Sunday, October 17, 2010


An Anonymous comment by someone associated with prison has suggested that there are only two reasons why I haven’t been released, both being my fault - refusing to complete psychology courses, or outrageous prison behaviour. Allow me to address this naiveté and slur on my honesty?

Offending Behaviour Programmes are psychological treatments intended to cure us of our wicked ways. I have never been recommended to undertake any OBP. Not one. Ever. I have been assessed for them along the way and the persistent conclusion is that I do not suffer from the 'cognitive deficits' that these courses address. My lack of progress, then, is not based upon any need to complete more OBP or any refusal on my part to cooperate with them.

The second proposed reason for my lack of progress is my institutional behaviour. Well, I am on the highest privilege level, Enhanced, and have been for over a decade. This requires that I demonstrate a positive attitude and behaviours, along with a high level of compliance.

My formal disciplinary record is hardly one that a revolutionary would be proud of. In the past five years I've been nicked a handful of times'. For having a phone-charger; borrowing a PlayStation; possessing a set of stereo speakers someone else threw out; an unauthorised MP3 player... You get the drift. I may get nicked once a year for trivia that has no bearing whatever on my criminal or violent tendencies. These are the prison equivalent of parking tickets. They mean I am an imperfect human being, and that the prison system is incredibly petty, not that I'm a mad axe-man.

Does anything in the above justify my continued detention? The last view we had from the Ministry of Justice is that I "will not be ready for open prison or release until [I] fully comply". That's what it’s all about. Not risk, not violence, not future offending - it boils down to mindless and perpetual kow-towing. And even then, my disciplinary record shows I comply to a very high level.

Of course, I have been a lot more active than this. All within the Rules, but annoying to my keepers nonetheless. I am a deeply political animal, and head the prisoners union - the Association of Prisoners. I write frequently about prisoners rights and am a vocal cheerleader of issues such as the right to vote. On a daily basis I deal with the detritus that flows from living in a heavily bureaucratic, managerialist machine. Helping people with advice and complaints is what I've always done.

"Offences" I have committed in recent years, which aren't against any Rule or regulation, include producing a samizdat newsletter, having a relationship with a teacher...and starting this blog.

May I gently suggest that my vocal activism and jailhouse lawyer work causes my keepers more angst than any genuine petty breach of the rules I may commit? And that this is why I have not been released?

Anyone who is sentient and familiar with prisons will recognise the truth of this, even most staff. If you fail to keep your mouth shut and head down, there is a price that is extracted. It was ever so.

That some Anon fails - or refuses - to see the rotten nature of their institution is quite a feat in the denial stakes. And for some people it is easier to blame me for everything that it is to admit the possibility that the prison system is as twisted as it is permanent.


  1. This is a neat defense Ben.

    I hope that those in authority will see the detriment and injustice that is being caused by keeping you in jail and set you (and others like you and in a similar position) free without any further delay.

    All the best

  2. Problem is Ben, that you may not be a mad axe man, but you are a child killer aren't you?

  3. Anonymous, that is called scapegoating

  4. hello, troll! Another dull, lonely sunday is it..? Never mind, you will find a friend somewhere. Maybe you could fill your time by looking for the post where ben denies his crime...cos i just cant put my finger on it. :)

  5. King Solomon had it easy, all he had to do was expose a fraud, then justice was seen to be done.

    The trouble with the real world is that the frauds are part of the voting public, and the system has to keep face to keep its throne. In such a perverse reality, King Solomon would have to be kind to all voters, and chop the baby in half, so that all voters receive a fair consideration.

    To maximise voting potential, the system has to avoid alienating all majorities, therefore it must pick on the most feasible minorities as scapegoats for defaulting, before the mass of paranoia, that the system has generated. It has promised to solve all the 'problems', real or advertised, and therefore needs pariahs to condemn.

    Mathematically, the more unreal crimes the system creates, and fights, the less real voters it alienates; and since fabricating propaganda is a risky business, the number of present criminals and prisoners, are treated as 'money in the bank'.

    Prisoners, the unemployed, all those that embarrass the utopian promises, must be condemned, to aid an abet the 'B' ark, sailing to the island of sugar candy mountain.

    They also serve, who stand in line, and muck out.

  6. "Allow me to address this naiveté and slur on my honesty?"

    Of course you are allowed, it's your blog and you can say what you like.

    "May I gently suggest that my vocal activism and jailhouse lawyer work causes my keepers more angst than any genuine petty breach of the rules I may commit? And that this is why I have not been released?"

    Which goes to show the idiocy of the system. With you out of the prison, you would be less of a pain in the arse to that prison, and it's not as if keeping you inside stops you spouting your mouth of here (and in many ways quite right too, well done). It begs the question why don't they just make you homeless, that way they don't have to deal with an on hand prison lawyer.

    The reason? The bureaucratic classes must win, what that victory is has nothing to do with the task they have been set (to put people away until they are ready/due for release) but they must win, whatever that means for them.

    What I really resent is that not only do they then not do a very good job, but I, as a taxpayer have to pay for it, in the case of Prisoner Ben, to the tune of something between £500,000 to £1,000,000 more than I should have!

  7. It makes people feel better about themselves to demonise others and pour out their condemnation upon a few. How many children have died due to neglect and abuse in this country, unprotected by the very services set up to save them? And how many of such guilty people are still in their jobs, rather than languishing in prison? It's such an unjust world.

  8. Actually, the authorities, both prison and judiciary take the possession of mobile telephones seriously and do not treat it like a parking ticket!

    If you had a phone charger then it can be reasonably assumed that you also had access to a phone.

    Phones are banned because they have a number of potential uses in prisons. First, they can be used to co-ordinate escapes. Secondly and more commonly, they are excellent tools for arranging the supply of drugs from the outside. There are other illicit uses, but those are the main two.

    A parking ticket on the outside leads to a fine of up to £120 in central London. Possession of a mobile phone will easily get you an extra 30-days on the end of your sentence!

    Not really that trivial is it?

  9. By the way, I forgot to add my congrats to Sophie J for the most ridiculous comment I have ever heard with, "Anonymous, that is called scapegoating" as a response to a previous poster pointing out that Ben is, in fact and law, a child killer.

    It isn't scapegoating. A scapegoat is somebody who is put forward to be sacrificed for the wrong doing of a group, the people putting forward the scapegoat avoid all or most of the consequences.

    Ben actually killed a child. He is a murderer. That is a fact, which he doesn't contest. To make such a bizarre claim rather indicates that Sophie J may be so far removed from reality that she has forgotten what it is.

  10. oh for goodness sake Anon2, its not as if we don't know that when Ben was a child he killed another child.

    Your shrill name calling and finger pointing is so backyard bullying; you are the one who needs some sense knocked in to you.

    Just remember this Anon2 anonymous that while you point the finger, someone else is judging you

  11. Good for Sophie J - yes Ben killed a child when he was a child. Where is forgiveness and the belief that human beings can change? It is obvious that Ben is not the same as he was when he was a child - is anyone the same some 30 years later? What a world we live in when people don't believe that everyone deserves a second chance especially when they show the maturity that Ben does. The anonymous people above should widen their horizons a bit and remember 'there but for the grace of God go I'.

  12. anon2, as i understand it, the mobile allegation saw bens move to open prison being suspended over a year ago. I hope that extra time he has served satisfies you? And his point still stands...nothing in his behaviour justifies his continued detention.

  13. 'you are the one who needs some sense knocked in to you.'

    Good point Sophie! thats the way to win em over!

  14. If there was in any way a generous intention from Anon2; then I might have contributed more kindly, however in this case at this time there was intense vitriol and intimidation. That helps none of us, especially Ben and the many others in a similar position.

  15. Don't you commenters know the country's short of Money these days? Keeping Ben in prison costs hundreds of pounds a day and I suspect the Taxpayer's Money is being wasted.
    I'll continue reading this blog so that my prejudice can be reinforced, er, because it's interesting.

  16. Your shrill name calling and finger pointing is so backyard bullying; you are the one who needs some sense knocked in to you.

    Lol amazing.