Dear Prison WIdow UK. Please mark my name, Anonymous.
I am 41 and have been institutionalised for most of my life. I lived with a number of foster parents from the age from 5 and travelled through the system.
I always kept my head down in prison and whilst serving my time got myself a good education. I have been in prison 17 times.
Every prison sentence I served, I always had the intention of settling down and going straight, but it never happened.
I am at present on licence and it isn't going well. I have never had a job so my CV has no work history on it. It does have 17 years of qualifications though but try explaining to an employer who is baffled why I have never worked a day in my life. Believe me I want to, but I can't get there. I feel depressed, alone and in my negative thoughts may as well go back to what I know best which is prison. I know all the prison officers at the local cat B jail and they obviously know me, but they never judge and I respect them for that.
I have been reading a lot about prison reform and it's not going to happen. Yes the drug culture and prisoners run half of the jails in the UK and I have witnessed appalling bullying and threatening behaviour first hand. Human rights has become a law that more or less entitles some prisoners to take the pi*s. It's happening all over and they breed fear in to some prisoners such as making threats to their families on the outside etc. Yes I have taken drugs in prison in the past and yes I got a beating for owing money. It has been 6 years since I stopped using drugs. With a clear mind and focused observations, I can tell you that prison officers have their work cut out and they are in danger every time they go to work.
Back to me, I'm not an evil person, if anything I am lost and always have been since being a youngster. Is there really a future for me here on the out I question myself. But is there really a future for our young generation the state the country is in, and boy it's messy!
I ambled past a group of youths at weekend hanging out on the local market. I overheard one saying it was a laugh in HMP Lancaster Farm. I will wait with baited breath to see how the reform takes shape, but as far as I am concerned, they are whistling in the wind.