Thursday, 24 April 2014

Nightmare Release - From ABS

My partner was released in January this year and I just can't cope with him back at home. This sounds so bad what I am going to say now, but we got on better when he was in prison. Not only that, because he served quite a while in prison, I became independent and managed my bills and money quite well. Now he is home everything seems to be falling apart because he isn't pulling his weight around the house and like many people on your blog have said, he just lounges around and says that he needs to adjust to being out which I understand, but there is a fine line between adjusting and being lazy. This is not what I thought release would be about! Is there anyone or any groups I can talk to about this do you know? From ABS

Brinsford Young Offenders Institution report shows failings

A damning report into a young offenders institute near Wolverhampton has found violence levels too high, inefficient security and drug usage among inmates three times above target. Brinsford Young Offenders Institution was visited in November. Chief Inspector of Prisons Nick Hardwick said inspectors uncovered the worst overall findings since he took up his post in July 2010.Prison bosses said a new governor had been appointed to address concerns.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

How do we maintain family ties? - From Dina

Visiting my partner is stressing me out. Talking of money, I just can't afford to see him as often as I'd like to. Firstly I work full time and secondly I am paying our debts off single-handed which is tough going. I suppose you get a lot of these emails and when I read other articles about how important it is to maintain contact, I just laugh otherwise I'd cry. How easy it is for those to say go and visit your loved one in prison as much as you can, yet not one of them weigh up situations like mine. I am deflated with the lot of it now to be honest with you. Prison's are making it harder and harder in my opinion and by doing so, they clearly have no intentions of standing by what they say about maintaining these so called family ties.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Fast Service?

The cost of prison visiting from Vicky

Got to agree with Sam's post and I'm glad someone has said it.
My man is in a local cat B privatised prison and the changes have been dire. They are changing the way clothing is being sent in and soon families won't be able to use the property booking desk to book clothing in. Instead clothing items will have to be ordered via a catalogue by the prisoner. That is going to cost me more money for a starters because my man doesn't even earn the money in prison to afford to pay for a pair of socks as he puts his money on phone credits to ring me and our kids. The shop at the prison has vanished and we have vending machines which cost a fortune especially with the kids in tow. It costs me about 50 quid a visit and I live only 40 minutes away from the prison but I have to get a taxi there and back because the bus route is too much hassle with the children as I need to get three buses to get there. In fact it costs me more than 50 quid thinking about it because I haven't added the cost of the snacks and drinks when I get there. PATHETIC!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Congratulations Paperclassroom - Sponsors of PFV


Borrowing Money To Prison Visit - From Sam

Hello.. Can I please reply to a couple of posts that I have read today please. The first one is about visitor's centres. I am lucky where I visit because they are pleasant and like to assist people, especially those on their first ever prison visits. I have no issues with the people who run it apart from I have made a few suggestions on how it can be improved and no one has taken me on or acknowledged me which is a bit disappointing considering I am a prisoners family member. Other than that I have no issues at all. Next is the amount of money it costs families to actually visit. It costs me roughly £90.00 a visit. It costs £55.00 to travel on the train with my two children and £20.00 return for a taxi from the train station to the prison and from the prison back to the train station. I have even had loans to fund our visits which is irresponsible of me I know, but otherwise the kids wouldn't get to see their dad. It costs me about £20.00 by the time the kids have run backwards and forwards to the machine for crisps and snacks etc as well as snacks for my partner and myself. Sometimes I verge on £100.00 a visit. As for rehabilitation, my partner tells me that he is locked in his cell for about 22 hours a day because there is no work for him. He has put his name forward for education just to get out of his cell and already has A levels. But there is always something new to learn so he doesn't mind this. What I have found is that the prison system punishes the families more than the prisoners. How can the Government justify £100.00 per prison visit when they have stipulated that keeping contact with prisoners helps towards re-offending? So am I right in saying that in order to stay in touch with your loved one, you must pay the price? Because my purse strings are really paying the price and our keeping in touch regime has almost certainly thrust me in to debt. I do it for my children, they have the right to see their Dad so it says in the human rights act. It's stressful enough without having to beg, borrow and steal to prison visit! Love from Sam.

Beagle Dog Bed and Breakfast!

Dog Bark Park Inn is a bed & breakfast guesthouse inside the World's Biggest Beagle. Guests enter the body of the beagle from a private 2nd story deck. Some of the dog's decorative furnishings are carvings by Dog Bark Park chainsaw artists Dennis & Frances. Inside and up another level to the head of the dog is a loft room with additional sleeping space plus a cozy alcove in the muzzle.

On Probation Blog: Press Release

On Probation Blog: Press Release: Subject: Jonathan Aitken and the privatisation of the Probation Service The 'On Probation' blog

GDS Dairy Inside - Part Thirty

07.08am – Watched film last night called ‘Conviction’ a true story about a woman who becomes a lawyer to help her brother convicted of murder and proving his innocence with Barry Scheck and his Innocence Project. That is true devotion and all about the DNA moment which is not that old in legal cases. 11.06am – Eureka moment for my friend Domenico Rancadore – he is free and has won his battle against extradition to Italy. I did not think he would do it but he has and well done to Karen Todner! 150.06am – Watching film ‘Call of the Wild’ a story by Jack London about a dog, called Buck, stolen from a Judge in San Diego and taken to Alaska where he forms a bond with prospector. What a film! Called Sarah Hall - she has lost her voice. Hope she is better soon. 17.15pm – One of the incredible idiosyncrasies in English jail is that people are wholly incapable of talking: - they shout and I can’t quite understand it. I talk normally, at normal level, but I am one of a select few and I won’t ever change. I wonder why though people shout.

Failure On Release - From Anon

I stood by my husband for two years whilst he was in prison. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and thought he deserved a second chance. We managed to keep our prison relationship going ( which was hard work ) but things started to fall apart on his release. At first he was fine and applied for tons of jobs. He kept getting knocked back and slumped in to a depression. He felt a failure so he went out and did what he did best - got money by other means which has landed him in trouble and in prison again. I do not know how people can honestly say that families can reduce re-offending when we get no support to able us to do this. When people are released from prison, it is a bit of a shell shock yet families are alone trying to maintain a relationship as well as being a probation baby sitter.

This Weeks Featured Blog

                                                ON PROBATION BLOG 

Bank Holiday Birthday Shout Out!

We received an email from Rebecca asking if we could give her Mum a birthday shout-out for bank holiday Monday! Happy Birthday to Pauline from Rebecca and everyone here at Prisoners Families Voices! Pauline's all time favourite is Billy Fury, so here's a dedication to you Pauline! Have a great birthday!

I Got The Chance - From Gary

Dear Prisoners Families Voices. My name is Gary and I am an ex prisoner/offender. I came across your blog on Google and think it is absolutely brilliant! If I may, please could I make a contribution.
I served a sentence for burglary in 2007 and with the help from family and friends, I turned my life around. I was addicted to drugs and have been clean since 2008. I found it difficult to find work but I persisted applying for jobs, probably hundreds, and I eventually got a job working for an IT company. I know there are many negative stories about ex prisoners trying to find work, and believe me I struggled too but landed on my feet eventually. I have been honest with my employers and I am grateful for their support. If you would like any help with your blog please give me a shout! I would be delighted to help! Cheers, Gary.

Crime Does Not Pay! Even For Prisoners Families - From Paula

RE: Profit and Prison's by Andrew

Dear Andrew, when the likes of Sodexo get a 250 million contract to run a handful of prison's, do you honestly believe in your heart of hearts they would be remotely interested in rehabilitation programmes for prisoners? Prison's run on the same basis as Care Homes do - empty beds make no wages!
As for vending machines in prison's to supply drinks and snacks for visitors and both prisoners inside the visitor's room - again, it is business and about lining pockets. You'd have thought that some of the charities running these visitor's centre would have stuck their necks out, but in my opinion, anyone in this game pisses in the same pot, pardon my French. I paid 70 pence for a Twix last week in the visitor's centre and have bought a pack of 5 Twix's for a pound in Asda for the kids when we get there. Obviously this doesn't apply to when we get inside the visits room because they leave us with no other option to buy from vending machines, so they have got our money either way. The old hatch that used to sell sandwiches at good prices is solely missed, but then it's all greed greed greed. Absolutely no one listens to families, no one what so ever so I ignore the crap and just get on with seeing my man. I suppose people will say, well that;s the price we pay for having other half's who break the law.

On Probation Blog: Some Plain Speaking

On Probation Blog: Some Plain Speaking: The time has come to speak a little plainly I think. It can't have escaped many readers notice that a huge debate has been raging here a...

Families Being Ripped Off? - From Kelly

It was nice to read an honest post from Andrew, Prison and Profit. I visit my partner in prison and it is all about profit! I have noticed that the small tuck shop has now been replaced by vending machines (more cost) and I couldn't care less what anyone says, everyone involved in helping prisoners families is in it for the money. Sorry if this offends you, but in the 5 years I have been visiting my partner, I have had no help or support what so ever. The visitors centre I go to is neither use nor ornament and when all said and done, after visiting as finished, they close up and we go home with the same problems and issues that we went in with. I want to know why visitors centre's are there and for what purpose they are there? I don't even find the people running it friendly at all! All I want is a cup of coffee and a sandwich when I get there and now that has disappeared, I am left with a vending machine that is double in price! Here's some tips -buy a flask and take your own snacks with you which will save you a lot of money. I'm not feeding people's pockets anymore thank you very much!

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Bank Holiday Weekend At HMP Sudbury

Prison and Profit - From Andrew

I'm an ex prisoner who was released from prison only a few weeks ago.
I was in prison for fraud - stupidity.
I didn't appreciate the way my wife was treated whilst visiting me. I was the one serving the prison sentence - not her. She was messed about whilst trying to book a visit; mistakes were made and at one point the prison got the date wrong which as you can imagine cost her a great deal of money travelling to see me and not being allowed entry. Secondly; there were occasions were our visits were cut short because the search procedures for visitors started late - the prison's fault; not the visitors.
Last but not least; her birthday card didn't arrive that I sent her and items of my property wasn't given to me. There was absolutely nothing neither of us could do about it. When families visit their loved ones and relatives in prison; they should be treated with respect; not frowned at. If the prison's think about it carefully, they along with others; make a tidy packet from prison visitors in the form of profiting. i.e; refreshments, snacks etc and we are all aware that food and beverages are almost 100% profit. I have put my huge mistake behind me and do not intend to ever return to HMP - HUGE MAKING PROFIT. Regards, Andrew.

West Midlands prisons staffing at 'crisis level'

Staffing levels at jails in the West Midlands are in a "crisis" position, according to the Prison Officers' Association (POA). The trade union said staff were being asked to travel hundreds of miles to help fill staff shortages in the area.In some cases, prison officers are travelling from as far as Northumberland, the POA said.In a statement, the Ministry of Justice said staffing levels were within national guidelines and were "appropriate to run a safe and efficient prison".

Happy Easter To All Our Readers

Here's hoping everyone has a chilled out Easter weekend! The weather is rubbish here in the north-west, but then it would be considering it's my weekend off! Drive safely wherever you are going and take care. Stu.

Bullying at HMP Bronzefield - From Worried Hubby

To the Blog Editor. I have been reading your blog a lot over the last couple of weeks and follow you on Twitter too. Your site isn't as formal as other websites which is what I like so I would like to share my story with you, although could you please not use my name. My wife is in Bronzefield Prison and is getting bullied - not from the other prisoners - but some of the prison officers. She won't let me complain as she said it would make things worse for her, and I respect her request, but I have seen a lot about this prison on your blog and it is worrying. There is no arguing my wife has done wrong, that's why she is in prison, but why should she be subject to bullying from the staff there? And why are prisoners like my wife telling their loved ones not to complain in case they get repercussions from it? Something needs to be done and quick sharp because I am slowly loosing my patience with this prison. If I can't complain, then what can I do? Anon

Friday, 18 April 2014

On Probation Blog: Is Anyone Listening?

On Probation Blog: Is Anyone Listening?: I notice that Pat Waterman, Chair of Napo Greater London Branch, emailed this to all her members yesterday:- Rumours and facts       Membe...

Monday, 14 April 2014

It's a home for some - From ex offender Ste

Hi there guys. I have emailed you before and thought I'd write in to you again. I am an ex offender myself and started committing crime at the young age of 12. I was put in to a children's home and worked my way through HMP. When I was in a young offenders institute, I made 'friends' of a word with other offenders more advanced than myself, again, if that's the right word. To become part of their gang, I bull shitted by bigging myself up to fit in with the rest of them. It was easier to be accepted in prison and get along with the others. Once out of the young offenders prison, I committed more crime on a larger scale because it was pretty cool to be inside for armed robbery rather than shoplifting. Yeah it sounds bad, real bad, but that was the way it was. I ended my criminal career at the age of 40. That's bad too I know but I have finally grown up and I live to tell other youngsters my stories. From the age of 12 to 40, my life was spent indoors. I had no holidays, no real girlfriends, no prospects and no self respect. People who have been in prison share different experiences. I did come across people that spent just 1 sentence inside and never returned. For others like me, it was our home. I coped in prison and I have to be honest about that to the kids I speak to, but I don't big it up, I go down a different route telling them how the majority of life has been wasted. I have other personal stories but it would take me ages to write, so maybe another time. There is one thing I can tell you though. I did prison when prison was prison. I slopped out and spent hours reading because a TV in those days was a big big no no. No TV's for us! But these days, those stories don't exist, so I have to go down another route to educate kids. I visited a lad in prison about three months ago and he couldn't have give two shits where he was which was soul destroying. I agree with anonymous dad that something is very wrong in the justice system these days. Like I said, it never bothered me to go back because I had nothing here on the out, but for those with good supportive families behind them, it is tragic. I'm rambling here so I hope I make sense. If I can help in anyway please email me and I'd be happy too. Respect to you for giving people a platform to speak out. Ste.

Mumsnet Hacked!

Parenting website Mumsnet has said users' data has been stolen by hackers using the Heartbleed bug. Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts said in a statement that a recommended fix was applied immediately after the bug was discovered last week. However, she said there was no way of knowing how many users had already been affected by the security breach. "It became apparent that users' data submitted via our login page had been accessed prior to our applying this fix," she said. "We have no way of knowing which or how many accounts were affected but have advised users to change passwords."

Breeding Criminals - From Anonymous Dad

Hi, I have just read a blog post over on Twitter about a woman's son being worse than he is before he went to prison. My son also went to prison at a young age, 18, and he had the same attitude if I am honest. I too run a decent family/household and no one apart from our son has ever been to prison before or have been in trouble with the Police.
My son as I said was 18 when he went to prison and was in prison for just 6 months. When he reached the age of 22, he was sentenced to life for his part in a murder which has devastated all our family as you can imagine. I am not blaming prison solely for the awful crime he committed, but I will say that after he was released at 19 on his first sentence, he too said prison was a breeze almost to the point of being 'cool.' Like Jade, I have to question what is going on. Many would say, 'throw away the key' and so forth, but that's not going to happen, so what is going drastically wrong inside our prison's? I am confused, bewildered and angry about the whole thing. Would he have been involved in his part of a murder if he hadn't have gone to prison at 18 and met the so called gangsters who gave him 'criminal tips' on how to get away with stuff, because it does happen. Young lads who go to prison meet new acquaintances and talk about their robberies and thefts and so forth. What did prison teach my son? Nothing, it taught him nothing at all. Are prison's breeding more criminals? My son came home after serving his sentence a different lad altogether. What he told me about prison shocked me to the core but like Jade's son, it didn't appear to faze him at all. What do YOI mould their prisoners in to? Never ever in a million years did I ever think my son would end up serving a life sentence, but that's where he is. His life ruined, victims families life's ruined and my families life ruined. Please keep me anonymous as I don't want any back lash if you post my story, I've had enough of that already over the past years. Can I also say that I have altered the ages above of my son to protect everyone's identity. My final question is, what is the real point of prison? I know some people have to be there, like my son for example, but he only initially went to prison for petty theft stealing from supermarkets which he didn't have to do because me and my wife provided well for him. Can I just say that your blogger site is excellent and it is an excellent way of sharing stories for families in similar situations as mine. I mean no disrespect to the victims by writing this also. With thanks Anonymous Dad.

On Probation Blog: Clients and TR

On Probation Blog: Clients and TR: As has been noted by some, since humble beginnings four years ago, this blog has changed significantly from one grumpy person's self-ind...

Worse than before he went inside - From Jade

My son (19) has just been released from prison and he is worse than he was before he went inside! His attitude is so bad and he is treating me like dirt after all I have done for him. Just in case anyone judgemental reads your blog site, let me just say that I have raised two other lads who are at Uni studying hard. My youngest who has just come out of prison landed in with the wrong crowd (which can happen to anyone from any background) and actually told me that 'he wouldn't be arsed' if he got sent back down because it was a doddle. I hoped he would have come out saying no way was he gonna go back but this is not the case and I am at my wits end with it all. He is dis-respecting all the house rules and is walking around like ten-men meeting other offenders who he met inside. Some rehabilitation his sentence has been!!! Come on, I mean seriously, what the hell is going on with the justice system? The next step is to throw him out and let him get on with it because if his attitude doesn't change, he is giving me no further option. Is there anyone around on your blog that has been through the same? Love Jade.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

A Door For The Thin? Very Thin? Very Very Thin?

7 Different Probation Officers In 13 Weeks - From Mick

Hello.. I have notice that you have been publishing stuff on your blog about probation lately. I have been out of jail for 13 weeks and I am on licence.
The 5 minute appointments are true and are a waste of time. In those 13 weeks, I have seen about 7 different probation officers and every time I try and ring my probation officer, I get told that she is either on annual leave or is in a meeting and that is more or less every single time I try to phone her. Don't get me wrong, she is a nice woman but I am in a dilemma at the moment and could do with a chat with her. But she isn't around for me to do that so who the bloodyhell can I turn too? My family turned their backs on me when I went to jail and I have one pal who is supportive but works full time and I don't want to burden him. I have been reading a lot of online stories about ex cons who have turned their life's around with help from their probation officers but these seem to be older people, no offence, but they are getting on a bit and were in prison years ago. Even when I was in prison it was proper hard for me to get to see my probation officer. I genuinely need some advice. If I am on licence I would have thought I would have got some help and support from my probation officer but it just isn't working out. Mick.

Bullied Because Dad is In Prison - From Anon

I'm not with my partner anymore because we parted when he was six months in to his prison sentence. The effect this has had on my 15 year old daughter is devastating. When he was first sent to prison, she was bullied at school. She has been bullied on social networking sites and has been bullied in our community. She is a daddy's girl so being apart from him has hit her hard. Last week, I found out she was self-harming and she has cancelled her visits to see her dad and he wants to know why she isn't going to see him. I know a lot of people say that you shouldn't hide things from people in prison, but I cannot tell him as this would break him. My main concern right now is my daughter and getting her the help she needs but at some point, her dad will want to know what is wrong. My daughter is blaming her dad for everything and was a bubbly young girl before he was sent to prison. Before people commit crimes, they should seriously think about the devastating effect all this has on their families. Sorry to say all this, but it seems there is so much help for prisoners yet nothing for children of prisoners who are victims thrust in to a situation that can lead in to mental health problems like my daughter has. Even the hospital turned us away last week putting it down to 'something she is going through' and 'oh she is just having a bad day.' I will have to end here because I am too upset to write anything else. I can't believe he has put us through all this shit. Please don't print my name in case my daughter reads it. Thanks.

On Probation Blog: Voices

On Probation Blog: Voices: Having been allocated to CRC after more than 20 years' experience as a PO, I'd like advice regarding compensation for having my prof...

Friday, 11 April 2014

Nightmare - From Prisoners Wife

I am a prisoners wife and my husband has just been convicted and sent to prison. We all thought he would be found not guilty because we all believe he is innocent. We are in shock and cannot believe what has happened. His mum fainted in court and I have haven't slept for 3 nights solid. When he was found guilty, someone put a brick through my window and threw eggs all over my door. Is there anywhere or anyone at all I can talk too?

COMMENT: A list of helpful organisations has been forwarded on to the lady above. 

Prison's At Risk? - From A Prisoner

Hi lovely people. I am in prison so my girlfriend will be giving you my letter to publish on your website. The guys here have just found out about the minister banning books. Does Grayling want all the prisoners to riot or something? What we have had so far off him is: 6.00pm bang up, no smoking, no books, and prisoners being moved nearer to home. Go on then where is it all? Mr Grayling is putting prisoners at risk and his staff at risk because if he carries on it is gonna end up in a big big mess. It aint fair on prisoners or the staff! What an idiot. From me the prisoner.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

On Probation Blog: More Haste - Less Speed?

On Probation Blog: More Haste - Less Speed?: We're now well into TR 'mobilisation' mode and the word is things aren't going too well at all. In fact these exchanges over...

Sodexo Justice Services - Bang Out Of Order - From Michelle

Hi. I couldn't believe it when I read your blog and saw that people were having problems with Sodexo.
I also went for an interview at Forest Bank Prison and heard nothing back when I was told I would hear either way within 7 days. Sodexo got the 250 Million contract for Justice Services and their HR department cannot even reply or acknowledge any of my emails? I am so so angry. What a crap firm!!!! Michelle.

COMMENT: Keep sending emails until you do get a reply!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Billy Bragg on access to books and guitars in prisons

Billy Bragg, who is part of an initiative that has donated more than 350 guitars to prisons, said Chris Grayling's new rules threaten to undermine his charity's work. The musician told the BBC that they meant prisoners would no longer be able to access steel-string guitars in their cells. And he said the tightening of rules on parcels that prisoners receive would effectively prevent them from receiving books sent by family and friends.Mr Bragg asked what people want from prisons, with a choice of "one that rehabilitates prisoners, or one that leaves them to rot".

Wife Released From Prison - From Anon

My wife was in prison and I was left behind to look after our two children. When she came out of prison, she refused to go near me intimately and told me that she had a relationship with another woman in prison. We stayed in the same house for 6 months and I gave her some space in case this was just a faze she was going through. I found her crying in the bedroom and crying in the bathroom many nights and she began to self harm because she couldn't get to grips with her feelings. I would like to point out that release from prison can cause many many problems for families and for me it has been an uphill battle. I felt cheated, betrayed and angry that the woman I stood by whilst she was in prison could treat me this way. Our situation is still the same and between us we have been offered no support at all. You have my permission to publish this on your blog but please do not publish my name. With thanks.

On Probation Blog: Omnishambles Update 45

On Probation Blog: Omnishambles Update 45: There might be some interesting news today regarding the barrister's 'settlement' with Chris Grayling. I saw this on Facebook:- ...

Just For Fun - Picture Puzzle

What word do these pictures have in common? 

Answer tomorrow! 

It Isn't Happily Ever After - From Martin

I am an ex prisoner and I agree very much with Prison Widow and all the others about resettlement. I was released and I could not settle back at home. I felt sick all the time and panicky and argued all the time with my girlfriend which was out of order of me.
In prison you get used to the regime and to come home after so many years in prison back to normality is very scary. Everyone thinks that on release that everyone lives happily ever after but it is bull. I got no support and neither did my girlfriend. My doctor put both if us on anti depression tablets so that is how bad it got. I am just really saying thanks for bringing this topic up and cheers. Martin.

Readjusting - By Prison Widow UK

I'm rather interested that Prisoners Families Voices are receiving emails from people who are struggling with release from prison and feeling that they are shunned because their loved-one is back home. I was once verbally attacked by a couple of women online saying that I shouldn't be running a blog site because my partner is now out of prison. My answer was "bollocks", because there are hundreds of people working for prisoners families charities and organisations who have NEVER had a loved one in prison so I rest my case.
Needless to say, the nasty emails stopped and I put it down to immature prisoners wife's with obvious issues.
I feel quite angry reading the emails coming in from wife's and partners who are really up against it and struggling with their relationships on the out. Maintaining family ties, visits, family days, letter writing, telephone calls, support groups, support workers, this, that and the other are all beneficial for prisoners families, I wouldn't say otherwise. But what happens when all these lovely prison family days and the rest of it stops? I've been there on several occasions and worn the t-shirt, you drive to the prison and pick your partner/husband/wife up along with their prison holdall's and the support from there on comes to an halt. And I will put up a good argument with anyone who tells me otherwise. No one wants to know when someone is released from prison. Maybe Prisoners Families Voices should set up 'something else' to support people upon release, we have enough readers and emails coming in to do it. Maybe the people who email us should start something up? I could certainly help and plug a site for them, but sadly I do not have the time to do this myself. I agree with Linda in particular that the media are only interested in writing stories about 'Jane' who's husband is in prison for life, or 'Bob' who's wife is in prison for a drugs related crime, and how do they cope etc etc etc. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that, all awareness raising is good, but the struggle does not stop when they are released from prison. For some, their relationship ends and children of prisoners go through the separation process all over again. So the question is, who is going to take this issue on?

Prison Release Is Hard Work - From Pamela

I would like to echo what Linda said in a post yesterday. Linda's Post
Since my husband was released from prison, we hardly talk. When he was in prison, we chatted all the time and even had some laughs on visits. We have been together 9 years. When he was in prison he admitted to smoking cannabis which he never did on the out. He never even smoked a cigarette on the out so you can imagine how shocked I was. He said it calmed him down whilst he was inside but he has carried it on since he's been home and spends all day lying on the sofa saying he will stop when he feels he can cope on the outside again which feels like never because he doesn't seen to be coping. Since he has been released I have had no one to turn to and just like Linda said, it seems that people are only interested when someone goes to prison. It is devastating when someone we love goes to prison there is no denying that and it is groundhog day every day when they are in prison and for us waiting for them on the out. If people think that when someone gets released that's the end of it, they can think again because it is hard work readjusting. Everyone want to know when your husband is in prison but as soon as they are released, you get fobbed off. The way things are going for me, I can't see us being together for long. From Pamela.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Celebrity Mug Shot - Snoop Dog

In November 2006, Rapper Snoop Dogg (whose legal name s Calvin Broadus) was arrested after an incident at John Wayne Airport. The Orange County Sheriff's Department charged the 35-year-old with felony possession of a dangerous weapon after airport security found a collapsible baton in the entertainer's luggage.

Focus On Families And Resettlement - From 'Linda'

Hi PFV. I have written quite a few posts for your blog in the past and would like to submit another if I may. I have just read the ladies post about the lack of support when a loved one is released home from prison. I absolutely 100% agree with her that we do not fit any category, if that is the right word. Many people from organisations to the media are only interested in families with a loved one in prison. Why is this so? As many offenders serve their sentences in the community? If anyone came to my home 8 months ago, they would have witnessed a very grim situation. Me and my partner were constantly arguing because he spent all is days hooked up in our bedroom listening to music and playing on the PS3. He was withdrawn, depressed, angry and arrogant and did not have time for our children which was heartbreaking and at the same time down right disgusting considering he had been locked up in prison separated from them. My patience was pushed to the limit and we ended up sleeping in separate beds. This is a relationship that worked whilst he was in prison by the way. I visited him with the children and we wrote to each other most days as well as talking to each other on the phone. So the family contact was there all the way. When he came home, things started to go wrong drastically. So why are prisoners families in this situation not taken in to account? Why aren't the charities and organisations that speak for us concentrating on release issues as well as incarcerated ones? I joined a discussion some months ago and was told to f-off because my partner was at home now and was not in prison. The fact is, he is still on licence so yes he is in prison here out in the community for their information. I have had not an inch of support from anyone and have had to deal with some awful situations as well as trying to get some form of help and support for my partner. So why don't the media and organisations try walking in my shoes and others in a similar situation instead of focusing solely on families with a loved one in prison. What more is there to say about being a prisoners family member for God sake? We visit, we write, we speak on the phone, we are treated like muck by The Prison Service, we are sent hundreds of miles away from home to visit, we get told nothing by the prison, and it costs a fortune visiting. It's the same old same old and I am sorry, but it will always be the same old same old. Try a documentary about resettlement and change the tune for once! Best wishes, 'Linda'

Sodexo Let Down

Hi. Just seen the tweet about Sodexo and thought I'd comment. I went for an interview at Forest Bank Prison and the interview went great. The two guys who interviewed me were friendly and professional. I got told I would hear if I got the job within seven days and I have heard nothing not by email, letter or a phone call. I won't be applying for anything advertised by Sodexo again! A load of crap! PH.

Sodexo Justice Services Ignorant

Dear Prisoners Families Voices. I read the post by Prison Widow UK and I am a visitor at HMP Forest Bank. I have never had a problem visiting this prison at all and I find the staff to be great. Going off the back of that, I applied for a post there and was interviewed roughly 3 weeks ago. I was told I would hear either way within 7 days of the interview whether or not I had been successful or not. I have heard nothing and complained to Sodexo HR department who have also ignored me. It has put me off applying for anything there now! Anon

The Kid In The Pram!


Give Offenders Back Probation - From Andrew B

Dear Editor PFV. I am a fan of your blog and have noticed that you are publishing quite a lot of posts by the On Probation Blog.
My name is, Ex Offender, as I have been labelled one now after serving a 7 year sentence for armed robbery. I had never been in trouble with the law previously therefore I consider myself NOT a career criminal. I screwed up and regretted it ever since.
I am on probation now and I have a good relationship with my probation officer. He does the best he can under pressure and by meaning under pressure, I mean that he doesn't often see me and is bogged down with paperwork. One day whilst I was waiting to see him, I was chatting to a guy who was a career criminal. He was grumbling about what a waste of his time it was sitting there to see his probation officer for only 5 minutes. He had also told me that years ago, probation officers spent time with offenders supporting them with their rehabilitation and that these days, that doesn't happen.
I told him that it doesn't happen because their job now consists of paperwork - which is what I have been witnessing over the past 6 months. I just want to clear this up by saying that I know for a fact if my probation officer had the time, he would support me and he has even said this himself. He has tried by giving me telephone numbers of employers who take on ex offenders and phone numbers of other support groups, but other than that, he does not have the time. I am not here to slag probation off, they have a job to do and it must be frustrating for them, especially mine who cannot give me the time to advise me. I am an ex con who does not want to be like the other man sat in probation, I want to make something of myself and put the prison issue well behind me, but it's hard when there is no support on offer. I see young lads going to probation and I see that in no time they will be back in prison as they treat their appointments as a joke. A couple of them were smoking a joint outside whilst waiting to book in which in my opinion shows no respect for the people who are monitoring us. I am finding it all a bit depressing because I take my appointments and what I did very seriously in order to change my life around. Luckily I have a great girlfriend who supports and helps me with online job applications and things, but what about those who haven't who want support changing their life's. I remember in prison when a member of staff said to me, "you have to take responsibility for your ow actions." Which yes is very true, but if the likes of probation do not have the time to support ex cons on release then how is the prison revolving door going to slow down? Do the Government want more people in prison? It appears that way because they are/have stripped the services for ex offenders in my opinion by taking the real job of a probation officer from us. Regards Andrew B.

Where Do I Fit In - From Anonymous

Hey there. I am emailing you because I just don't know where I fit in. My boyfriend was released from prison only a few weeks ago and since he has, I feel that I have been pushed out of any discussions because I have got my man home with me. We have done nothing but argue since he has been home and he doesn't seem interested in our children. He has changed a lot. Everything revolves around families who have their loved ones inside prison and there is nothing for women and men like us who have got their partners back home and it is really hard having them home when they have been in prison for a long time. My boyfriend is still on licence so why isn't there any support for people like me? It seems as soon as your man is released from prison, no one wants to know. Love Anonymous. Name provided.

The House On Towan Island

Just a few meters off the British coast near Newquay in Cornwell, lies the tiny Towan island. Perched at the top of this 80 feet high rocky island is a charming cottage that is accessible via a 100 feet long suspension bridge, the only privately owned suspension bridge in Great Britain. Originally a Victorian tea room, the building was converted into a three-bedroom Edwardian house in the 1930s. Since then it has been home to various lords and aristocratic couples including the son of physicist Sir Oliver Joseph Lodge, inventor of the spark plug. When the last owner Lord Viscount Long sold the property in 2012, it was converted into a holiday home that is being offered for rent. The property is since called ‘The House in The Sea.

On Probation Blog: We Need a Plan!

On Probation Blog: We Need a Plan!: I've heard a rumour that Napo's General Secretary is very unhappy with me and this blog. Now I have no idea why that might be, but i...

Go Jim Go! Unfortunate for the General Secretary I say! 

GDS Diary From The Inside - Part 28

06.58am – Good night sleep. Last night I watched a truly superb Serbian film by Dusan Kovacevic ‘Profesionalac.’ You know, I just love films in Italian or Serbian. I enjoy foreign language films much more than in English. Had dream last night that trip to Italy is very soon…….. LUNCH: Pea Soup and corned beef sandwich (Can just call that lunch) DINNER: Breaded fish and roast potatoes, dessert, rice pudding. 19.30pm – A very stressful day today. I have just noticed that the Criminal Appeal Act 1968 s.1 has just changed, in 2012, by adding a few words. Now, in the old days you would apply for certificate from the trial Judge, at any time, but from 2012 it was tightened to be ‘within’ 28 days. I’m looking forward to going to Italy because in Italy the law on murder is only in the ‘masculine gender,’ implying that it’s ok to murder a woman!!!! Incredible! I actually petitioned Parliament long ago on this, so we can test it!

Sodexo Justice Services - Provide No Service

Privatised Prison's? What a mess! And I will proceed to tell you all why. Sodexo Justice Services in fact provide no service, at least for offenders upon release. As most of you know, Prisoners Families Voices have sponsorship which allows me to travel to prison's and critique some of the wonderful HMP establishments in the UK.  The first 'snoopy' visit was two weeks ago at HMP Forest Bank. Now then, let me make this clear, the management at Forest Bank are excellent. I have no issue with them at all. However, I do have an issue with Sodexo Justice Services who it seems does not have the ability to answer to emails or complaints. Anyway, off I went on my journey to HMP Forest Bank. It was a freebie journey with someone attending an interview so I waited for this person in the visitors centre which was a mess. Hey, I am only being honest, but the receptionist was lovely. It's a large area with potential. A couple of family members were sat around with etched on their faces. There were three vending machines being actively used and a flat screen TV that wasn't in use. A bit of Emmerdale and Coronation Street wouldn't have gone amiss for those waiting, even a bit of low background music would have done, but it was deathly silent and depressing. Yawn, yawn yawn. I ventured out twice for a cigarette (filthy habit I know) and spoke to a few families waiting for a taxi to get home. Unless you are prepared to walk 30 minutes to the nearest bus stop, especially with young children and bad weather, then a taxi is needed hence why the visitors centre have a freephone taxi service. You would have thought that a multi-million pound company like Sodexo would provide a shuttle service to the bus stop, and it has probably been mentioned before, at least I hope it has, but has probably fallen on deaf ears as it would cost the company and they won't make any money out of families and blah blah blah. You see, it's all about money.
Anyhow, I finished puffing on my cigarette and went back in to the visitors centre. Within a couple of minutes, a gentleman came in and plonked an holdall near the table I was sat at. He looked anxious and asked a member of staff if there was a phone, to which a member of staff pointed at one of the taxi freephone's. It was approx 19.10pm and this gentleman had just been released from prison. He needed to ring a family member because his release was a surprise and I'd be stunned too if I'd have been released from prison at that time of a night. So yes, he needed to get hold of his family. But guess what? There was no pay phone in the building that the young man could use to do this and he was becoming highly agitated. After roughly 5 minutes of explaining his circumstances to the staff, one of them finally agreed to ring a member of is family to inform them that this guy had been released from prison. During this time, I was getting a little pissed off and would have intervened should this guy have got nowhere with his request. Actually, I thought it was a bloody disgrace that there are no pay phones for people in that area who had been released from prison, especially of a night time for Christ sake. No, I am not impressed with Sodexo and I find the company ignorant and incapable of discussing issues. HMP Bronzefield is run by this company too and that particular prison is a shambles. At PFV, we receive more complaints about Bronzefield than any other prison and the complaints are very worrying to the point of families actually refusing to visit their loved ones because the custody officers are bullies. Interestingly enough, I will be visiting HMP Bronzefield myself soon so I will be writing about it. Should be fun no doubt! So yes readers, I will be touring this year writing about various prison's and what my experiences with them have been like. My writings will be published on the blog and elsewhere in print so I am looking forward to the feedback. Please keep those emails coming in and in the meantime, take care.

                                                                    Prison Widow UK

Monday, 7 April 2014

Prison Should Not Be 'Acceptable' - From Anonymous

Hello. My partner of 14 years is in prison and will be released in 2017. Never in a month of Sunday's will I excuse what he did no matter what the circumstances were. I visit him in prison and I will support him but only on my terms and I have laid the law down to him. People might think I am being hard, but I couldn't care less. He isn't in prison because he made a 'mistake' he is in prison because he broke the law and knew he was breaking the law when he committed the crime. I miss him, of course I do, but I still have to work to pay the bills and keep our roof, as well as bringing up our two children who are 7 and 9.
I don't usually bother with prisoners families groups but I feel I need to speak about a few things since I read the post called, "stop being soft." I visit my partner once a month now since he moved prisons. I have queued up in reception and got myself a cup of coffee and a couple of snacks for the children. Lately, I met a young mum with her 9 year old daughter, the same age as my little girl. Both our kids played outside whilst we were waiting and I was mortified when my daughter told me that the other little girl had told her that her Dad was always in prison and it's fun visiting because she had been loads of time. Call me a snob, but I am sorry, I don't want my daughter thinking that prison is fun. Don't get me wrong, I don't want her frightened, but on the other hand I don't want her thinking that it is okay where her daddy is, because it isn't. What I would like to know is, am I a minority with my way of thinking because as I previously said, I do visit my partner in prison and I have spoken to other girlfriends/partners who revolve their life's around visiting. I am not judging anyone, each to their own, but I do feel that the attitude I have is lonesome because I can't find anyone on the same wave length as me to talk to about it. Does anyone else do the tough love approach?

Cameron Launches New Piggy Banks For UK....

Speaks for itself really doesn't it!

Struggling On The Out - From Phil

Dear PFV. My girlfriend reads your blog a lot and told me to email you about the problems I am having after release from prison.I have been out for 5 months and I feel like going back. When you are in prison, everyone talks to you about staying positive and not re-offending. They talk to you like it is a piece of cake back out in society. Get a job and everything will be Okay. But it is not okay because I am getting nowhere fast. I have been for 13 interviews and got rejected. Some places want CRB checks doing and my criminal past flags up and my application ends up in the trash bin. I can feel myself getting lower and lower with it all. My girlfriend keeps telling me to keep trying which I am doing but I think that because I have been in prison no one wants to know. Maybe I am doing something wrong I don't know.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

On Probation Blog: Omnishambles Update 44

On Probation Blog: Omnishambles Update 44: A customer enters a pet shop. Mr. Praline:  'Ello, I wish to register a complaint. (The owner does not respond.) Mr. Praline:  &#...

Red Light Spells Danger - Billy Ocean - For Joan

Birthday shout out for Joan who celebrates her birthday tomorrow! Her daughter Ann-Marie tells PFV that she always reads the blog before she goes to sleep at 10.00pm, so here you go Joan, here's a request from your daughter Ann-Marie wishing you a very happy birthday for tomorrow 7th April! Have a great day Joan from all of us here at Prisoners Families Voices.

Stop Being So Soft! - From Faye

I have been reading Pat's post and think she is absolutely spot on with what she says. My prison visiting experience this week was awful. A little girl was crying clinging on to her mum in the search area and her mum turned around and told her to stop being so f-ing soft because they were ONLY in prison!!!! I thought Jesus Christ, how awful is that and to hear it turned my stomach. The little girl then started crying even more. Poor little un. A lot of money needs ploughing in to some of the communities where children think prison is acceptable and part of life. So very sad.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Prison Is Just One Of Those Things - From' Pat '

Dear Sir or Madam. Hi, I work with youth's who are on the path to prison. I should be politically correct when making a comment about my work, but the truth is, it is like I am banging my head against a brick wall that never crumbles. In fact, I have just made a comment on the Inside Time thread about my feelings. Prison culture is socially acceptable for many youths and children living in deprived areas. A lot of their relatives and friends are already locked up and with a heavy heart I can say that the youths see prison as just one of those things. This county is already in to its third generation of unemployed families living on benefits. Prison is no different. One teenager I work with has a father in prison, a brother in prison and a cousin waiting to be sentenced. When I asked how he felt about this, he just shrugged his shoulders and said, " It doesn't bother me." When I asked him whether it would bother him if he went to prison, he replied, "does it f***"
He visits his dad and brother in prison and goes with his Mum. Once when he went, he told his dad that he had pinched a car and he said his dad laughed and joked if they had driven to the prison in it. The frustrating thing is, the youth is bright and quite well educated. He could amount to something if he veered off the pavements his pals frequent, but magic wands aren't available where I work. His Granddad was once in prison and his mum has spent most of her life queuing up to visit. They know it isn't right but they accept it as being part of their life's. As sad as it may sound, Prison's need people to function and many youths and children are just lining up waiting for a bed.

HMP Forest Bank - Interviews

Hey Guys. I have just seen your Twitter feed on Forest Bank and I went for an interview for the post of Operational Support Officer which I was told there were 20 jobs going and jobs also going in the healthcare department, custody officers and accounts. I booked time off work to attend just after 6.00pm and I haven't had note that I hadn't been successful which obviously I haven't because the post starts on Monday 7th April.

HMP Forest Bank - Sodexo

A friend of PFV attended an interview at the famous candy floss factory AKA HMP Forest Bank, run by Sodexo, a few weeks ago. Considering this is a massive company, it appears they cannot even acknowledge individuals who have not been successful with their interviews. Having said that, 'something' doesn't sit right with the amount of vacancies advertised for Forest Bank of late. There haven't been any recent expansions so the answer would be that people are leaving for whatever reason. I am an ex prisoner myself and have stayed in there. I have always said that the place is like a dis-organised youth club with clueless ex Macdonald's staff playing prison officers. (Nothing against Macdonalds by the way, but you get the picture)
My comment to the person who has not been informed that they hadn't got the job at Forest Bank was:
"Move on, the place is a complete ****-hole anyway." When people book time off work to attend interviews, the least this Mickey Mouse factory could do is notify people they haven't got the job and thank them for attending. Trust me, they need thanking for even stepping foot in to the reception area! Stuart D Admin