For Chris Grayling - By Ex Prisoner

Dear ED. What a great site by the way! I am an ex offender/prisoner and can only tell it the way it is. Prison, Probation and the little amount of help and support the UK has for ex prisoners cannot and will not help anyone rehabilitate and I speak from experience. The rehabilitation process lies solely with oneself. The NO 1 main source of support came from my family and without them I wouldn't be where I am today, which is settled and working full time in a job I enjoy. I count my blessings every day. But for many ex offenders/prisoners, they actually rely on the tiny percentage of help and support that is out here and many fail hence they wander back through the prison gates.
I went in to the prison system addicted to drugs and I will be truthful in saying that I used drugs inside too. I suppose you could rightfully say that that was my own fault and you would be right in saying that too. But there is a but. Let me ask your readers an honest question here.... would you rehome an alcoholic in to a pub? The question in my humble opinion answers itself, so then you have to question why a drug addict would be put in to a prison cell with another drug addict who has no intention of coming of the drugs and smokes it openly in front of you in such a confined area. I was an addict so therefore of course I smoked drugs socially in prison. I remember when the courts gave me a custodial sentence and the Judge said that in prison, I would hopefully receive the help I needed. The Judge obviously was and probably still is extremely unaware of how prisoners operate in prison and of course the temptation that hits you in the face more or less on the first day of becoming a prisoner in HMP. What I am really saying is this. There is NO SUCH THING AS REHABILITATION when in prison. It doesn't exist. Empty beds need to be filled like any other business, and the revolving doors will be there for many years to come. Some might well say that prisons have work shops and education etc, which is true, but then and again they have too to be seen to be doing something that reaches the public eye. Put a TV camera in a few cells and let the public see the real picture that stands in its frame. One of the most piss-take programmes I have watched was the Strangeways documentary where prisoner David Charlton was exposed. Everyone I spoke to about that certain programme talked about David Charlton and HOW FUNNY he was. People tuned in just to watch his antics, but antics aside, let the cameras film prisoners tooting Heroin in their cells and let the cameras film prisoners begging for money on the phone to put towards their next fix. What you see on TV is bull crap. They show the general goings on and it doesn't shock people one bit. Prison documentaries are blank canvases... there is no real picture.

                                                          To Be Continued.....