Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My Dossier

As some insist - on zero evidence - that the British criminal justice system is so wonderful that the only explanation for my situation is that I must be A Big Fat Liar, I constantly revisit the question as to whether I should publish my whole parole dossier.
And my hesitation remains, I stutter against the same barriers. Firstly, it includes information about third parties which is no business of the broader public. This includes my victim and family.
Secondly, and more importantly for me, it comprises over ten years worth of utter tripe that it would take me an age to rebut. Up to the early 1990's, we laboured under "closed reporting". That is, we never saw what was written about us or what the parole board had to say. It gave staff a license to write just about anything - and some of them did.
The only way I could put that before the public gaze is to write my version alongside and I just don't have the time to be able to do that.
That said, I do give you the best, and worst, that I can recall. It really isn't a case of my indulging in "impression management", a game I have never played. Just ask the parole board, who I once faced with no teeth and a beard to shame Gandalf!
The same applies with my parole answers, although after the last one I did post the paragraphs which contain the Board's reasons for not releasing me. That, at least, should satisfy those who think I'm just plain wicked, until I do decide to publish my whole prison file...when I get it.
And the idea has always appealed to me. Not just my parole dossier - a twisted, malign summary produced by the Ministry -but the pile of paper several feet thick that comprised My Life. One day, I will. Promise.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My Fault!

The blog has recently veered off into a far more personal direction than I ever intended.  This is my fault, for being preoccupied by personal events and so neglecting more fundamental issues.

The free diagnoses I'm receiving for my apparently endless psychological issues are perhaps better directed to Facebook.

As soon as I am able, I will swiftly return to limiting my personal intrusions as mere illustrative hooks on which to hang wider musings.

As always, thank you all for your continued attention (and attentiveness) and I hope that my future posts will reward you.

Monday, June 27, 2011


Legal people have pointed out that anything I've said here about mobile phones may be "used in evidence" against me by the parole board.

How strange it is, nobody believes a word I say, unless it can be used against me!

For the record then, I am really a black lesbian dwarf, who blogs because the night shift at my spaghetti mine is dull.

Everybody clear?!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Worlds Apart

Recent comments by probation and prison staff have boggled my mind.  They illustrate perfectly the gulf that exists between prisoners and their keepers.

These guys give every indication of believing that they help us, supports us, try to get us out.

Prisoners believe that they are inept, dishonest and look for any excuse to keep us in.

Both views are undoubtedly sincere, which is quite depressing.

As this blog partly exists to explore these differing perceptions - welcome.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


One facet of prison medical care that I have always found slightly distasteful is the role of NHS staff and GP's in the disciplinary process.

The medics must certify us as being "fit" to be charged and tried, then certify us "fit" to undergo punishment.

For "healers" to be so allied with the process of inflicting official suffering jars somewhat.

Friday, June 24, 2011

"Two C*nts Morgan"

Quite how and when I transmogrified from being John to Ben is lost somewhere in the wreckage of my teenage years. It just happened and stuck. Now being called John actually bugs me, it implies an intimacy which is instantly undermined by not knowing that everyone calls me Ben.
Others are not so fortunate in their moniker... like Morgan. Having another strange teenage conversation in the workshops, he suddenly made us pause by asking, "how many holes do women have...?" As we were all ferociously macho and equally inexperienced, this lead to a long pause. I leapt in, hoping for the best..."Three; urethra, vagina and anus". (I may be cleaning things up here...).
Morgan stared at me, triumphant, and began taking the piss out of my "ignorance". In all seriousness, he baldly explained that woman have two vaginas, one only used for rear-entry.
From that moment, he was forever Two-C*nts Morgan!

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Here's a thought for those who believe that breaking prison rules has any connection with re-offending on release.
Well, two thoughts. First, do your damn research. Secondly, has it occurred that the tighter the restrictions you place on a person, then the greater the chance he may transgress? So that the transgressions are just as much a function of the restrictions as they are of the transgressor?
I've been scratching my head, and I don't think I've ever been charged with a prison disciplinary offence for something which, if done on the street, would be a crime.
Using a phone. Pretty normal out there..? Borrowing stuff off a neighbour. Refusing to work. Refusing to shave.
The nearest, I guess, is having the odd spliff in the past. Not that I was ever caught with even a grain of dope, but only busted on a urine-test. And out there, having THC in your system isn't illegal, is it?
My "crimes" are prison crimes, not real-world ones. The boundaries imposed on us in here are drawn very tightly, far more tightly than outside. And I chafe at them, largely for their stupidity and pointlessness. I mean, who the hell thinks holding me down and shaving me by force at the age of 15 made any bloody sense??
You could argue that the regime should be strict, it’s the nature of imprisonment. But two points arise. Under the Rules, then we should be regulated only as far as is necessary for an orderly, safe, institution. And - so many people overlook this small matter - the population of this prison are largely over-tariff. We are not here for punishment any longer.
So I break - on occasion - rules which seem irrational and unreasonable. Big deal. If I did the same outside, I'd expect to be hauled before the Courts and given due punishment.

But these petty transgressions are being used to keep me – and thousands more - in prison on a Life sentence. Of course, there are behaviours which could - should - raise eyebrows. If I was a raving alcoholic or smackhead or if I believed that violence was the answer to most of life’s questions, then I could appreciate hesitancy on the part of my keepers to sign the release papers.

The thing is, I don't exhibit any of these faults.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Full Stop

Three governors huddled together today.  The Area Governor, who hates technology, the Establishment Governor, who wants to shut me up, and the Local Governor who has been happy for me to carry on using a word-processor.

Today, the Area Manager and Establishment prevailed.  The came and took my WP away from me.

The Ph.D. may now be now dead, and your generous contributions of fees wasted.  The blog will probably die too.

My studies, my writing, were the cornerstones of my life and my future on release.  But now, in one petty move, all I am left to contemplate are unemployment, these four walls, depression and cancer.

Note from the Ed: this incident happened a week ago, but Ben's mail takes a long time to reach me.  He is still without the word processor, hence the plea for a typewriter, which someone has kindly responded to.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

You won't like me when I'm angry...

That's a quote, not a threat, LOL. But those who impugn the integrity of my barrister should be equally quick to apologise in a very flowery manner.
When my barrister is at work, "on the clock", then of course her duty is to argue my case to her best ability. And she does.
However, when she makes personal statements on Facebook giving her view of me, it is not at my request and not in her professional capacity.
Being called a "professional liar" probably comes with the territory for a barrister...but being slighted as a liar in personal life is another matter. Stop it.
PS. And surely libelling a barrister is a very risky enterprise??? Just a thought...

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Violent Worst

In the bad old days, when we couldn't see our files. Things were said, stated as bald fact, by staff who believed we would never find out. This is the story of the only accusation of violence made against me, though "accusation" is not quite the word. That implies I knew about it.
24 years ago, I was laying on my bed over a lunchtime in Featherstone nick. We often sleep over lunchtimes, it kills the time, especially sans television.
The door crashed open and a gang of screws "invited" me to accompany them to the Block. Bemused, but unworried, I was walked down the Ml corridor to the Block and parked in a cell. Minutes after the door was banged, it popped open. A Block screw flung an envelope filled with cigarettes on the bed, said, "it's out of order", and vanished. A little while later, a governor came to tell me that I was being put on GOAD.
Good Order and Discipline...the prison’s way of throwing you into indefinite isolation without so much as a disciplinary hearing. Back then, being told you were on GOAD was all the info you received. After 70 days in isolation, and no wiser, I was shipped to another prison.
Five years later, and our dossiers became "open". I finally found out what that incident was all about. They believed that I was plotting up to stab a fellow lifer. When I discovered his name, my reaction was, "who?!" I'd never even heard of him!
That's how it worked back then. Secret allegations made, never put to the con, no Charges offered, no opportunity to rebut them. And that crap is still there in my parole dossier, unsubstantiated by a shred of evidence.
That, folks, is the only allegation of violence made against me. For all we shall ever know, this was just another case of a "note in the box".

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Request from Ben

Ben has called from the "block".

They have taken his word processor away, which means he cannot type his Ph.D. work and do blog posts (don't worry, I have a few to be getting on with!). Ben's handwriting is appalling.

Ben asks if anyone has an old typewriter kicking around?  You know - old relics with ribbons?  Typewriters are on the "approved" list in prison, and he is therefore allowed to have one.

Please e-mail on the blog contact if you have one and we will work out how to get it into him.

Thanks, Ed.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Peace and Quiet

So, 21 days in the Block, the euphemistically titled "Care and Separation Unit". That's about double what anyone else here has been clobbered with for a mobile, but as I've previously noted, revenge was in the air. My appeal has been lodged.
The disciplinary hearing was a farce, as expected, though conducted with a veneer of civility, even humour. But the governor refused to address my defence and prevented me from asking a witness the questions I wanted. The conclusion was foregone, so I spent the time racking up points of appeal.
The most obvious point in my defence, and the governor flatly refused to explain it away, is how I can be in possession of a phone at 11.30 when even the screw who nicked me says that I was 400 yards away!
Meanwhile...The Block. Hardly a massive strain on my psychological resources, though I realise that it has been well over a decade since I've stared down a few weeks in solitary. I'm such a bad boy, eh?!
The routine is dull. The Block is an exercise in dealing with 23 hours a day of Nothing. The door is unlocked after 8am, for me to make any applications, complaints, hand in mail, the paperwork housekeeping that is such a large part of prison life. Declare whether I want a shower or exercise. All this is conducted across the doorway, the cell is only left for the shower or exercise, everything else, meals etc, are delivered. It isn't a bad level of service...
At some point in the morning, the duty governor, a medic and a chaplain will appear, all making the same enquiry, "Everything okay?" Today, it was two chaplains and two governors, making me wonder just what I have to do for peace and bloody quiet?
That's the high point of the day...the rest is just me and the four walls. And I've ran out of antidepressants. Bugger!
All my old tricks for filling the time come back on demand. Reading, sleeping, writing, pacing...lots of pacing. This cell is, bizarrely, larger than the one I have on the wing, so I can actually stretch out a bit, 7 short paces from door to window. I say window; I mean a collection of small opaque glass bricks. With a loo and running water, I'd be quite content if they welded the door shut. All I'd really miss is internet access...
As my default setting is "leave me the hell alone", this isolation is no great hardship. For others, it is debilitating. Some people truly are social animals and the company of others is essential for their wellbeing. They find the Block particularly difficult.
Even in the most banged-up of prisons, there are moments in the day when doors are flung open, if only briefly. To move to work, to collect food...and these can be intensely social minutes, everybody running around conducting the small exchanges and favours which are the oil that smoothes prison life. A stamp here, spoon of sugar there, who has today’s newspaper, can I look at your TV guide... These are what my present situation denies, the minutiae, the genuine contacts with peers. That said, on the wing I'm notorious for locking my own door, and not just cos I was on the phone!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Elvis left the building

All of human life is behind these bars, though we do seem to be afflicted by a disproportionate number of fantasists. I've met more SAS troopers and millionaires than your average arms salesman.
The young are particularly afflicted with this syndrome, which reached its peak for me as a YP. Lord knows how the conversation started but it ended up with my being offered a case of M-16 rifles....
And by two different people! One was a greasy-haired stutterer we knew as Bullshit Brucie, the other was a Brummie rapist with the improbable name of Elvis Presley.
Competing for my custom for this mythical arms deal, their lies grew ever greater and their prices dropped ever lower. It ended with them swinging for each other and rolling around the workshop floor, each accusing the other of lying...
And 25 years on, I'm still waiting for my guns!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


From the very beginning, it has always been a hope of mine that the blog reach an audience usually found propping up a bar with a copy of the Daily Mail in the back pocket.
The Editor tells me that I'm getting a fair bit of flack over my latest shenanigans, which is excellent news. We must avoid a mutual love-in and as anyone knows, I do so enjoy a good row. It keeps the mental juices flowing.
Firstly, the mobile. I make no apologies for my occasional usage of that illicit item. The prohibition on mobiles in prison is based on specious arguments and fears, a feature of the prison services ingrained horror of technology. That they happen to make a fat profit off our use of payphones may also have an influence. It is a bad rule, and bad rules should be challenged.
The use of a mobile opened new horizons, allowed me to forge new contacts and explore potential futures. Without it, I doubt that I would have a partner, a home to go to...and loving support. The actuarially minded realise that these vastly decrease my odds of ever reoffending - if I wanted to make that argument. More cheekily, I could suggest that I was doing the rehabilitative job that the prison service should have done...
Much as it may bug my keepers, the mobile only led to great positive things. The going rate, in punishment, is a few weeks down the Block. Okay then. But should this really lead to my losing my move to open prison? And my chance of release next year? Really...?

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Very Worst

The milestone of my 31st year recently passing inevitably made me ponder. A tariff of ten years, served thirty-one...where did it all go wrong?!
And I ponder...what is the worst that has been said of me during my sentence? What is the worst act that I have been accused of? Just what have I done that merited that 21 extra years? After all, if my tariff for a murder was 10 years, then surely another 21 must reflect for special type of further wickedness?
Obviously, allegations accrue. Through mischief as much as anything else, my file contains the odd spicy titbit. The Princess Anne assassination plot, for example ( But if we disregard rumour, what is the worst that can be said?
A attempted escape 18 years ago...borrowing someone’s Playstation...refusing to work... The list of minor crimes is pretty broad over those 31 years. What is, for me, most interesting is what is absent.
Violence. I'm always open to the claim of being an imperfect human being, I'd never deny it. But does that add up to 31 years...and counting?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Life Should Mean Life

For the hard of thinking, I will repeat one of the many problems with the "life should mean life" assertion. I won't dignify it with having the cogency of an "argument".
Not all murders are the same. A nutter who makes waistcoats out of the skin of a dozen prostitutes and a man who - at his wife’s request - injects her with an lethal drug to save her a lingering tortured death by illness are both murder. You can argue that they shouldn't be, but good luck with that.
If anyone is happy sentencing both those cases to literal Life in prison, then they are cognitively challenged. If the idea of literal Life for both those cases makes you uneasy, then drop the simplistic "life should mean life" T-Shirt slogan and grow up. Criminal justice is complicated. Welcome to a real discussion of the complexities.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Random Facts

Thanks to the Prison Reform Trust's 'Bromley Briefing' and my unblushing willingness to plagiarise, I offer you a few facts that may make you wonder if the use of imprisonment is quite rational:

7a. Cutting Crime?
Research by he Prime Ministers Strategy Unit claims that a 22% rise in the prison population has only reduced crime by some 5%.
7b. Abandoned
Only half of all women on Remand in prison receive visits from their family.
7c. Reform
97% of offenders expressed a desire to stop offending. The majority cited employment and housing as the key factors that could help them abandon crime.
7d. Children
Only 9% of children whose mothers are in prison are cared for by their fathers in their mother's absence.
7e. Phone Bills
Prisoners using the official payphones to call landlines are charged 9p a minute on weekdays and 8p per minute on weekends. Calling a mobile costs 20p per minute weekdays, 13p on weekends.
This is why we have a penchant for using illegal mobiles.
7f. WTF?
Nearly half of women in prison are sentenced for theft or handling stolen goods.
Does anybody ask the obvious question - is this imprisonment for non-violent crimes rational or reasonable?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

My Psychology

The cheap and cheerful explanation for my perpetual pushing of boundaries is that I just don't want to get out of prison, that I'm afraid, institutionalised. An equally simplistic response I could make is to point out that as the prison system has had me and attempted to mould me since I was a kid, they can hardly complain about the way I've turned out!
Obviously, I despise that simplistic view. It is to denigrate me as a human being, it strips me of any semblance of dignity and denies that I am capable of making coherent, principled decisions.
Some prison staff love the simplistic explanation; it suits their world view perfectly. The alternative is that I challenge "the system" from some deeply political or moral perspective - and if that was accepted by prison staff, it would imply that they are sometimes wrong, that they should be challenged. And that is impossible for them to admit; so the only solution, the only explanation for them, is that I'm some psychological disaster.

This silly view of my behaviour completely fails to explain my development. My first disciplinary offence was within days of being arrested, and for the first few years I racked up scores of nickings. My main objection to prison life was forced labour, and various other things which had the word "compulsory" attached to them.

There was no great political philosophy behind these acts of refusal. I was young. And I detest being restricted. For me, the struggle to expand the sphere of my personal autonomy was completely natural; it needed no coherent explanation or philosophy. It is just, well, normal to struggle against being confined. For what it's worth, when I administered Toch's Prison Preference Inventory to myself, my "freedom needs" were off the scale.

As I grew, developed, and engaged my intellect then it was equally natural that I would find myself entangled in the morass of morality and political philosophy for which imprisonment is the nexus. Only when you find yourself sitting naked in a Strongbox, the deepest part of the State's dungeons, do you truly struggle with questions of authority and legitimacy.

The deeper my understanding, then my struggles became far more sophisticated, more political. My struggles stopped being an outgrowth of my particular personality needs and instead were the expression of my political morality. The essence of my view is that I believe that all authority should be treated with suspicion, tends towards tyranny, and should be perpetually questioned and tested.

This is hardly revelatory, I know. It has been the staple of political theory for over three centuries and forms the basis for both the American Declaration of Independence and its Constitution.

The difference, for me, is that there is no gap between my personal, private sphere and the power of the State. The smaller features of my life, my existence, are regulated by people given licence to use force to ensure compliance. For even the mildest of political animals, such a situation is inevitably fraught, a perpetual challenge.

Today, my challenges are far removed from my teenage struggles. While I do engage in daily struggles over the minutiae and am always willing to help others in a corner, the range of my vision has lifted to a broader political vista. Changing my daily life is but a minor issue; I am driven to change the whole careveral machine and the socio-political landscape in which it is cited.

This blog is one expression of this drive. And I know full well that my activities, my voice, tends to perturb my keepers - and that their spiteful retaliation has been this endless imprisonment. I'm not naive, campaigning carries a price.

You may think that I must be pretty bonkers to continue. But don't forget the most important event in my life - I killed another human being. It was an essentially pointless and selfish act. Crucially, I see it as being an abuse of power on my part, and as I recoil from that in myself, I recoil from such abuses in others. My crime, my reaction to it, and my challenges to the prison system are all part of one thread. I am as driven to challenge abuses by my keepers as I challenge myself to be nonviolent. They are inseparably intertwined.

Knowing that my campaigning could cost me many more years did not particularly disturb me. Resisting abuses of power is a moral journey that should be taken, regardless of personal cost. In this view, I know that I am unusual. Before the appearance of the Editor, I had A Plan that placed release second on my list of priorities. Challenging abuses of power was first.

Now, I carry responsibilities and expectations. It would be selfish of me to drag anyone else down my offbeat path. And so release is now top of my list, and resisting abuses of power second. Or rather, the ways in which I challenge are less objectionable, more strategic, and so less likely to block release.

Even so, never expect perfection from me. I will make errors, misjudgements, and be plain obnoxious at times. I'm human, it comes with the territory. Having to put up with Governors, Probation Officers and a Parole Board that would look askance at Christ-like levels of goodness is bad enough; I hope that you are all more reasonable.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Strain of Schizophrenia

While the wider world indulges in its obsession about our access to televisions and pool tables, the real pressures of long sentences are overlooked and unappreciated.
Long sentences, and life sentences, are increasingly common. While the popular perception is of short sentences being the order of the day, the reality is that sentence lengths are at an all time high and the tariff portions of life sentences are ever increasing.
The psychological pressures involved in surviving such sentences are rarely considered. Lifers themselves tend to live in a state of semi-denial, reducing their time perspective in order to avoid facing a terrible question - how to survive decades in prison. Even with the introduction of whole-life tariffs, you will search the literature produced by our keepers in vain for any thought as to how the individual must cope to serve such a sentence.
We must live in a state of schizophrenia, for decades. We must persuade ourselves that we have some control over our daily environment, when the reality is that all we do is controlled, or takes place within, parameters set by others. How else can one cope? If we appreciated, accepted, the full scale of our powerlessness, surely our minds would collapse?
We must perpetually nurture hope for the best, whilst simultaneously planning to deal with the worst. We must believe that we will, one day, be released into the world when the immediate reality is one of a concrete box. To dream, imagine, sitting on the beach, being at home, resting in the arms of love - when on opening one’s eyes the reality is bricks and bars.
Very long sentences comprise more than the passage of time. Life sentences must be worked at, progression measured and analysed. Each interview, each report written, each transfer, each parole hearing, provides another crucible for hope, and hope lost.
To balance the pain of hope, to have a vision that sees further than the length of the cell, is to suffer. To imagine and hope for more than what the day brings only throws the reality into sharper, greyer, relief. And yet it must be done. The alternative is to allow one's world, one's imagination and hopes, to become reduced to the dimensions of a cell for the rest of one’s life.
The powerlessness, the lack of control and the uncertainty leads to some prisoners adopting a deep intransigence. If they vanish down the Block for years on end and refuse to play the game, then there is little that "the system" can inflict upon them. Some refuse to engage with the parole process. These people willingly surrender all they may have, any hope, because the pains of those hopes being held hostage by another is greater than the painful choice to surrender them. If a person has given away all he has, there is nothing more that can be taken from him. That is the only path to tread that doesn't force us into living a mental life that is schizophrenic and has only the pain of certainty rather than the pain of perpetually unmet hopes.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Bored Ben

From the Ed:

I was able to visit Ben yesterday, and give him a 2 hour break from the punishment block.

He was not wearing his watch; he said that counting the hours only makes it worse. Obviously, there is nothing to do down there (except, as some have pointed out, think). No TV, no newspapers, and very little natural light so a recipe for depression, really.  The "window" is a few glass bricks.  He said he has resorted to making paper mache balls to stuff into the holes in the vent to stop the draught! He gets 3 visits a day; the Chaplain, a nurse and the prison Governor all visit prisoners in the block daily.

Ben has asked if people could drop him a line, just post cards would do, to give him something to read and ease the boredom. Only 3 days in, and 21 days is a long time. 10 days is more usual for a phone.

I have printed off all the comments, and there have been a lot on the phone issue, and sent them in.  But I suspect they will linger in security awhile before he gets them.  So maybe your comments on a postcard?  Even if it is negative, say what you feel because now is the time to let him know because he has nothing else to do but read.

Ben Gunn A8761AN, HMP Shepton Mallet, Cornhill, Shepton Mallet, Somerset BA4 5LU

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Opportunity and Change

The prison system must be one of the most intransigent, conservative and resistant organisations to change. This is not to deny change; only to suggest that prison is the nexus of many forces which resist it. The unions, both staff and management; the prisoners; various levels of the bureaucracy, from the prison through to the Ministry of Justice; specialist groups, such as Probation and Psychology...each comprises as anchor against significant movement.
The City had its Big Bang, industry had its Wapping...but the public services which escaped privatisation suffered no more change than that inflicted by the plague of managerialism. And the most conservative of the public services must be the prison service.
But, as every newbie revolutionary knows, change - especially crisis - is pregnant with possibility. The prison service is being forced to make savage cuts in costs, which is inherently destabilising. And change opens the door to possibility.
Of course, persuading my fellow prisoners of this is rarely simple. In a total institution based upon our being powerless, the potential for prisoners to effect any change seems remote. The "system" appears monolithic, impervious.
This is to overlook the obvious. As the Home Office Control Review Committee noted in 1984, prisons rely on the cooperation of the prisoners. The amount of latent power that we wield has never truly been realised - a matter of bitter regret.
That grand claim aside, the current financial crisis presents cracks in the monolith that prisoners can take advantage of. All Governors will be trying to both cut costs plus maintain their regime targets (time out of cell, purposeful activity, etc). And as we all know, Governors are not a particularly creative breed.
The opportunity presented by this situation of change offers prisoners the chance to scratch their heads and get stuck in, to get as involved as possible, use every avenue to management to pitch creative, positive ideas.

Friday, June 3, 2011


As the years have passed, our ability to communicate with the outside world has been expanded. Most importantly, with the introduction of payphones.
As with everything in prison, this positive carries within it a negative. In this case, finding the money to pay for the calls, at a rate some 7 times higher than for payphones on the street. And I needn't state the bleedingly obvious - my phone bills have suddenly taken a sharp turn upwards, ho ho.
Even so, our flow of information is chronically restricted and slow, like tapping Morse code through a jar of honey. 
Many long termers perhaps fail to realise this. Having lost my access to the Net, I feel it all the more keenly; it's as if my world has suddenly shrunk from an infinite expanse down to the dimensions of my cell. That is quite a psychological blow.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


There is an untold story behind the last year, one that may never be told. A part of it involved a Devils Bargain - that if I withdrew from certain political activities, then my release would be more reasonably assured.
This was extremely tempting, though selfish. But now, given my current circumstances, I have to revisit an old question - am I more likely to affect positive change from inside, or from outside?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Public Opinion

Recent inquiries highlighted a broad public view that prison sentences are too low. ‘Twas ever so.

But before we leap on this view and start a "something must be done" bandwagon, did anybody bother to find out if The Public had any idea what current sentences actually are???
An ill-informed opinion in more dangerous than honest ignorance -something which has blighted criminal justice for generations.