I'm beside myself ... my husband is one of the lifers whose prison was closed because the Government in their 'wisdom' I call it stupidity decided small, lifer prisons were not cost effective or worthwhile. My husband has gone from being an enhanced prisoner in a free flow wing, single cell with limited security (due to his hard work) to HMP Bullingdon a local remand B/C Prison. He is now treated as a B Cat prisoner ( something he experienced 10 years ago when he first started his sentence) has to share a small cell and is banged up for the majority of the time. He has a job but due to the refit of the workshop has not been allowed to work for over 5 weeks, apparently due to the work needing to be 'signed off.' He is treated with little respect and being pushed to his limits - I know that he doesn't react because he wants to come home to me, and that is exactly why he ended up in this prison. He was told that he was sent to Bullingdon (like many others) because he has the most to lose so would just accept the appalling conditions. The Prison didn't want the lifers, they're not equipped and don't have the experience required and it's this that really worries me; if we're not aware of lifer policies and guidelines our partners/husbands will be lost in the system going over tariff unnecessarily. Visits are a nightmare - he comes out wearing a vest!! I have to get to the prison for 10 am for a 2 pm visit. I stand outside in line until the visiting center is open. If I don't get there early I wouldn't get the 1 hour 30 minutes (if we're lucky), it takes so long to process the visitors some late arrivals get 30 minutes. Phone calls are now a problem because he can only phone up until 6.30 pm, I have a full time job and don't get home until after this. Who can afford to phone a mobile whilst trying to pay rent, mortgage etc? How is it fair for a lifer who did all this at the start of his sentence to have to do it all again when he should be working towards open conditions? How is it fair that the prisoners who have excellent records during their sentences have ended up in this terrible place? This is farcical and makes the whole 'rehabilitation' process a sham, it puts immense pressure on relationships and makes the judicial system a joke! From a personal point of view I feel totally useless when my husband phones, he never says anything but I can hear it in his voice when something is up. I feel frustrated and angry that he is being treated like this. I don't know what to do so I'm writing this to bring attention to all the lifers (and their families) who have been sucked back into a system which clearly disregards progress and rehabilitation.
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