do not be surprised - because that's what addicts do. We lie and tell the most convincing pile of shit to get our fix!
I was released from prison in October 2015 and my family told me in no uncertain terms that I have to be 12 months clean before they will even entertain me. I get it, I really do get it. 
The worst thing they could have done was keep me going by sending me money when I was in HMP. But families feel obliged when you are locked up and addicts need their drugs. 
My personal view is: The prison system need to put their foot down. It's too soft and this is coming from an ex prolific offender! 
Prison issue clothes should be worn instead of HMP running a fashion show. 
Yeah there are human rights to consider but the system has gone to the dogs. 
People aren't bothered about going to prison; otherwise people would not go back and believe me; I have been in HMP many times and have seen the same faces come and go. 
Prison used to be a place of shame but if you stop anyone in the street these days; the majority of people you speak to know someone who is either in prison or have been in prison. The stigma is slowly subsiding and it is becoming the norm. It isn't and should not be the norm. 
When I was in active addiction, I could not have cared less if I was nicked. It didn't enter my head because all I was bothered about was getting my fix and so what, I could get my hands on it in prison anyway - not as much as on the out - but I could get a toot or a smoke. 
The system is not a robust one and it is not robust because prison is a business. There is money involved - what would the professionals do if criminals and junkies were rehabilitated? Who would pay your bills Mr Probation Officer? Who would put food on your table Mrs Prison Officer? How could you afford a car and a holiday Mr Social Worker? And who would pay your mortgage Miss Barrister? I rest my case. 


Saturday, 21 May 2016

Inside Wandsworth Prison: BBC finds prisoners in crisis



The BBC has been given exclusive access inside Wandsworth Prison for one week. The first report by correspondent Ed Thomas, cameraman Tony Dolce and producer Noel Titheradge, revealed drug abuse, violence, corruption and overcrowding.In their second report, they examine the state of mental health, with rates of self-harming and suicide increasing by a quarter on last year.

How Do Families Reduce Re-Offending?



Supportive families of prisoners can reduce re-offending? And what about the prisoners with a substance abuse problem? In addition to that; how do we support a loved one in prison when the prison's are awash with legal highs and other addictive substances? 
How do supportive families reduce re-offending? 
When I send money in to a prisoner for telephone credit so he can ring his family; how do I know if that money is purely spent wisely - and I mean wisely in the sense of phone credit and essentials from the prison canteen? 
The problem I have is; if a loved one is an addict; by me sending money in; is only enabling the prisoner to pay for drugs inside. 
The fairy-tale is wonderful; man comes out of prison completely clean of drugs, gets a great job and becomes Dad of the year. It's a fabulous ending to a prison journey - but how many inspirational endings are there?
Maybe I will receive an endless flow of emails and stories that would prove me wrong - I shall wait for them. 
I was talking to a lady who had the success story. She supported her partner for 8 years and he was 4 years clean off drugs. He was doing remarkably well; had a job, a nice home to live in and bonded well with his children when he was released from prison. A few months ago he relapsed and has lost everything again. 
His partner is devastated, his children are confused and the road he is walking on has a prison at the end of it. 
Will his partner support him all over again if he inevitably goes back to jail? 
Right now, her answer is no, because a drug addict, especially those using class A drugs, usually relapse time and time again. It is exhausting being around an addict and it is mentally draining being their 'carer' whilst they serve a prison sentence.
It's all to easy and flippant for the government to say families are the key to reducing re-offending. It's a load of misleading crap. 
There is no doubt there are success stories, I have read a few myself, but the success stories involve ex-prisoners who aren't drug addicts. 
We need to evolve here and say - Supporting prisoners families with a loved-one/drug addict who is serving time in prison. 
The only time you can support an ex-offender/addict upon release is if they go straight to rehab. 

Five HMP Highpoint guards taken hostage by prisoner



Five prison officers were taken hostage at a Suffolk jail by an inmate wielding a twin-bladed weapon, it has emerged. The stand-off at HMP Highpoint on 12 May came the day after a second hostage incident at the same prison and an inmate attack with a bladed toilet brush in Staffordshire. The first - which took place on 11 May - involved a prisoner taken hostage inside a cell.Both episodes, which ended without injury, are now under investigation.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Prison Rehabilitation? - From Anonymous Reader



I read, guest blogger's post and felt the need to reply. 
I was married to an heroin addict for 14 years and in those 14 years I have visited endless prison's with him inside them.
Every time he went to prison, he vowed that he had "had enough" and that he wanted to change his life... It never happened and I went above and beyond to support him. 
Two years ago I kicked his butt to the kerb because enough was enough. I washed my hands because as much as people quote that it is important to support a loved one who has been or is in prison, we have to look after ourselves too and in the latter part of our relationship; the situation made me ill. I was miserable and I had let myself go. It was as if heroin took over my life and I wasn't even a user of it! 
As for rehabilitation; it's bull-crap! Every prison and probation office in this country can quote rehabilitation but rehabilitation, education and all the things associated with turning one's life around cannot and will never ever compete with a brown disgusting evil powder called heroin.
Those who deal should be given a life sentence and that is my opinion.
The drug is to powerful and I agree politicians should be reading up on it because you cannot beat it. I know of just 2 people who are in life-time recovery from heroin but deaths from this drug far outweigh the fairy-tale endings of kicking the habit. 

Bolton MP and former barrister Yasmin Qureshi welcomes Government plan to shake-up prison system

PICTURE AND SOURCE: BOLTON NEWS 


BOLTON MP and former barrister Yasmin Qureshi has welcomed Government plans to overhaul the prison system in the UK. During the Queen's Speech at the state opening of Parliament, Her Majesty outlined Government proposals for major reforms.The Prison and Courts Reform Bill could lead to satellite-tagged inmates being sent home on weekdays and re-offending league tables being published.New 'reform' prisoners could be opened, with emphasis on training, rehabilitation and education.

COMMENT: and perhaps Yasmin Qureshi can welcome a crack-down on drugs in Bolton too? Disappointed Mrs Qureshi that you don't reply to issues raised about rehabilitation and crime in your own town of Bolton!

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Queen's Speech: Prison shake-up at heart of new laws

SOURCE BBC NEWS 



The government's planned new laws have been set out by the Queen - including the biggest prison shake-up in England and Wales "since Victorian times". Satellite-tagged inmates could be sent home on weekdays and re-offending league tables will be published. The 21-Bill agenda also includes support for a spaceport and driverless cars - but a planned British Bill of Rights has been put on hold.David Cameron called it "a One Nation speech from a One Nation government".

Families Cannot Control Re-Offending - By Guest Blog Writer

By Guest Blogger 

                                                       
Drugs, prison, death, that's pretty much the order if you use class A drugs. 
My partner died of an heroin overdose - inevitable but devastating nonetheless. 
During the last 18 months of his life, I went NC, (No contact)
I finally had my awakening and realised that I was enabling his addiction so I packed his bags and asked him to leave - to save my own sanity! 
He was in active addiction and no matter how much I tried, the time came when I finally woke up and faced the facts - I couldn't control it and I couldn't cure him. 
I spent the best part of 8 years travelling from prison to prison and standing by him, but no amount of maintaining family ties could beat heroin. The drug over-rides everything. 
The Government appear to be deluded - they quote that family support reduces re-offending? Perhaps for some, yes, but those addicted to heroin will always choose their drug before their family. Always. 
So looking at the 'reducing re-offending' and how families allegedly play a part in it; how is this really possible? It isn't. If the Government take a step back and look in to the effects of heroin and what damage the drug does; it is insulting to be told that good supporting families are the key to reducing re-offending. It is a load of old baloney - and then some! 
I would like to hear off families who agree with me or can offer their opinions on what I have written.

PLEASE EMAIL: widow@prisonwidow.co.uk 





Monday, 2 May 2016

Synthetic Cannabis 'Devastating' Prisons



Synthetic cannabis is having a "devastating" effect in UK jails, contributing to deaths, self-harm and serious illness, the chief inspector of prisons has said.
The man-made drug, often known as Spice or Black Mamba, mimics the effects of cannabis but is produced in illegal labs from a cocktail of chemicals and can be dozens of times stronger.
Jails are "awash" with the substance, according to the Prison Officers Association (POA), with reports of stashes of the drug being dropped by drone or thrown over walls, and prison officers attacked by high inmates.
Peter Clarke, chief inspector of prisons, said violence and bullying are increasing as addicted inmates get into debt with dealers.
It is "getting worse, not better", Mr Clarke told the Guardian.
"Prison staff have told me that the effect on individuals and prisons as a whole is unlike anything they have seen before."

Friday, 29 April 2016

Dementia in Prison's



The disease is close to my heart because in 2014 my great-uncle succumbed to the disease after complications brought on by Lewy body dementia. Prisoners with dementia are a topic I think about a lot. But on the flip side, I have met a number of family members with dementia who have a loved one serving time in prison. In 2014 I supported a lady with Alzheimer’s. Her daughter was and still is serving a lengthy prison sentence. Ann (although this is not her real name) did visit her daughter. It was difficult because the prison officers didn’t understand her sudden outbursts or choice of language sometimes.
Dementia can force people into self-consciousness in which they are unable to act in a relaxed and natural way. It is one of the many undignified symptoms of this ghastly illness. Ann’s husband didn’t want to make a fuss during visits so they sat in the visiting hall with the rest of the prisoners and their families. Ann has a large family but since she was diagnosed with dementia, children crying or screaming distressed her. She also enjoyed an active social life and sang in pubs and clubs. But dementia doesn’t like noisy environments so Ann would often feel unsettled and would bang the table. She had been a calm and placid individual throughout her life but dementia caused her to present challenging behaviour sometimes.
I practice a one-to-one person centred approach and I find out as much as I possibly can about a person I support with dementia. I compile life story work for support workers and other professionals which helps them greatly to get to know the individual in their care. Ann had a life story book but her husband informed me that he wasn’t allowed to take this in on a visit. I couldn’t understand why because over the years I have witnessed hundreds of Dads reading books to their children on visits. It promotes interaction and maintains the bond between father and child/mother and child.
Prisoner’s families’ charities and organisations passionately campaign about the benefits of maintaining family ties. But, what about Ann? One afternoon during a prison visit, Ann looked at her daughter and said, “Who’s that”? Her daughter returned back to her cell devastated.
Her health deteriorated and she never went to see her daughter again. But she knew she had a daughter. You see, her life story book jogged Ann’s precious memories and photographs brought a sparkle back into her eyes. She had a daughter who was three years of age. Not 28. She even remembered her name and asked where she was. Meanwhile Ann’s daughter was sat cooped up in a cell with the impression that her mother had forgotten her.
Flipping the coin back again, prisoners with dementia may experience exactly the same. When I first started working on a dementia unit; I thought I would be supporting elderly people – wrong! Ladies and gentlemen between the ages of 40-60 with Alzheimer’s/dementia stayed for respite. Some had drugs and alcohol induced dementia (Korsakoff Syndrome). When I first started supporting people with dementia, I was unaware of the many symptoms that came with it.
One gentleman who carried a picture of his wife repeatedly asked me where she was. Each time I told him softly that she had passed away. Little did I know that every time I answered his question, he would grieve over and over like it was the first time someone had told him his wife had gone. Cruel? Yes but certainly not intentional which is why I enrolled on training and
dementia awareness courses. I specialise now in reminiscence and life story work.
The prison estate needs to be more understanding not just with prisoners with dementia, but those with the disease visiting their loved ones also. This of course will come down to extra bodies and funding. If Ann had the opportunity to reminisce with her daughter with life story work in a quiet environment, perhaps her daughter would now have the peace of mind that her mother knew she absolutely existed; even if her existence was that of a three year old little girl once upon a time.
Alison Henderson is an expert by experience

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Hit the Road Smack

                                     http://prisonwidowuk.blogspot.co.uk/?view=magazine




Dementia in Prisons



 For five years I have worked as a coordinator delivering age-appropriate and meaningful activities for individuals with dementia.  The disease is close to my heart because in 2014 my great-uncle succumbed to the disease after complications brought on by Lewy body dementia.  Prisoners with dementia are a topic I think about a lot. But on the flip side, I have met a number of family members with dementia who have a loved one serving time in prison.  In 2014 I supported a lady with Alzheimer’s. Her daughter was and still is serving a lengthy prison sentence.  Ann (although this is not her real name) did visit her daughter. It was difficult because the prison officers didn’t understand her sudden outbursts or choice of language sometimes.

Dementia can force people in to self-consciousness in which they are unable to act in a relaxed and natural way. It is one of the many undignified symptoms of this ghastly illness.  Ann’s husband didn’t want to make a fuss during visits so they sat in visiting hall with the rest of the prisoners and their families. Ann has a large family but since she was diagnosed with dementia, children crying or screaming distressed her.  Ann also enjoyed an active social life and sang in pubs and clubs. But dementia doesn’t like noisy environments so Ann would often feel unsettled and would bang the table. Ann had been a calm and placid individual throughout her life but dementia caused her to present challenging behaviour sometimes.  I practice a one-to-one person centred approach and I find out as much as I possibly can about a person I support with dementia. I compile life story work for support workers and other professionals which help them greatly to get to know the individual in their care.  Ann had a life story book but her husband informed me that he wasn’t allowed to take this in on a visit. I couldn’t understand why because over the years I have witnessed hundreds of Dad’s reading books to their children on visits. It promotes interaction and maintains the bond between father and child/mother and child.

Prisoner’s families’ charities and organisations passionately campaign about the benefits of maintaining family ties.  But, what about Ann? One afternoon during a prison visit, Ann looked at her daughter and said, “Who’s that”?  Her daughter returned back to her cell devastated.  Ann’s health deteriorated and she never went to see her daughter again. But she knew she had a daughter. You see, her life story book jogged Ann’s precious memories and photographs brought a sparkle back in to her eyes. Ann had a daughter who was three years of age. Not 28. She even remembered her name and asked where she was. Meanwhile Ann’s daughter was sat cooped up in a cell with the impression that her mother has forgotten her.  Flipping the coin back again, prisoners with dementia may experience exactly the same.  When I first started working on a dementia unit; I thought I would be supporting elderly people – wrong! Ladies and Gentleman between the ages of 40-60 with Alzheimer’s/dementia stayed for rest-bite. Some had drugs and alcohol induced dementia. (Korsakoff Syndrome)  When I first started supporting people with dementia, I was unaware of the many symptoms that came with it.
One gentleman who carried a picture of his wife repeatedly asked me where she was. Each time I told him softly that she had passed away. Little did I know that every time I answered his question, he would grieve over and over like it was the first time someone had told him his wife had gone. Cruel? Yes but certainly not intentional which is why I enrolled on training and dementia awareness courses.  I specialise now in reminiscence and life story work. The prison estate needs to be more understanding not just with prisoners with dementia, but those with the disease visiting their loved ones also.  This of course will come down to extra bodies and funding.  If Ann had the opportunity to reminisce with her daughter with life story work in a quiet environment, perhaps her daughter would now have the peace of mind that her mother knew she absolutely existed; even if her existence was that of a three year old little girl- once upon a time.

Alison Henderson

Thursday, 4 December 2014

To Tell The Truth? - From 'Amanda'

My partner has recently been sent to prison and our ten year old daughter thinks he is working away. 
The other morning before she went to school she asked me if her dad was in prison because one of her friends told her that their mum had told them to stop playing with her because her dad was a scumbag and that he was in prison.
I have had to tell my daughter the truth and she is devastated. She hasn't spoken to me in three days and shuts herself in her bedroom when she comes in from school.
I feel so guilty lying to her but I tried to protect her. Her dad got involved in a fight and was sent to prison on a section 18 charge.
The day he appeared in the local paper I kept our daughter off school so that she wouldn't catch a glimpse of the newspaper in the local shop we stop at on our way to school. If that was wrong then it was wrong but I wanted to protect her.
I have ended up ringing the school and telling them about her dad and they have been quite supportive and helpful. I hope she doesn't get bullied and now I am worried to death about her because she has taken this very badly. I know there are other families in this situation because I have read other very similar stories but it still worries me. I know there isn't much advice you can give me but nevertheless I wanted to share what I am going through and just hope that things get better in time. Thanks PFV :-) 

Leave The Families Out Of It - From Anon

Hi. I am not sure where to start...
My Brother is in prison and my Mum is at breaking point. Since he was sent to jail 6 months ago she has been having massive panic attacks and has become withdrawn and stopped taking pride in her appearance which is just not like my Mum. 
The other week she got a nasty letter through the post which we presume is off someone who knew the victim involved in the crime my Brother committed. The letter was hostile and contained some strong offensive language.
The victim survived but was badly injured and I accept the anger. What I don't accept is the hate directed at my Mum! She has done absolutely nothing wrong! If the victims family members or friends want to have their say then they should be writing to my Brother asking him questions not my Mum because my Mum cannot simply explain why my Brother did what he did! To be very honest I am sick of reading about prisoners families who are targeted because of their loved ones actions. My Mum has never broken the law and has worked hard all her life and paid her taxes like every other law abiding citizen. I too have never broken the law but my Brother did which is nothing whatsoever to do with Mum and I. I have been a victim of serious crime myself so I can understand some of the pain, but to aim anger at innocent individuals is plain bang out of order. 

Prison UK: An Insider's View: HMP Humber: a ‘Riot’ or just a ‘Disturbance’?

Prison UK: An Insider's View: HMP Humber: a ‘Riot’ or just a ‘Disturbance’?: Back in July this blog carried a post entitled Weasel Words (1): Prison ‘Disturbances’ . In it I analysed the way in which the Ministry of ...

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Prison Widow - BBC Radio 5 Interview



PRISON WIDOW LIVE ON AIR TOMORROW ON BBC RADIO 5 BREAKFAST SHOW TALKING ABOUT PRISON PEN PALS AND CHARLES MANSON'S FORTHCOMING MARRIAGE.

Prison Mail Ideas - From Leanne

Hello guys! My man is in prison and sometimes I run out of ideas on what to write. I would like to share with your readers what I do. There is a great make your own printable word search puzzle online that you can do. You can even make it a bit cheeky if you want! I make my man one every few weeks or so and it is a laugh creating one and he loves them! 
Here's the link:

WORD SEARCH CREATOR 

Jon's Jail Journal (by Shaun Attwood): Book Giveaway

Jon's Jail Journal (by Shaun Attwood): Book Giveaway: Here are six ways to get a free copy of my latest book, Hard Time 2nd Edition . 1 Enter this Goodreads Giveaway to win a signed copy. ...

Heroin Destroys Families - From Beth

Dear Sir or Madam. I would like to reply to the person who wrote in to your site about losing her brother to an heroin overdose.
My ex partner of ten years is an heroin addict and has been in prison many times.
He always promised me that he would come off the gear but it never happened. Obviously he didn't want too!
Being with an heroin addict is a nightmare. 
I felt embarrassed walking down the street with him and all my neighbours knew he was a druggie. I work full time and have never taken drugs so being with someone who was an addict was indescribable. He wasn't a bad person and I know he stole off me and others to fund his habit, but I had had enough and walked away from him. 
As far as I know he is back in prison again and I doubt he will ever come off drugs. He is 44 years of age so his future doesn't look too bright. Can I just say to the person who wrote in about her brother that they should not blame themselves for walking away. It is awful living with someone addicted to this disgusting drug. The stress it causes innocent families is extreme to the point of breakdown. If I could give this person a hug I would because I have experienced living with a drug addict and it is just awful beyond belief. 
I am sorry for the families grief but people on drugs make their own decision to screw their lives up and their loved ones lives too. From Beth. 

Charles Manson Gets Licence To Wed 26-Year-Old


Charles Manson has obtained a marriage licence to tie the knot with a 26-year-old woman who visits him in prison. It was not immediately clear if the 80-year-old mass murderer had set an exact date to marry Afton Elaine Burton, who runs a number of websites claiming he is innocent. A copy of the marriage licence, issued on 7 November, was seen by the AP news agency on Monday. Ms Burton moved to Corcoran, California, nine years ago to be near Manson who is being held at Corcoran State Prison.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Missing Prison Widow - From HMP Garth

Dear Prisoners Families Voices.
I am a prisoners wife and I send my husband print outs of your blog in prison and it gets passed around and the other lads read it.
My husbands name is Steve and he has sent a message with me to say that all the lads in prison are missing Prison Widow and her articles so can you please write them a special edition and publish it on your blog site so that I can print it out. This by the way is from the guys down in HMP Garth! 
Lots of love and hugs from Julie wife of Steve. 

COMMENT: Prison Widow will publish a special Christmas printable edition for you Julie and your husband! 

Heroin and Prison - From Anonymous Family Member

My brother was in prison for drugs offences and he was an addict too addicted to heroin.
Me and my Mum couldn't cope with his prison sentences and his drug habit because he was stealing from us all the time and put us through hell. The only thing we could do is walk away from him because he had been in prison 5 times and every time he came out of prison he would come home and make our lives hell. Anyway he went to prison last year and sorted himself out and did very well in the drugs rehab part of the prison. 
As soon as he was released he went and bought some heroin and injected it. He died instantly.
The pain and grief me and Mum are going through is unbearable because we feel guilty that for a time we turned our backs. Please if anyone has been through this could you write in to the blog. Please don't publish my name. Thank you Editor. 

Prison UK: An Insider's View: A Life-Shaped Hole

Prison UK: An Insider's View: A Life-Shaped Hole: Although I’ve known a number of people who have died – some of them at their own hand in prison – the recent death of my father has been th...

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Jon's Jail Journal (by Shaun Attwood): Recent Interview on Sky TV

Jon's Jail Journal (by Shaun Attwood): Recent Interview on Sky TV

Offenders Explaining Gaps In Their CV's? - From Ex Prisoner

Good day!
I have recently been released from prison.
My wife stood by me throughout my sentence and I will be eternally grateful for her support. 
We have a 12 year old daughter together.
I have been out now for three months.
I feel that I cannot settle and my wife is on my case to get a job every day.
I have tried and tried and then tried some more sending vast amounts of job applications off and haven't yet had one interview.
My wife knows this has I show her my applications online and what I have applied for.
We are arguing constantly and this is not good for our daughter.
Yes I did wrong and served my time but my wife will not let me forget it and this is preventing me from moving on. Every time I go to probation she insists on driving me there because she says she doesn't trust me to attend my appointments. 
I do want to turn my life around more than anything but after serving nearly 7 years I can't turn it around immediately especially after just 12 weeks. My CV is also another issue because how do I explain the gaps in it? 

Dad's A Lifer - From 'Paul'

Hi PFV. I have been a follower of your blog for quite some time now. I am a 19 year old Uni student and my Father is a lifer serving his sentence in the UK.
He was sent to prison when I was 10 years old and I cannot begin to tell you how my life was then. 
I was bullied at school, lost all my pals, me and my Mother moved areas at least five times because of harassment from both the public and the press and all in all, I grew up a lonely lad. 
If anyone knows what it is like growing up with a parent in prison and overcoming the obstacles that crime inflicts on children of prisoners it is me!
Of course we cannot forget the real victims of crime because they too serve a life sentence and I cannot even begin to imagine their pain. When I was 10 years old, I did not fully understand. All I knew was that my Father did something terribly wrong and that he went to prison. My family tried to protect me from the full story of what happened and looking back they did the right thing in my opinion.
As I said, I am 19 now and have changed my surname by deed pole to try and move on. 
My Mother has since re-married and for once in her life is content and I am happy for her, she deserves the happiness after what she went through. 
My opinion on the public who think that offenders families are cut from the same cloth is one of astonishment. I was spat at in the street at 10 years of age by grown adult women because of what my Father did. What innocent 10 year old deserves that? I wasn't asked to be born nor was I responsible for what my Father did. 
My address was published in the newspaper when my Father was arrested and charged. Imagine how that made me and my Mother felt about that? There were of course consequences surrounding the press's decision to do just that because bricks and windows don't exactly make good combinations when used in temper and anger! 
I still have my moments of depression not because my Father is in prison, but because of the flashbacks of what a 10 year old child shouldn't go through. I know what children of prisoners go through and trust me, absolutely more should be done to support them.
Please with hold my email address and name and please keep up with the excellent work you do to raise awareness. 

Prison Communication Statement

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has revealed that confidential conversations between prisoners and MPs may have been taped and listened to by prison staff as part of routine monitoring of prisoner communications between 2006 and 2012. During the statement he said: an investigation into the recording of telephone calls between prisoners and their constituency MPs and lawyers will be launched that calls between at least 32 current MPs and prisoners had taken place, though he was unsure of the figure for previous MPs; the most recent was between a prisoner and his constituency MP Justice Minister Simon Hughesa small number of calls between prisoners and their lawyers had also "accidently" been recordedhe was sorry for the lapse.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Christmas Ideas With Felt


Think Before You Comment - From Anonymous Family Member

My brother has recently been sentenced and will be spending a while in prison. I don't want to go in to why he is in prison because it distresses our family.
The person it has hit the hardest is our Mother who is in her 80's and is frail at the moment.
Her son was her blue-eyed boy and now she looks upon him as being dead because she will never see him again. She cannot travel to the prison due to ill health and God bless her I cannot see her being with us when he is finally released from prison. I know I shouldn't talk this way but we have to face facts and that is basically the top and bottom of it.
My Mother used to go to an OAP afternoon group just to get out of the house and mingle with others over a cup of afternoon tea and scones. She could only manage an hour but at least she managed an hour and socialized with others. The community centre is literally just around the corner from where Mother lives so it was a handy resource. 
Since my Brother has been sentenced and his crime in the local newspaper, Mum refuses to go to the OAP afternoon because she is too ashamed to go. I feel like my Brother through his selfish actions has denied Mum the last little bit of independence she had! 
Whether anyone likes it or not, he is to blame for putting Mum in this situation and this has affected her badly. I am fully aware that the victims of crime are those who are in the forefront of being affected and I am so sorry for anyone who has to go through the pain and heartache, but there are also other pairs of shoes out here that no one wants to tread either which are those of prisoners families who did not ask their family members to go and commit crime yet we are frowned upon like we too are criminals. A lot of people blame criminal behaviour on upbringing. In some cases that maybe so but in many other cases there are criminals who have had excellent upbringings so please think about it and don't judge before you know the full story. 
Thank you so much for listening and I would appreciate it if my name is kept private. 

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Prisons and a Death in the Family

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Prisons and a Death in the Family: When you are in prison, one of the most difficult things to have to cope with is the death of a close family member or loved one. By its ver...