Hi there guys. I have emailed you before and thought I'd write in to you again. I am an ex offender myself and started committing crime at the young age of 12. I was put in to a children's home and worked my way through HMP. When I was in a young offenders institute, I made 'friends' of a word with other offenders more advanced than myself, again, if that's the right word. To become part of their gang, I bull shitted by bigging myself up to fit in with the rest of them. It was easier to be accepted in prison and get along with the others. Once out of the young offenders prison, I committed more crime on a larger scale because it was pretty cool to be inside for armed robbery rather than shoplifting. Yeah it sounds bad, real bad, but that was the way it was. I ended my criminal career at the age of 40. That's bad too I know but I have finally grown up and I live to tell other youngsters my stories. From the age of 12 to 40, my life was spent indoors. I had no holidays, no real girlfriends, no prospects and no self respect. People who have been in prison share different experiences. I did come across people that spent just 1 sentence inside and never returned. For others like me, it was our home. I coped in prison and I have to be honest about that to the kids I speak to, but I don't big it up, I go down a different route telling them how the majority of life has been wasted. I have other personal stories but it would take me ages to write, so maybe another time. There is one thing I can tell you though. I did prison when prison was prison. I slopped out and spent hours reading because a TV in those days was a big big no no. No TV's for us! But these days, those stories don't exist, so I have to go down another route to educate kids. I visited a lad in prison about three months ago and he couldn't have give two shits where he was which was soul destroying. I agree with anonymous dad that something is very wrong in the justice system these days. Like I said, it never bothered me to go back because I had nothing here on the out, but for those with good supportive families behind them, it is tragic. I'm rambling here so I hope I make sense. If I can help in anyway please email me and I'd be happy too. Respect to you for giving people a platform to speak out. Ste.