Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Prison Pen Pal Horror - From Anonymous

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

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

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

Phone Bill Or Prison Visit? - From Prisoners Partner

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

Breaking Away - From Rosanne

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

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

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

Pipe Dream Prison Escape

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

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

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

Monday, 22 September 2014

Lifer Wife - From Anonymous

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

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

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

Friday, 19 September 2014

Police Phobia - From Anonymous Mother

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

Arrest After 96-Year-Old Dies At Care Home

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

Financial Gain - From Anon

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

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

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

Thursday, 18 September 2014

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

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

Breaking Away - From Anonymous

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

Dealing With Prison - From Mum

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

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

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

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

Monday, 15 September 2014

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

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

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Retailer Phones 4u 'Forced Into Administration'

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

My Mum Is In Prison - From A Teenage Blog Reader

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

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

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

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Jurassic Grayling

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

Is My Dad In Prison? - From Heather

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, 12 September 2014

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Acts of Despair… Suicide in Prison

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Acts of Despair… Suicide in Prison: The latest annual report issued by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) makes very grim reading. Even the title – A Rising Toll of Des...

Prison Visit Decisions - By Partner Of Prisoner

Hey guys hope you are all doing well!
I would really like to respond to a post written by someone who is in mixed minds to take her child on a prison visit. I have been through this dilemma and it is a tough one.
My lad is now 5 and he was 3 when I took him to see his dad. I told him a fib saying that we were visiting him at work for a few hours because that's the way I dealt with it at the time.
When he is older I will tell him the truth but for now, it doesn't distress my son, my partner or me when we visit.
I cannot advise anyone else to do this because it is a very personal decision when in this situation but for me at this moment in time, it works and it keeps the peace. It isn't ideal I know but that is the way we as a family prefer it at the moment. I just wanted to let the person know that she isn't the first person in this dilemma and sadly she won't be the last. Please tell the person that I am thinking about them and I hope the decision they make works. 

GDS Diary On The Inside - Part 39

Please do excuse me for not writing this morning. Jeez? What is wrong with me? Excusing myself to a diary? Well, yes you see its part of me. Words are the semen of a creation and as in all creators what you create sometimes you need to say sorry! Today saw the UK Border Agency and translated for couple of people. Good for one not so good for another. You see in here one becomes the dregs of society. Imagine I have a £2.5 million confiscation order wrongly imposed, but don’t even have 45p for a TV guide! Quite remarkable but it’s OK because life is about surviving when things get tough and simply moving on. I miss my wife so much but can’t let that feeling effect my life, what there is of it, because if I do it’s over. Wednesday 6 August 2014 08.15pm – Some good news today. Cannot, really say much more but hopefully soon things may move forward. Was translating today at the healthcare unit and it was nice talking to the doctor who is a really nice man and extremely humane. Tonight have bit of headache because I caught a good bit of sun so will take some aspirin. Have not been able to call anyone, simply, no money on phone account and things here not good for working. Yes I do a lot of good work but its unpaid which is OK with me and I have always helped people with or without money so it’s OK but it means cannot really do anything and only through kindness of people can I survive which I do. The time will become – I Giovanni Di Stefano.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Jon's Jail Journal (by Shaun Attwood): 1: Shaun Attwood Q&A London Sep 2014 Interesting T...

Jon's Jail Journal (by Shaun Attwood): 1: Shaun Attwood Q&A London Sep 2014 Interesting T...

To Visit Or Not To Visit? - From Vicky

I was reading a post on your blog about a lady feeling that she is a criminal because her husband is in prison.
I feel the same especially when I visit my partner in prison.
Our little girl is only 18 months old and will be 5 when her dad is released from prison. 
She may only be 18 months old but she knows something is wrong. I haven't taken her to visit her dad yet because I don't know how this will affect her as she has always been a daddy's girl so I don't know how she will react when we have to leave the visits room. I just don't know what to do but I can't deny her from seeing him because he is her dad and he wants to see his little girl too. The prison my partner is in is such a long distance from where we live and I have to take in to account how our daughter will be on the way home. She still cries for her daddy now when she gets upset so to take her away from him at the end of a visit is going to be very painful plus she will not understand the situation because she is too young.
I know people can't advise me what to do because the decision is mine etc but it is such a very hard decision to make and I was just wondering if any or some of your blog readers have been in my shoes and how they coped with making that decision. Love Vicky.

PFV: Please reply to Vicky via our email contact featured at the top of our page.

Wallace and Gromit ‘sex tape’ released (Sorry for ruining your childhood)

No prizes for guessing why this unseen footage of Wallace & Gromit has been locked up in a vault for the past 17 years. The raunchy ‘sex tape’ which also features Wallace’s love interest Wendolene, takes inspiration from another British classic, the Carry On films, and the results are… interesting. What were Nick Park and the people at Aardmann Animations thinking? Complete transparency – they weren’t, because Carry On Wallace & Gromit is a fan made video written and directed by Blake Neale, who by his own (or rather, Wallace’s) admission has ‘too much time on his hands’.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Prison Regimes: Where the Cracks are Showing

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Prison Regimes: Where the Cracks are Showing: Each prison in the UK runs on a timetable – usually called ‘the regime’ – and this determines what is supposed to be happening at any time ...

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Bored child faceplants on sofa while his parents talk to Obama in the Oval Office

Everyone can remember that feeling of soul-destroying boredom that you experience as a child when you’re forced to do things you don’t want to. But few pictures have ever encapsulated that feeling quite like this one. When a retiring Secret Service agent and his wife were invited to speak with Barack Obama in the Oval Office, the couple’s young son was offered the chance to go face-to-face with the world’s most powerful man. He opted instead to go face-to-face with a sofa at the White House.

On Probation Blog: In a Spin

On Probation Blog: In a Spin: For various reasons I haven't got around to preparing much for today, so in order to fill the gap, here's something I put together o...

The day I became a criminal - from a prisoners wife

"That's the woman over there whose husband was on the front of the newspaper yesterday!"
I heard all the Mother's in the school yard talking about me yet no one came over and asked me my side of the story. There's always two sides to a story isn't there? Not according to the press and definitely not according to the public.
'John' was sent to prison in 2011. I'd rather not say what for, but he will be spending a rather long time at Her Majesty's Pleasure.
The first time I visited 'John' I was absolutely petrified and the Prison officers didn't make my daunting experience any easier.
One of them scanned my passport and scrutinised my face like I was a drug smuggler. I felt like I was stood in front of a Custom's officer at the airport ready to be hauled off and locked in to a room to be interrogated.
After the prison officer was happy with my passport photo, he told me to take off my rings and watch and put everything I had in my hand with them in a grey plastic tray. Other family visitors watched on as I struggled to yank off my wedding ring. They may as well have asked me to take all my clothes off too because there was no dignity stood there having piercing eyes looking you up and down like a prostitute stood in a shop window. 
I didn't know what to expect on my first prison visit but I didn't expect this.
Sure I knew that there would be some sort of security measures in place for prison visitors, but I did not think that I would be labelled a criminal.
I was scum wasn't I? Scum because I was visiting a prisoner who I happened to be married to and needed answers from him myself. He gave his 'story' to the Judge and I wanted mine. After 13 years of marriage, he owed me that at least.
One day he was my husband - the next day he was a prisoner.
I know he is still my husband, but the man and wife thing is so much different now. One cannot continue the way you were. Everything changes.
Yes there are phone calls, letters and visits - and what? My Husband doesn't bring a wage home anymore nor does he sleep by my side, nor can he contribute to the ever flowing bills that pop through my letter-box. 
The day my Husband was sent to prison was the day I became I criminal.
A criminal not in the sense that I have broken the law, but a criminal because I am married to one. Mother's in the school yard don't speak to me anymore. I have lost friends and the social outings we used to go on with other married couples. My family have even stopped being their bubbly selves around me. It is almost as if they are walking on egg-shells when I am in their company. And I feel 'different' too. I feel very different indeed. 
I still visit my husband in prison. He is not the same man - and I am not the same woman. 

My Dad In Prison - From Anonymous

Hi, I am looking for some support please. My Dad is in prison and I go visiting him a lot and write to him every day. I miss him loads.
My Mum and Dad are still together but I have just found out that my Mum is seeing someone which has just broke my heart completely.
She said that she can no longer put her life on hold and that she is going to write to Dad and tell him that it is over between them. My Dad doesn't get released from prison until 2019.
I am dreading going visiting Dad once he gets the letter from Mum. I don't know what to do. You can print my email but please don't give my name out. 

PFV COMMENT - PFV has sent the young lady a list of support groups within her area. 

And Meanwhile In London....

A man was caught escaping from HMP taking some of the prison wall with him!

Mother's Prison Secret - From ANON

Hi Guys. I'm researching everything to do with prison because at the age of 30 I have just found out that my Father was a life sentenced prisoner.
I grew up without my Dad, and Mum always told me and my brother that they had split up when I was 3 and my brother was 1. Growing up both me and my brother always asked Mum where we could find him and she always used to say that he had gone living in another country and that they had lost touch. 
It was only since my Mum passed away 6 months ago that my Aunt told me and my brother the full story.
My Father still might be in prison I don't know as I am still getting over the shock yet and haven't tried to find his whereabouts. My Brother doesn't want to know and his happy with his family and says that he doesn't wish to know about him which is his choice so that's fair enough. But I feel now is the time to try and find my Father. My Aunt has given me his name and I am about to start doing some work this week to track him down. My Aunt told me why he was or is still in prison and I am mortified but I feel that I need to see him and know more about him. No offence to any of your readers but I always looked down on criminals and never thought anything like this would be the outcome. As far as I knew my Father was in another country and that was that. Mum never spoke of him and I was always cut short and silenced whenever I asked Mum about him.
Would it be OK to ask your readers if they or anyone they know has been through a similar thing? I suppose it's not a common thing but I would like to hear from someone who maybe has found out the truth about a parent who has been in prison and it has been kept a secret from them. Thanks ANON 

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Prison Food… Glorious Food?

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Prison Food… Glorious Food?: No doubt based on the use of the term ‘doing porridge’ as a popular English euphemism for serving a prison sentence, there is a widespread ...

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Going To Prison Because We Have Too - From Michael

Dear Prisoners Families Voices.
I have been a big follower of your blog more or less since it started.
I have been wanting to share my story for some time.
In 2009 I was homeless and living on the streets. I felt ashamed having to beg for money but it was my only way of survival. In Summer I would sleep in the graveyard and in shop doors. 
Winter was another story. I am very very ashamed to say that in Winter I would become a local nuisance and shop-lift in order to get myself arrested and hopefully get sent to prison. Prison was a shelter for me and although I deeply regret what I did, I had to survive.
I am back on my feet now and have a job and my own place but I often talk to those on the streets in the same situation I was once in.
I ask them what they do in Winter and many of them say that they intentionally get themselves in prison either for shop-lifting or breach of the peace.
Years ago people wouldn't dare pinch a penny sweet in case they got hauled off in to a Police van but nowadays human beings are deliberately thieving so that they can experience the warmth of a Police or prison cell. I often despair and think where do we go from here? Your blog is a wonderful site by the way and please do keep it going. With regards Michael. 

Identity of Jack The Ripper finally ‘revealed’ with the help of DNA evidence

DNA evidence has uncovered the identity of Jack The Ripper, and it’s none of the romantic suspects – such as the Queen’s surgeon Sir William Gull, or artist Walter Sickert. The most infamous serial killer in history has been identified as a relatively underwhelming Polish madman called Aaron Kosminski, who was committed to a mental asylum at the height of the Ripper hysteria. Kosminski was actually a suspect at the time of the murders, even named by Chief Inspector Donald Swanson in notes the policemen made, but as the myth and legend of the murders grew over more than 125 years, so too did the list of more fanciful suspects. The breakthrough came when a scientist, using cutting-edge technology, matched DNA evidence on a shawl found at one of the crime scenes with descendants of Kosminski. Dr Jari Louhelainen, a Finnish expert in historic DNA, was brought in to study a shawl found with Mary Eddowes, the second-last ‘confirmed’ victim of the Ripper, whose body was discovered in Mitre Square on September 30.

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Prison Pests (2): The Screw-Boy

Prison UK: An Insider's View: Prison Pests (2): The Screw-Boy: There are many different ways of getting through a prison sentence. Some prisoners rebel against the system through various acts of disobed...

Working For HC-One - By Prison Widow UK

What an experience it was working for Chai Patel CBE! Jesus Christ Almighty!
I worked in one of his care homes for approximately three years and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting some marvelous individuals. It was a great pleasure offering my services to the many dementia patients I worked with.
The carers were and still are fabulous but the company? They couldn't run a piss-up in a brewery! 
For 12 months I was shouting out for extra staff for those carers and yes I have documents to prove it. They are all stacked away nicely on my pen drive.
Usually when shit hits the fan, the carers get the brunt of it, but oh no, that doesn't wash with me. I have seen carers kicked, punched, head-butted, scratched, spat-at, crying because they are exhausted because the staffing levels are so poor and I have seen carers resign from this piss poor company because they could take no more. A damn shame.
Families and relatives of those wonderful people we care for have openly sobbed in front of me because they were losing their loved-ones cream-of-the-crop carers. HC-One couldn't give a monkey's who comes and goes because when you hand in your notice, it is simply accepted and if you expect a 'thank you' then you will be highly disappointed. 
I could literally write a book on my experience working for this bunch and I could definitely pen a comedy sitcom - although my experiences were far from being funny. Quite frankly I was disgusted and given that this company is on the verge of collapse, I would do a TV interview with anyone about it tomorrow! 
Dr Chai Patel gave an interview when he bought out Southern Cross:

'I'll treat residents just like my mother': Priory boss's pledge as he takes over Southern Cross homes Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2016260/Ill-treat-residents-just-like-mother-Priory-bosss-pledge-takes-Southern-Cross-homes.html#ixzz3Cd1dNFvu Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Bull-shit! When there are only two carers working on a dementia unit that houses 30 residents, where exactly is this man coming from?
It didn't happen all the time but it happened frequently I can tell you that much.
I would like to know why this company never acted upon my emails when I complained about staff shortages? Profit maybe? Less carers = more profit?
There must be a valid reason because I sent enough emails! In fact, I had a meeting once with one of his senior managers who told me in no-uncertain terms that they would not be increasing staffing levels! I remember it well.
It is only when shit hits the fan that this lot bother let me tell you, and it just does not wash with me. It is pitiful watching them trying to make amends with worn-out care workers who are on the brink of collapse themselves! 
The reviews left over on the job recruitment sites Glassdoor and Indeed paint a grim picture of this health-care provider and if you have a spare minute, Google the previous health-care businesses Mr Patel has owned. Interesting reads! 
I challenge Dr Chai Patel and Prison Widow head to head on Sky News.
If you are interested, drop me an email! 




Profiting With Prisoners? - From Anonymous

Just like traffic wardens having to ticket so many cars a week, I am wondering whether probation officers work on the same basis? 
I have just been released from prison and met some guys who had been recalled to prison for the most ridiculous things. In fact I'd say they were in there to fill beds and we all know that empty beds make no money don't we? 

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Prison UK: An Insider's View: One of the Two Tribes: the Screws

Prison UK: An Insider's View: One of the Two Tribes: the Screws: UK prisons are very tribal societies. There are the most obvious divisions between prisoners (‘cons’ or offenders) and everyone else who wo...

Friday, 5 September 2014

Advice For Janley - From An Ex-Con

 I think there could be several possible reasons for your nephew’s current attitude. Maybe he is full of teenage bravado. At that age, many lads think they are invincible and indestructible. They feel the need to ‘big it up’ and play the man, particularly in front of family. That doesn’t mean that in their pads (cells) at night they don’t feel fear, regret, sadness and the pain of separation from loved ones and friends. In a locked pad, on their own, believe me some of these lads cry like little kids, but they’d never admit it. The second possibility is that your nephew is trying to put a brave face on it. We’ve all done that, believe me. As a prisoner you feel guilty about what’s happened, and for all the stress this is causing the family, so the last thing you want to do is make them feel even more worried for you. “Everything’s fine, mum. It’s great here!” Take it with a pinch of salt. If he is doing well, then great, but don’t really believe that being in a YOI is “cool”. It’s not. The third possibility is that he really has made friends inside. YOIs tend to be very tribal and lads from the same hometown or area often group together for mutual support and protection. Maybe he's met someone he knew from outside. Lads of his age are also looking for male role models – he’s still a kid and still has to finish growing up. As long as this group isn’t some kind of gang, he’s probably going to be OK. I’ve worked in adult prisons with loads of young lads who’ve come up from YOIs and those who were popular and had mates around them seem to have come through it without too much trouble or bullying. My advice is you know him best. Don’t judge him on how he seems at the moment. Hopefully you have a strong enough relationship that he’d let you know if anything really is going badly wrong inside. I would advise holding off judgement until he gets back home. Then he can tell you the full story, good and bad.

And You Call Yourselves Carers? : Carer's Must Grow A Backbone!

And You Call Yourselves Carers? : Carer's Must Grow A Backbone!: I'm a published writer and left my job in a care home two months ago. After every shift, I would come home, relax in the bath, and ...