Thursday, 21 August 2014

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Perils and Pitfalls of Life After Prison

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Perils and Pitfalls of Life After Prison: Many people assume that prisoners look forward to their day of release like a kid anticipating Christmas or their birthday. Of course some ...

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

On Probation Blog: Getting Involved

On Probation Blog: Getting Involved: It's been suggested that I mention the Napo  Lobby  of Parliament being organised for 3rd September:- Critical Lobby of Parliament –...

Monday, 18 August 2014

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Uniformity and Institutionalisation

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Uniformity and Institutionalisation: I was recently asked what it felt like to have had to wear a prison uniform when I was a prisoner. It’s a complex question to answer, but I...

Making Progress - Written by Tracey

Dear Anonymous, I read your post today and wanted to offer a drop of comfort to you in this, a very difficult situation. I have experienced the CJS as a woman and my children refuse to have anything to do with me. It is very painful, but all I can do as a parent is take a step back and wait for them to come to terms with their feelings around this area. Admittedly, there was a long estrangement prior to my entry in to the CJS. However, the sum of my life as it is today has been tough. But at the age of 46, I have come to terms with my crime. It is with this experience, I offer you some words of comfort (I hope) in order you come through this dufficult time without becoming a casualty of torn loyalties. Your husband is to expect that some people may not be able to face him on his release and you can offer him support by linking him in with support services so he does not end up homeless. What many peopke fail to remember when they bay for those with the long arm of Regina pointing at them, is that families serve a sentence too. Your daughter is suffering and she must come first here. Your husband will survive and he will find his way. You come across as very sensible and trying to please everyone. But you cannot. Your husband has to make amends to your daughters and only when they are ready. He has to see this. One of the hardest aspects of being in the hands of the justice system, is facing the pain we have caused to our families and loved ones. If your daughters see that you are allowing and supporting them to come to terms with their feelings, then you may find they may be willing to follow your lead. Do not take on his battles and alienate your family in doing so. Part of desistance is the developing of a conscience and this is something no court, prison judge or probation officer can help us to do. Regardless of the mitigating circumstances around a crime, if we have been found guilty we have to accept and take those consequences. No matter the pain I was in, I had no right to do the things I did and hurt those I love. I have managed to move forward and while still estranged from my children, i am able to accept it has to be their decision to allow me to make amends. And when they do, I am able to openly and candidly answer their questions. I can do this knowing I have paid the price and come through. Which I have. I have all the time in the world to wait for them and be it next week, next month, or next year, I love them enough to give them this space. I wanted to reach out to you, from the 'other side' and hope this helps. You're in a very difficult position and in the middle of this. You do not deserve to suffer any longer and face the wrath of angry people because he has done wrong. He has to do that. You can offer him support, by all means, but do not own his crime, it is his. He must make the amends to his family now when they are ready. He has served his time to society, and in many ways, he now must serve his time with his family. I am still doing so even though I have made great progress. It is all part of a process. I hope and wish for a better future for you all. Warmly & best, Tracey.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Grayling Accused Of 'Murdering The Probation Service.'

Chris Grayling is accused of 'murdering the probation service' 

 Colleagues and friends of a probation services officer who took her own life last month believe that government reforms to the service were a "contributing factor" to her death. Sarah Kane, who became a probation services officer in 1999, died last month aged 49. Her self-written eulogy, read out at her funeral, accused the Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, of having "murdered the probation service" through his much-criticised reforms. In the eulogy, a copy of which has been seen by The Independent on Sunday, Ms Kane wrote: "A trouble-making Sarah would have delighted in calling Chris Grayling a murderer, he's certainly murdered the probation service. But hey, let's face it, Chrisso will continue safe and sound in his ivory tower breaking stuff that didn't need fixing beyond repair. Shame some of that stuff was the probation service now left reeling from his incompetent bumbling."

Murder Suspect Released From Prison By Mistake

An inquiry is under way after a man awaiting trial for murder was released from jail by mistake, despite protesting to prison officers that he was supposed to be on his way to court.

Release Is Harder To Cope With - By Casey

Hi PFV. Can I just say to the lady who has written in about being torn between her daughter and husband, I have been through something similar.
My husband was released last year and our 16 year old daughter and 18 year old son completely turned their back on their Dad. Every time I visited him in prison I used to come home and both of them wouldn't speak to me. The atmosphere was really awful so I sympathize with the lady.
It was suggested that as a family we tried counselling but they point blank refused. My kids said that their Dad had caused them great embarrassment at school when he was arrested because he was in the newspaper and other kids taunted them at school. My son got the brunt of it more and started drinking quite heavily. Thankfully now he has got help to address his alcohol issues. People don't understand how prison affects families. The trauma can still continue when someone is released from prison yet not many organisations concentrate on this issue as it always seems to be focused on sentencing and coping through a prison sentence. To be honest I think release is the hardest if in a family environment. I would like to say to the lady that she isn't alone and I should imagine there are quite a few families who have been through the same thing. I hope everything works out for her. Love Casey. 

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Mr Grayling: Deckchairs on the MOJ Titanic

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Mr Grayling: Deckchairs on the MOJ Titanic: It is perhaps appropriate that Chris Grayling, the British politician who is so fond of the idea of ‘cracking down’ on prisoners, has found ...

The Strain of Prison Release - By Anonymous

My husband is about to be released from prison in September and our daughter does not want him back home because she cannot forgive him.
We lost our home when he was convicted and it has been a very difficult 8 years to say the least.
I can't see my husband on the streets but all my family are siding with my daughter which is causing lots of arguments as you can imagine. Our daughter didn't visit her Dad once whilst he was in prison and they haven't seen each other for over 4 years. She refused to speak to him on the phone and she ripped up every letter her Dad sent her. I couldn't force her to communicate with her Dad but I am dreading him coming home. My daughter said she will move out but I have a good relationship with her and don't want to lose contact with her because she has been my rock. I am depressed, at my wits end and do not know where to turn. Can anyone give me some advice? Thanks. 

Prisoners Film Tunnel Jail Break On Phone

Gloating prisoners who dug a tunnel from their prison cell filmed their escape on a mobile phone and posted the pictures online. Thirteen prisoners in Brazil managed to make a run for it in Rio Verde, Goias state. The prison guard on duty has been suspended for not rumbling the inmates' subterranean plot.Police deputy Jaqueline Camargo Machado admitted the prisoners' cell had not been inspected for a while.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Birthday Shout Out To Karl

It's a happy birthday to Karl, with a kicking K, who celebrates his 40th birthday tomorrow (17th Aug)
this is with love from Hannah (Karl's bride to be) and their daughter Olivia. Hannah tells us that Karl is always reading our blog, so have a great day pal and all the best from us here at PFV!
Hannah also told us you are a Kurt Cobain fan so here you have it!

Friday, 15 August 2014

On Probation Blog: Manchester - What Crisis?

On Probation Blog: Manchester - What Crisis?: Judging by these two blog posts on behalf of the Chief in Manchester, you'd never guess there was any problem at all! I guess that's...

I want my Dad in prison, not in a British care home - By Prison Widow UK

Yesterday was an interesting day for me.
I met up with an old pal of mine who just so happens to be a prison officer. Shock horror, I know, what is Prison Widow doing associating with a screw? She's a genuine pleasant person who has in fact helped many prisoners.
Over a coffee and a Big Mac, very classy but needed, we spoke about her father who has just moved in to a care home here in the UK. As she stirred her coffee, she suddenly looked at me and said, "I would rather my Dad be in prison than where he is now." Don't shoot the messenger, this came from her own mouth. I have worked in a care home, a badly run one, so there's nothing I don't know about certain things that go on in those places. I asked her why she would prefer her Dad in prison.
She simply said this, "There were just three carers on duty the other day and this has been happening a lot."
Her father has middle-stage dementia and for those of you who think that dementia sufferers just forget things, think again, it goes way beyond that. Dementia strips ones dignity. It is one of the most cruelest illnesses I have ever come across and I have lost family members to it myself.
I asked her how many patients were on her father's ward to which she replied, "roughly 35."
So, three carers to look after 35 middle-stage dementia patients is acceptable do you think? It's far from it believe me.
I worked for the celebrity secret millionaire pay as you go peerage Doctor, Dr Chai Patel. He's pledged in various newspapers that he would treat his care home residents like he would his own mother!
Get the bull-shit button out because he is a bare-faced liar. I have worked in one of his care homes that allocated just one carer to do a night-shift expected to care for over 30 dementia patients. I have witnessed carers sobbing because they could not physically give the residents the high standard of care promised by the ex-Priory owner Dr Patel. Physically I wouldn't be able to care for over 30 dementia patients single-handed. It is an impossibility, but Chai Patel's private health care company isn't the only one that skimps and scrapes on staffing levels in order to reap in the profits. As far as I am concerned, it's about time the bastards were exposed because believe you me, some of the things I saw wasn't good and yes I reported it.
My friend when on to tell me, "My Dad has been woken up by night staff at 5.00am because of short-staffing levels and he has been put in bed at 7.00pm of a night because of short-staffing levels."
Again, that was nothing of a shock to me either because I have also seen this taking place in the home I worked in. Some of the residents didn't have a choice, their lives were run by the carers. Imagine being woken up at 5.00am and waiting 4 hours for a cup of tea? I'd be right in saying that any prisoner here in the UK would be on the roof if that happened to them on a regular basis.
If a prison officer states that she would rather house her own flesh and blood in prison rather than have him residing in a care home, something, and I mean something, is drastically wrong.
Yes there are some good care homes around, I am not disputing that, but I think they are very few and far between having read numerous comments by care home employees and families of patients online.
If a child was neglected and had to wait 4 hours for a drink, there would be a public outcry. So why aren't people coming forward and kicking arses when it comes to our elders? Health Guru Jeremy Hunt stated on Sky News last month that he wouldn't like his own mother to be in some of the British care homes. The truth is his mother wouldn't be a care home I worked in. It just wouldn't happen. In fact, none of the Governments family members would be put in to the type of care home I worked in because they just wouldn't.
I was talking to an ex prisoner last night who had served umpteen sentences some going back to the old Strangeways slopping out days. I told him about some of the things I had witnessed in the care home I worked in. He was outraged. Now for someone who had served prison sentences in grim conditions, I thought this was alarming. Maybe my friend is right, maybe I would prefer my own Dad to be prison too rather than one of the British 'people profiting' care homes.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Team Grayling and NOMS Are In Denial

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Team Grayling and NOMS Are In Denial: Another day, another damning official report on the failures of UK's prison system. This time it's Nigel Newcomen, the Prisons an...

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

GDS Prison Diaries - Part 38

Friday 18 July 2014 07.33am – Damn and blast yet more terrorism with a Malaysian Airline flight 17 being blown out of the sky over Kiev area of Ukraine. Now the Ukraine Government blames the so called ‘rebels’ and vice versa. But is it a rocket or missile attack, and the blame is directed towards Russia! My God is all I can say. I mean if it’s a missile it can’t be the rebels because they don’t have the missiles or capabilities. Whatever, flying these days is simply not safe. Would be good to see the passenger list! 06.22pm – Received email from Caroline. I had a feeling yesterday that something was going on and the decision on my transfer was made yesterday but of course I won’t know until next week. Well I have my feelings on this and won’t let things rest if I am not sent because the Italian Ministry is also ‘alerted.’

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Harder Time: Recall to Prison

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Harder Time: Recall to Prison: The UK’s overcrowded prisons wings hold both prisoners who are on remand and inmates who have been convicted. However, it can be forgotten ...

Friday, 8 August 2014

On Probation Blog: A Fantasy World

On Probation Blog: A Fantasy World: Surreal - adjective having the qualities of surrealism; bizarre."a surreal mix of fact and fantasy" or what we in probation know...

Counselling Services For Prisoners Families? - From Anon Mother of Prisoner

RE: If you break the law

Dear PFV. I would like to comment on the post, If You Break The Law.
I am the Mother of a 24 year old who is in prison at the moment.
Since he was sent to prison, I have struggled emotionally to the point of having to go on the sick from work because I can't face anyone. To some people this might sound a bit far fetched, but for me it isn't. I have brought my son up to the very best of my ability and I have worked hard all my life. When he was 17/18 he started hanging around with a bad lot. Money started going missing out of my purse and items in my house were disappearing. I found out he was smoking cannabis only I then found out he was lying about that because I was told the money he was stealing was for heroin.
I started finding foil and spoons in the bin and a few months down the line I found a syringe in the bathroom.
I felt that I couldn't turn to any of my friends because they had children that were successful at Uni and had done well for themselves. I felt and still do feel so embarrassed but I love my son. He is my son.
I wish I could be as hard as the person who wrote, If you break the law, but not all of us are like that.
When my son was arrested at one of his friends houses, he was found in a terrible state under the influence of heroin and sleeping tablets. He didn't even know until the day after in the police station that he had actually committed a crime until the Police told him and actually showed him the CCTV images.
Everything surrounding my son's drug habit, the armed robbery he committed, the poor people who were in the shop at the time, and the sheer embarrassment is just crippling me. I cannot function. I have tried to get some help and after 9 months of feeling desperate, I have finally managed to get a referral for counselling.
But I have had to wait 9 months for it which isn't in my opinion acceptable. It angers me that no one really took me seriously and I have since spoken to another lady who is in a similar situation to what I am in.
Yes the first people to get counselling are the victims, I won't and would never say any different. But there are people, Mothers. Father's, Wife's, husbands etc of prisoners that need support too and there is nothing around in solid stone that offers us this.

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Glen Parva: More 'Scum' than 'Lord of the Flies'

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Glen Parva: More 'Scum' than 'Lord of the Flies': Use the term ‘Borstal’ today and it probably conjures up visions of either bad lads in short trousers with short hair cuts from the 1930s o...

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Woman Arrested After Elderly People 'Poisoned'

A woman has been arrested for "administering a noxious substance" after 16 people fell ill at a care home, police have said. The 23-year-old was held after a number of people at Goldfield Court in West Bromwich were taken ill with what police described as food poisoning symptoms. Four of the people were taken to hospital for treatment, with two being kept in overnight. The woman was arrested on Monday and is now at a secure unit after she was released on bail while investigations continue, a force spokeswoman said.West Midlands Police spokeswoman Keiley Gartland said: "Further tests and enquires are underway to determine the exact nature and cause of the illness."An individual has been arrested and is currently assisting the police with their enquires.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Prison UK: An Insider's View: The Loneliness of the Long Distance Prisoner

Prison UK: An Insider's View: The Loneliness of the Long Distance Prisoner: Although Britain’s overcrowded prisons are already past bursting point, and the fact that two or three inmates are now being crammed into t...

GDS Prison Diaries Part 37

06.14 am – You know one of the constant factors in my life has been this diary even though it is very much one way traffic. I mean the diary cannot advice me but it does give me great comfort and a sense of responsibility. It is a duty but also a pleasure to write how I feel and what happens. Today one inmate shared with me the events of how he came here – a double murder which will keep him here which he sees as ‘only 6 more World Cup tournaments.’ By what I have heard yes two people are dead but is it murder or an act committed because of ‘Faith?’ I’m not fit to judge others, but by what I have heard I have my own views which may well be in contrast with the family of the two victims. I do however feel privileged and honoured to be the recipient of people’s stories or their journey that led them here. In the cold light of day one is here because of the indictment, charges or what law one has broken. But does the Court ever listen to the journey as to how the charge came about? Not anymore. No one cares really anymore it’s just boxes that need to be ticked. Not sure that is the correct way but it’s what I have had to fight for the past 25 years. I told the Court the story, the journey and it was what made me successful. I did not do that for myself because what I had to deal with was pre-ordained and I agreed and trusted. Was I right or wrong? We shall see! But sooner or later it all comes out and I feel confident all will come out in my case and all be ok – shall we say. Miss my family.

Oh Please?

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Denis MacShane... Boo Hoo, Poor Me!

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Denis MacShane... Boo Hoo, Poor Me!: There are times when I really hate to be proved right. This is one of those occasions. Exactly a month ago I posted a piece on this blog ab...

Doing more for ex-offenders - from Joanne

Hi I don't know whether you remember me but I wrote in to your blog a couple of months telling you that my other half was struggling to find a job after being released from prison. He has finally done it and starts his new job on Monday! It has been so hard searching, looking and doing CV's but it as all paid off. We both did the job searches together and spent hours doing them and it makes me realize now that if someone doesn't have family support then it would be very very hard. My other half didn't get any help from probation so something really needs to be done to help ex-offenders in to work. In my own town there is nothing.
Thanks for all your support PFV and I will keep you all posted on how he gets on with his new job.

PFV: Great news Joanne! Wish your other-half all the best and good luck in his new job! Keep in touch! 

Isle of Man parole committee looks to recruit volunteers

The Isle of Man government is looking to recruit "community-spirited" volunteers to work on the parole committee. Successful applicants would make recommendations about the release and recall of prisoners. The organisation is said to play an important role in the smooth running of the Manx criminal justice system. Home Affairs Minister Juan Watterson said the volunteering role required common sense and judgement. He added: "Liberty is a valued possession, and the state has many safeguards before it is taken away. "The Parole Committee provide the final gateway between prison and freedom."It is their responsibility to judge whether individuals should be released back into the community and on what terms".An information pack about the positions is available from the Isle of Man department of home affairs.

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Censorship Behind Bars

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Censorship Behind Bars: At the moment prisons, prisoners and prison rules seem to be hot topics. Whether it’s Chris Grayling’s attempts to appear ‘tough’ on crimin...

If You Break The Law? - By Julie-Anne

My partner is in prison for a long time.
It amazes me why some organisations even bother 'trying' to campaign for us to be quite honest.
My partner committed a crime and he went to prison. We were all made aware of what happens to a person when they break the law. You break the law - you go to prison.
So therefore in a nutshell, what can the families do? I'm not being funny but it was my partners decision to leave us by breaking the law in the first place was it not? Don't get me wrong, I'm still 'with' him, but how do we really in all honesty say that we are in a relationship? I'm here and he is over 200 miles away banged up in HMP.
I know some people's blood pressure will be raised with my opinions, but I have the right to voice my opinion because I am a partner of a serving prisoner. Yes I miss him, yes I love him, yes he's an idiot for doing what he did, yes I feel betrayed, yes I am on my arse financially because of his actions and so on. I am everything you are. I am a partner of a prisoner.
The prison in which my partner is in has family visit days which are great for those who can afford to travel there or live near by their partners. It's great for the kids of prisoners because they are the ones who really suffer lets face it. I have managed to go to one family visit day which in all honesty was good and very well appreciated by families who were there. A charity had organised it and organised it well as well as the prison, they did a good job too. But when I was having a ciggie waiting for my taxi after the visit had finished, I ended up chatting to a woman with two kids who had been on the visit too. She said to me 'aren't they good these family day visits, we've been to them before when my other half served his first sentence.'
I mean come on? Aren't these family visits supposed to be visits where prisoners can bond with their children in an educating and constructive way? Or are they just family visits for the sake of the kids? I'm sorry and I don't care what anyone else thinks, but how can anyone say that they put their kids first when they keep leaving them for HMP? Maybe its this, maybe its that, but one mistake is one mistake too many as far as kids are concerned. Sorry if I have offended people but that's the way I look at it. By all means do the visits because they are important for the children, but educate those too who drag their kids to that environment in the first place.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Serving the Second Sentence

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Serving the Second Sentence: The day a convicted person is sentenced to a term of imprisonment and led in handcuffs from the dock, he or she begins to serve that senten...

Well Done Whistle-Blowers!

“We have an active whistle-blowing system and our carers used it to raise concerns about this individual’s behaviour. We acted immediately and have been supporting the investigation. “We set the bar for our people’s standards of behaviour and care very high and we make no apologies for that. As legal proceedings are under way we cannot comment further.” The care home is set in its own gardens and according to its website has a gazebo, a sensory garden and grows its own vegetables, soft fruit and herbs for use in the kitchen. The website adds: “Our highly trained care assistants and registered nurses know it's very important to strike a balance between providing care when it's needed and helping our residents to be as independent as possible.”

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Prisoners Riot At Nottinghamshire Jail

A riot broke out at HMP Ranby in Nottinghamshire after up to 60 prisoners refused to return to their cells after lunch. The "serious incident" began about 12.30pm today, and saw a group of prisoners start a fire and take control of a section of the jail.A spokesman for the Prison Service said no staff or prisoners were injured during the riot, which lasted several hours.

Friday, 18 July 2014

On Probation Blog: Tagging Special

On Probation Blog: Tagging Special: I wonder what the supervision of the under 12 month cohort will look like. A while ago now I thought I read somewhere that it won't nece...