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.