Monday, 25 January 2021

When is it time to Talk about it ?

the audio of this blog, can we found here.

When is it time to talk about it?


A friend of mine said to me recently, “What happened to your voice?”  Look I set up my social media accounts 5 years ago this week. I set them up because I wanted to talk to you. I wanted to talk to about what prisons were like and how we as a society could be a force for good and make them change.  I wanted to talk about what was going on and why was nothing changing. Yet recently I haven’t talked about it. I am just as culpable for what I didn’t say or do because to be honest it hurts too much. I didn’t want to talk about it.


Well now I want to talk about it.


Last year they told the media that they were going to release our men, women and children because they were scared for their health. They said they could release about 3 thousand. They released about a hundred. And in the same breath they announced they were building 5 thousand more spaces.  


They announced last week that they want to build 500 more spaces to lock away our women all the while they admit that over 60% of them have mental health issues.


If the prevailing argument is “its about our mental health” then how come they think building themselves out of the problem will work. But wait they say they have thrown some pieces of silver to a few organisations take the sting out of their news. You see that way they change the conversation from people dying. It’s really evil, I’m tired of this misleading line that they’re feeding the media. 


The talking points are really just excuses to be greedier and politicians won’t do their jobs because the electorate are paying them so they ignore the problems that they’re there to solve.  While the left and right fight there are people dying in between. Remember that the next time you argue about prisoners getting their fair rights.


Just a month ago I watched the justice select committee destroy a witness in front of camera. They played to their audience and diminished a woman almost to visible tears. When the woman admitted her offence was not related to narcotics they wanted to know more, like hungry wolves waiting to strip the woman’s dignity from her because she was an ex-prisoner and had no rights. What made me sick to my stomach was that no one tried to stop the questioner. You want to know why people don’t want to sit in front of you Select Committee, Role the frikkin tape back and then hang your heads in shame. You could have set a trigger off in that wonderful, serene lady but you just didn’t care because you wanted your pound of flesh. Shame on you. I’m done with you. 


And you? The union that supports prison officers, you want to keep us locked up for 23 ½ hrs a day because it will, you think, keep your members more safe? Oh, come one, take your feet of the desk, stop reading prisoners papers and understand that if you lock me up for 23 /1/2hrs per day for my entire sentence you will release a very angry man back onto the streets. Suck it up and do your damn jobs. There are many many fine people amongst your members, perhaps if you spent more time in the prisons and not raging about them from a windowless office you might, you might just get my respect back. Until then, leave the running of the jails to your good members and not your committee.


And I can’t forget Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons while I am at it. You! You  say you are independent but there is nothing independent about you. Riddle me this HMIP. You inspect two different jails. You censure one because you say that as there weren’t many CoVid cases  and they should have been doing more out of cell activities. WHY do you think there wasn’t a lot of positive cases, Einstein? Yet in another jail of the same type you honour them because they weren’t doing a lot of out of cell activities and this would have kept their positive cases low. Oh come on, pick a side of the fence and allow us to use the oxygen. 


And lastly, I read with complete horror today, an article in a Scottish newspaper that the Scottish prison Service has refused to accept the recommendation by its inspectorate of banning “unapproved restraint” techniques against prison inmates. This includes using their feet. In other words stamping down on a prisoner. There is video out there showing Allan Marshall being stamped upon by officers at HMP Edinburgh. Mr Marshall later died from his injuries. Yet, its going to be approved by the Scottish prison service. We’ve all seen what happens when you press a knee against someone’s neck for too long yet you want to be allowed to stamp on it with no retribution.  If that was an assault on the street we would lose our fucking minds. If that’s not assault, then we have lost our fucking minds. In fact, maybe assault should be redefined?  


When do we grow a spine and stop using “they’re prisoners” to hide behind?



I am tired people, I am tired of reading the newspapers, the press releases,  watching the TV. 


When the news vans have left; I am left with quiet thoughts on private grief, but I can’t leave those prison walls behind. So, I count the seconds, the minutes, the hours, the nights, the weeks dealing with a pain so deep that it’s awake inside of sleep. It’s in my bones and in my smiles and in my hair and in my speech and in the morning I remember tears streaming down my cheeks, chest heaving from the mourning for all those that have taken their lives in prison, all those that have hurt themselves. Its impossible to breathe.


And at that point it doesn’t matter what you once believed. We are letting our people die when they don’t need to and we are left to grieve.


We are on the wrong side of history here people. When you look back in 20 years and remember the coffins leaving our jails and the way we have dealt with our fellow humans, look me up and tell me; did you do all that could have done. We are letting our better angels be beaten down by our complacency. Did you sit and bitch about it to your friends, did you tweet about it, did you DO anything about it? 


The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.


There I have talked about it. 


Its only my opinion I could be wrong.