Do you ever keep coming back to areas of your past that have shaped you? I don't dwell on my past much but last night I couldn't sleep and I wrote this post.
I think I have talked about this before, but when I was younger I went to prison 4 times, none of them very long spells actually one for days, two for weeks and one for a few months. I also spent time in 3 separate probation hostels, these are places you go whilst awaiting trial, they have a curfew and are normally full of guys who are homeless, older cons trying to sort their lives out or first offenders. It was obviously a male only environment.
I once got a 9 month COR (condition of residence) in a bail hostel that was my longest time in an institution.
In these hostels I once got strangled by a drunken Scotsman for not sharing my drugs, I also head butted a heroin addict because it was morning and he was accusing me of something I didn’t do. So now I never share rooms with drunken scots or talk to heroin addicts in the morning, it's a deep scar
In Rochester prison I was involved in a big fight in the exercise yard, although it didn’t last long and I never threw a punch. It was our own fault for banging our chairs against our cell door all night asking to be sent back to Chelmsford prison, the long termers were annoyed at us disturbing their sleep, but after the fight they moved us back.
I wasn’t a hard man or anything like that, more stupid than hard, or wannabe plastic gangster. The guys I hung out with liked to fight but I was never very good at it, I'd give it a go, but tended to get hurt a lot, always ended up falling over..
I was convicted of threatening behaviour, attempted robbery, fraud, theft and non payment of fine.
I have been charged with armed robbery and violent disorder but never convicted, they got down graded. This all happened between 1988 and 1991.
You know the thing that was weirdest about prison, was apart from one or two real head cases, just how normal everybody was. Your average grouping of males! What is normal anyway?
Moments of madness or greed had led most of these men to prison, but just moments, on an average day they were normal. Obviously getting banged up for 23 hours a day can also lead to a little tension, but what do you expect. In chelmsford our cells didn't have toilets and we had little pots to wee in, from 7 at night till 7 in the morning you couldn't get out of your cell for anything, so if you needed a poo you had to do it on a piece of newspaper and throw it out your cell window, I still struggle reading the paper on the toilet.
I don’t think prison works, if it worked why does it’s population keep growing? I do believe that crimes should be punished. There is a saying in prison “If you can’t to the time don’t do the time” I never felt hard done by in prison in all honesty I deserved to be there, it's prison not a holiday camp so I didn't even really mind the hardship.
I definitely don’t believe in the death penalty, but I do think life should mean life.
A while ago I wrote on this blog, some more about jail and the people I met there HERE and how I went in for the first time HERE
Just felt the need to get that off my chest today…….everybody’s normal until you get to know them.