A Complicated Life - By Prisoner Ben Gunn

Having expended so many words when my keepers have not fulfilled my (high) expectations, it would be dishonest of me not to reveal the opposite.

Having got myself nicked just to get space in the Block in order to starve myself to death, staff could have responded in any one of several ways.

They could have ignored me, merely fed me into the bureaucracy that comprises suicide-prevention measures. They could have adopted an entrenched position as if I was on hunger-strike. Or they could have packed me off to become another prison problem. And these were my expectations, based on decades of experienced cynicism.

It was a surprise then that one or two staff took the time to actually talk and listen and try to get some small grip on my threadbare psyche. They decided that they could help me to "sort my head out", with the leeway given by senior management.

And so I find myself still in the block, but now employed as the resident cleaner. (Hmm, manual labour!?!) The idea being that this helps give me a break from the usual prison grind that was so corroding me, time to gather my inner resources to keep ploughing on with this sentence. Those of you who were dusting off your black armbands will just have to be patient!

There may be hope yet. Even though staff are as constrained by the carceral machine nearly as much as I, they did manage to find a space within the grinding bureaucracy of prison to be human.

Alas, that means that you have to put up with me for a little longer...