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

On Probation Blog: More on Bidding

On Probation Blog: More on Bidding: This is a key time as bidders try and decide whether to proceed or not, so here's a few more bits and pieces on the topic:- Now Grayp...

Friday, 4 April 2014

If He Only Had A Brain - From Andy (ex prisoner)

Chris Crayling Quote: QUOTE: Justice secretary Chris Grayling said: "It is not right that some prisoners appear to be spending hours languishing in their cells and watching daytime television, while the rest of the country goes out to work.

Dear Editor. I read your blog a lot whilst I was in prison. My wife like the serving prisoner who writes for your blog, printed out and posted me the material on your site. I wonder if Mr Grayling bans that now?
Chris Grayling did state that it is not right that some prisoners appear to be spending hours in their cells watching daytime TV while the rest of the country to go work. That's fair enough but his Government and The Prison Service force prisoners in to their cells to watch daytime TV especially of a weekend as recently quoted by the writing prisoner on your blog. If Grayling doesn't think it is right, then Grayling should do something about should he not? The wide majority of the public would in fact say that all prisoners should be locked in their cells all day. If he doesn't want this and he, his buddy Nick Clegg, want to ban books, then what the ******** hell does the Government propose prisoners do? For one, there is a waiting list for prison jobs. If you are lucky enough to get a prison job then you are opened up. If you aren't, you are banged up behind your door and it is as simple as that. This man does not do himself any favours whatsoever. He is making himself look dense and so out of touch he is becoming a standing joke. My wife does e-learning courses for her job. Why don't the government do something similar if they don't want prisoners lounging in their cells watching Jeremy Kyle and the other many tedious day time programmes. Mr Grayling, they have no choice pal so therefore it is down to you to start giving prisoners a choice if you do not think it is right. It was what you get paid for Sir! And on that note, I would just like to congratulate you on an excellent site. Makes a change from the many boring ones on the web! Respect, Andy.

Aren't Cons Daft - From Lissi

The aren't cons daft posts really make me laugh out loud so I thought I would share mine with you.
My partner is being released on Monday 16th June 2014. I asked him on the phone, " so when is it you are released?" He replied, " Monday 16th June." Then he said, " What day is that?" I just burst out laughing! From Lissi

Glorified Security Officers - From Annie

Petrified Child On Prison Visit 

RE: Above Link

When I read the post about the petrified child during a search I was fuming. My boyfriend was in a private prison run by Sodexo and when I visited him there, some of the custody officers, or should I say glorified security guards in a prison uniform, were idiots. I was stood in a line waiting for the sniffer dog to do his job and the dog handler actually indicated to the dog were to stop because he bounced a ball! Since my boyfriend has been moved to a proper HMP, I have found the prison officers far more professional and even explain to the children what the dog does. I am sorry for the child and hope he or she recovers from the visit experience. You are also right about no one does anything if you complain anyway because many are scared to speak up. I also agree that you should be giving your readers the names of the prisons.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

From The Inside - Part 3

Here we go again. The word is finally out about the book ban as I have probably mentioned before in a previous letter. I don't know how other prisons operate, but the one here where I am, bang up of a weekend is about 17.15pm after tea and that's that until you are opened up at 8.15am. That's Saturday and Sunday is pretty much the same. So we are banged up for roughly 14 hours a day of a weekend. I like to read as to a few others. Books pass time, especially of a weekend. Those 14 hours could be used as educational time for prisoners whilst holed up. Instead, many will be engrossed in Lara Croft or whatever the latest console game is right now. Of course it passes time, but it is not constructive. They may as well be home on tag doing the same in my humble opinion. Feet up, smoking a cig with a warm brew and a few snacks playing a game with a tag on ones ankle would save the tax payers a fortune. Many in prison rely on their games. That's their choice and it passes time for them. As for me, I rely on books to pass my time. So what is going on? How on earth can the Ministers and MP's back this insane ban? It's like putting Sonic the Hedgehog in schools and taking away books. I'm tired tonight so my apologies for this being a short and sweet letter. I'd better get my head down and listen to the heavy taps of the games console remote. Happy days in HMP!

                                                                 From A Serving Prisoner

Grayling To Ban Booze At Open Prison's.....

Hmmm, so what are prisoners supposed to do now on association?

Petrified Child On Prison Search - From Claire

Hi to all. I thought I'd email you because I have not long been back from a prison visit and what I saw was disgusting and bang out of order. I hope the idiot of a prison officer/dog handler is bloody proud of himself. I was stood on the line in the search area as we do and behind me was a mother and a little girl about 5 or 6 years old. She was petrified and her mother tried to calm her down. As she did the arrogant pig of a screw shouted out loud for the mother to stop and to stand still with their arms down beside them. This made the little one even worse to which I then told the screw he was bang out of order only to be told by him to shut up or else I wouldn't be allowed in. There's no point complaining because no one does anything anyway so I thought I'd write to you because you have a load of readers so please publish this if you can and my name is Claire which you can publish. I know you tend to keep prison names a secret but you want to start exposing them! Love to all Claire.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

One Big Joke - From Jason

Howdi! Love the posts from the prisoner by the way! No guesses which prison he is in but I have a feeling which one lol. OK, right, Mr Grayling, that's who I want to talk about. The main man who is screwing the system up even worse than what it is! I am an ex con myself and here is a quote of Graylings just a few months ago:

QUOTE: Justice secretary Chris Grayling said: "It is not right that some prisoners appear to be spending hours languishing in their cells and watching daytime television, while the rest of the country goes out to work.

Well what the bloodyhell does he expect now he is taking away books from prisoners in which some of them need to bloody well educate themselves so that they have a chance to go straight? I learned to read and write inside and I was 30 before I could do it! I have a job now and I pay my way just like thousands of other tax payers! The idiot doesn't want cons to be sat watching daytime TV but bans books and gives cons game consoles to play on! Ha ha ha don't make me laugh Grayling, but then you already have because you are one big fat joke pal! Mint blog by the way. Well done!

From The Inside - Part 2

From The Inside Part 1

I am just about to pen to paper wondering and pondering on what to write here in my cell. From what I have clippings I have read here which my partner has so kindly sent in to me, it appears that your blog site focuses on families of prisoners and the struggles they face. I have never been a 'victim' of lost property but many where I am have. The prison in which I am locked away in doesn't appear to bother about missing items that families have kindly booked in and bought from their own pockets. I m fully aware that some prisoners have banged their head against a brick wall and have been well and truly shafted, families even more so, as they are the one's left out of pocket. You don't need the brains of Einstein to know that once a relative books in clothing and footwear items in to the property department, prisoners cannot possibly get their hands on the goods. which leads to one question - just where have the items gone? How hard is it to 'misplace' a pair of training shoes? Before I continue with this letter, I will give you a clue as to which prison I am in. It is a private male prison, so I guess that eliminates quite a few establishments. I have requested that Prisoners Families Voices tell you which one after all 8 articles have been published. The prison have no need to scramble through their mail bags as all 8 articles are now in the hands of the blog site administrator.
Referring back to the property problem, this doesn't happen all the time, but it does happen. Some of the prison custody officers will say that it is a possibility that there are inmates with the same name and that the property has been given to the wrong individual. I find that difficult to believe as maybe their are inmates with the same name, but there aren't prisoners with the same prisoner ID number, plus if this was the case, why don't the prison officers retrieve the goods from the individual who is not entitled to them? I presume that relatives have to fill out a form and enter their signature when booking in property, which would display the prisoners name and prisoner ID number. The more I think about it, the more I am sat here chuckling at the feeble excuses spewed to our faces. I'd walk around in my socks, it doesn't bother me, but if my partner had kindly spent x amount of money from her wage and bought me a pair of good decent trainers and they went missing, I too would be furious. Other than that, I don't see the point of wearing expensive trainers in prison. These places have become fashion shows lately. Bring back a prison uniform and be off with the property bollocks, and that is from someone who is writing this sat in prison. It would save a lot of families money and the hassle and stress of items going missing. Most working people wear uniforms, so why don't prisoners? I know that some prison's have uniforms, but these private prisons anything goes.

                                                         TOMORROW PART 3 

Media Request

Hi Prison Family Voices, I hope this finds you well and that you are able to help me with my request.I am an Assistant Producer working on a TV documentary based in London about the families of offenders and thought that your team might be able to help me in my research. I see from looking at your blog and your twitter feed you are a place where families can voice their issues and comments. What I was wondering is if it is possible to put up a post or a tweet or ideally both to see if any families in the London area would be willing to talk to us about their experiences. Our documentary hopes to look at the experiences of women (and men) partners and parents on the ‘outside’, to talk about the pressures, both emotional and financial, they face; and the impact a prison sentence has on a relationship. We’re also keen to explore the similar pressures for the men in prison – and we plan to look at how having a partner on the ‘outside’ can reduce the likelihood of re-offending. We would be very grateful if you could post something along the lines of: A London based documentary are looking for families of prisoner to talk about their experiences. We would like to do a couple of hours filming to show what life is like for families. Our film is a sensitive and empathetic piece. The filming can be anonymous and we are happy to accept video diaries and interviews on smart phone footage. If you are interested in getting involved and available during the next week please email Sophie on

Monday, 31 March 2014

Prison books row: justice secretary could face legal action, says lawyer

Leading human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC intervenes against Chris Grayling as Nick Clegg backs book-sending ban. Campaigners fighting the Ministry of Justice over a ban on books being sent to prisoners on Monday threatened to take their battle to the courts. The leading human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC, who has offered his services for free, said legal action could be taken against the justice secretary Chris Grayling for acting "unlawfully and irrationally". His intervention came as Nick Clegg said he would be the first to demonstrate against a ban on books in prison, but insisted that the new policy did not amount to such a ban.Robertson said it could be argued that Grayling was breaching the 1688 Bill of Rights by taking it upon himself, as a politician and not a judge, to inflict "cruel and unusual punishment" on literate prisoners.

More Support? - From JJ

I am replying to Kim's post, Culture Change.
I have a hubby in prison and I know what she means in the sense that no one can really do a lot for us and the help for prisoners children is dire. I visit my hubby a lot and I have seen a few distressing things in the visitors room. I have seen screws jumping on visitors because they have brought drugs in and I have seen people physically ill in there. I got a bit emotional with the post from a serving prisoner which I think is brilliant by the way and looking forward to his next post tomorrow. I have seen cancer patients on prison visits and they get no compassion whatsoever where I visit. The screws are arrogant and I get on with none of them. I don't wanna be their best pals or anything but a bit of politeness wouldn't go a miss, but I've stopped trying to smile now so that's that. We, families, do get on with it because we haven't any choice so I get Kim's view on that. I plod on with it because I am old enough to understand but in my opinion, kids, elderly and innocent prisoners families should get more support because there is none. Rant over :-) love JJ

Support Still Needed - By Anon

Hi. Please can I respond to the post about culture change by Kim. I disagree with Kim in many ways. I prison visit too and yes there is a culture change but that doesn't mean that there aren't people who don't need support just because they appear to be coping whilst visiting someone in prison. Your blog PFV alone covers many stories about children, disabilities and dementia for example, and these issues will not change whether there is a culture change or not. Sorry but I so disagree with Kim's post. Please don't publish my name. Thanks.

Culture Change? - From Kim

Dear Sir or Madam. I went to visit my partner in prison on Friday night and sat in the visitors centre. Everyone got on with what they were doing and the kids seemed to be comfortable with everything. Young Mum's went to the toilet and freshened themselves up, spraying perfume and putting on lipstick to get ready to see their boyfriends. I hate to say this but looking at the future culture, I cannot see any need for prisoners families groups and was wondering exactly what their need would be. I know people who run your blog and other groups work very hard supporting people, but we have entered a culture change and when I talk to other people, they do not seem shocked or stunned when I tell them my partner is in prison as most of them reply that they too know someone who is or has been in prison. You might disagree with me on this, and there are probably quite a few people needing support, but eventually this will fizzle out in years to come. I am not saying that prison is the norm or anything like that, I am just observing a few things when I visit prison. Most of the problems I have had have been centered around my partner and his issues in prison which I am totally powerless to do anything about because if you write to the prison they never ever reply anyway. Sorry, it's just my opinion on things after I looked around and saw what I saw. From Kim.

On Probation Blog: Strike Pics

On Probation Blog: Strike Pics

BEN'S PRISON BLOG - Lifer On The Loose: A Legal Persecution

BEN'S PRISON BLOG - Lifer On The Loose: A Legal Persecution: My friend Farah There are few more tormenting calls to receive than one from a prison payphone; especially for people who have been on...

From The Inside - By A Serving Prisoner

For obvious reasons, the identity of the prisoner who is writing for us is kept anonymous. But here is an insight of what he thinks of some of the posts that have been featured on Prisoners Families Voices. Here is the first article:

Dear Prisoners Families Voices. May I start by saying a grateful thank you for the support you are continuing to give freely to my partner. I am a serving prisoner in Her Majesty's Prison and will be released in 2017.
Over the past six months, my partner has been sending in clippings from your blog site which have made interesting reading. Please do continue to keep up the excellent informative work.
I would like to share with your readers, my experience of prison visiting from the other side of the table. Before I continue, I would like to add that my articles to you will not necessarily focus on my time inside, but to give your readers an insight of how prisoners feel their families, friends and relatives are feeling. I have asked that once all 8 of my articles have been posted on to the blog site, the Editor has permission to reveal which prison I am currently serving my time in.
I am in the age bracket of between 30-50 years of age. My partner, son, and father, all come to visit me. My father comes once a month, and my partner and son visit once a fortnight, so I consider that as regular family contact of which I am truly grateful for. One topic in particular caught my eye when browsing through the clippings of your blog site in which my partner posted to me, was the subject on dementia. An individual on the wing has much experience of this, as his mother visits him and suffers with the illness. Let me just add by saying that prisoners have to support each other, as there isn't any support network in here for issues surrounding family. Some prisoners help others to read and write. Some listen to those who are in bereavement and others hear and support those with family issues. Sometimes, the wing is one big counselling service because there are no services provided by the prison itself. We have too, of a word, 'get on with it.' Referring back to the individual whose mother has dementia. Many of your readers it seems have asked if the prison officers/custody officers have had training in this particular field. If they have, I have seen no evidence of it in practice. I have been present in the visits room when the individual on my wing had a visit from his mother. She was accompanied by what appeared to be a friend, or maybe sister. During the visit, the lady became extremely agitated and shouted at the prisoner sat facing her. Because the majority of us are ignorant, call it human nature, we stared at the table with the commotion on it. The prisoner, along with the lady accompanying his mother, were anxious, embarrassed, and visibly upset. A prison officer attended to the table and both ladies walked out. The prisoner was then escorted back to the wing.
After my visit, I made a point of finding the prisoner. I know how rotten he must have felt, because you see, I was once a carer for my grandma who eventually passed away with the illness. It appeared that the prison officer didn't ask them to leave. But on the other hand after being told the situation, the two ladies who had travelled just under two hours to see the prisoner, were not offered any other alternative in the form of a quiet room that could have been monitored by someone 'in the know.' They left just 20 minutes in to their visit and may I add, had to travel home on public transport. The prisoner was distraught because his mother's illness had worsened since the last time he saw her, therefore was a shock to his system. Only I had the common decency to talk to the prisoner and hoped I made a difference by sharing my experiences with dementia. We all hear about how someone's partner/friend/stranger even, were caught passing drugs over to a prisoner on a visit and the commotion that goes with it, but we never hear about situations that really do matter such as dementia, disabilities, mental health issues and other obvious illnesses that enter visit rooms. Only the other week, a lady in a vibrant colorful headscarf entered the visits room. The prisoners burst in to tears. It was his mother who was terminally ill with cancer. Again, no privacy, no offers of a single visiting room, no fuck all. I promised myself I wouldn't swear writing these articles for you, but as you can fully understand, it leaves a very bitter taste in your mouth when you witness something as callous as that. And callous it is. I have no issues with the prison officers. In fact, I can honestly say that I am treated well and fairly. But the system do not train their officers to deal with issues I have written about. We have watched endless TV documentaries on prison officers struggling to deal with prisoners suffering with mental health illnesses. Here is a suggestion for any media/TV companies that read your blog site. Try making a documentary on some real issues like dementia, disabilities, cancer, and other illnesses that frequently walk through the doors of visiting rooms. Fuck the boring repetitive documentaries of families and prison officers smuggling drugs in to prison, get your teeth around issues that really matter. Lets be truthfully honest, drugs will always wriggle their way in, they have wormed their way in for years and always will.

                                                            PART 2 TOMORROW 

Cyber Bullying - Friend Under Attack

or the past year now I have been voluntarily giving my time to a cause that I see and deem to be a just one. I am the sole editor of the and have written a number of stories of which I have proof to their worthiness. Over the past few months I have come under incredible cyber-attacks and my personal health and safety have been threatened. The attacks have included accusations that I work for Giovanni Di Stefano aka ‘the devil’s advocate’. Let it be known now that I work for no man, I volunteer my time to do this as I believe in the power of the press and the freedom of information that it brings. I have just stumbled across on twitter an account @Carolinebayfor1 of someone impersonating to be me. Given the language that is used in the chain of tweets and the arrogant use of capital letters I can only understand that it is the same people that has been threatening my health and safety by cyber-attack. Today I attended, again, my local police station and made them aware of this as these people have threatened to come to my home. I also made them aware of the persons I believe who are responsible and have come to the conclusion that the people responsible for these malicious attacks and threats are the same people whose IP addresses I was conveniently able to locate. The association I make between the IP addresses and their location leave only one obvious conclusion, in sharing information via the site I must be doing something right or as the Americans might call it ‘the greater good’. The twitter page actually made me laugh a little bit it makes references to myself in the third person, stating I suffer from mental illness, am a raging alcoholic and am in the mist of chronic depression. When attacks become this personal we must have rattled someone’s cage. Furthermore the fact the cage rattled has not contacted the police about what they are offended by, must mean there is truth as one famous phrase quite rightly said ‘where there’s smoke there’s fire’. Also they have gone as far as creating a website in my name – thank you for letting me have your details.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Job-hunting with a criminal past

Entering the world of work can be difficult for ex-offenders Continue reading the main story Related Stories Criminal record checks to be relaxed 'Past crime stops me finding work' Watch Fraudster calls for more job help A change in the law means thousands of ex-offenders looking for work will have their records wiped far sooner. But what is job-hunting like for those with a criminal past? "All my life I've been in and out of jail, taking from my family and society. I was in for supplying heroin and I've got a history of drug addiction." Released six weeks ago, 47-year-old Londoner Joanne, who does not want to give her full name, has been in prison five times before. On paper she may not be the most employable person, but she is trying to change that. The routine of getting out of bed in the morning and going to a workplace - any workplace - is what she feels she needs to avoid going back to drugs. She would like to work with animals, but says retail or catering is more likely."I can understand that most employers wouldn't want to hire someone with a conviction," says Joanne. But she is hoping to find "that one person" willing to give her a chance.

COMMENT: Nice to see the BBC covering stories as such.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

£80.00 Per Prison Visit - From K

Dear Prison Widow. I have just read your post about your visit last night when you said you were talking to a lady travelling to prison and how much it costs her.
I travel from Liverpool to York and it costs me £80.00 a visit because of the taxi's and bus fares involved not to mention paying for snacks when I get there. I can only manage to see my partner once every two months and I take our 3 children hence why it's costly. The prison is miles out of the way and it's a massive struggle money wise. I sympathise with the lady you were talking you. Love K

Off To The Bin!

The Visit - By Prison Widow UK

I know some of you will cringe when you read this, but it has to be said. Last night I visited a local prison with someone attending a job interview.
I thought I'd go along for the ride and check a few things out - which I did.
It was visiting time there so for a while I stood in the visitor's centre and then I was gasping for a cig, so decided to stand outside for ten minutes and puff away. A minute later, a young gentleman came over to me and asked if I had a spare cig. I gave him a ciggie and we started chatting. He was only a young lad and was waiting for his Sister who was visiting his brother. He then began to tell me that he had been in there - meaning the prison. I asked him what it was like and he said, " It's like a f***** holiday camp in there." His exact words, not mine! He proceeded to tell me that 'the screws weren't really screws, they are just like security guards.' I then asked him if he would go back inside to which he replied, " I wouldn't want to, but if it happens, it happens." So no deterrent I figured. His Sister came out and off home they went. I felt rather deflated that a young man, an educated presentable one at that, wasn't bothered if he had to go back inside. Anyway, I lit another cig and a woman in her late 60's started to chat to me. With her were her young grandchildren aged approx 9 and 12. The ladies husband was in prison. He's in his late 60's too and was in for a driving offence. The woman looked upset and her grandchildren were quiet. It was around 7.00pm and she told me she was waiting for a taxi which would drop her off at the bus stop. From there, she would catch a bus home. When I asked her what time she'd be home, she replied, "about 8.30pm." And the journey to see her husband, taking her grandchildren with her cost her £30.00. That's including the travel fare, snacks from the vending machine for the kids before they enter the visits room and snacks whilst in the visits room. The lady actually didn't live too far away from the prison itself, but because prison's are generally located in remote areas, transport to get there and home is a real ball ache and a strain on the purse. £30.00 for an hours visit is scandalous isn't it, but there are many families who have to spend treble that to visit their loved ones. Grim, very grim indeed.

Books Are Education - From Sandra

Hi Guys. I don't have a partner or family member in prison but I read your blog with fond interest every day. When I heard about the Government ban on books for prisoners, I was astounded. Books are education are they not? Education is what the Government insist on for prisoners isn't it not? Obviously because I don't have a loved one in prison, I don't know the in's and out's of parcels and so forth, but from what I read, it appears that Mr Grayling doesn't know his backside from his elbow. Thanks for giving us all such great reads! Love and best wishes Sandra.