To Prison Widow UK. I go by the name of Tilly and at the moment I am out in the free world. I'm in my 40's and will inevitably go back inside at some point to contribute to the prison officers wages.
I have been in and out of prison for most of my life. The honest truth? I like it in there.
I have had the odd job or two here in the free world when I have been released but it was a pointless exercise. I worked in warehouses and had no money left after pay day because the wages I earned where manual labour wages and eventually I lost my flat and inevitably I went back to prison. You might think I'm a brain-dead convict who doesn't want to change his life around right? For your information; I am institutionalised and prison is my save haven. I feel safe in prison. I don't feel safe out here in the community. You would have to walk in my shoes to understand where I am coming from.
Of course in prison there are fights; drama's, political issues; scams, there is all sorts but from a young age, that is all I know. It might not be normal life to you, but it is the norm for me. Prison is my life and that sounds sad doesn't it, but it's true. I can't colour in grey areas and brighten it up for you otherwise I would be lying.
As a prolific offender, I contribute in keeping people in jobs, the Police, the courts, charities even. In fact, the whole of the criminal justice system and people who work in that field are funded by the likes of me.
I usually land up with a prison job when I'm inside but prison jobs aren't a true reflection of reality. They are farcical schemes that mean nothing and no they do not prepare you for life on the outside. I spend my prison wages on canteen and phone credits. My wages on the out are spent on rent, council tax, water rates, gas, electricity, and so on and so on and that comes with added pressure. There's no pressure in prison. None.
Unlike my flat; I don't sit in my cell praying that my electric doesn't run out. I can take a shower in prison knowing I have hot water. In my flat, many times I had no gas for running hot water because I had to budget or skip one bill until the next time I got paid so I could take a shower. It's too much of a juggling act here on the out. I don't live here on the out, I just exist and life's stresses do my health no good.
Prison is structure. Call me what you like; a loser, no good dead-beat, but I can assure you, many many other prisoners right now are in the mind set.
I'm being honest. Thanks for all you do. Tilly.