Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Underbelly

You will have the impression from what I have written that Sudbury is all Goodness and Light, the final resting place of that mortally wounded creature known as Rehabilitation. This only highlights how different each prisoner’s experience of a prison may be.
My experience, so far, is that I have managed to get into a very warm single cell, a decent job, and no obvious obstacles in the way of my resettlement programme. There is, so to speak, not much by way of a cloud in the sky over my existence here. That I get fed chips a reasonable number of times per week is just a bonus.

This, though, is my experience. From my position, Sudbury looks pretty okay. But all prisoners live their own lives and travel their unique path through a prison, Sudbury being no different. And so there are those who absolutely detest the place, who will look with incredulity as I say that I'm a happy chappy.
There are men - many men -who are stuck in shared cells. Or rather, rooms. This is as stressful a situation here as in any other nick. Try saddling yourself with a stranger in your house and you may begin to get a flavour of what this is like. Maybe.
There are wings whose heating system has a malevolent indifference to those suffering minus temperatures, only to inflict drenching condensation and dampness as an encore. This is a far cry from the well behaved system on my wing and in my room. Where my pad is a refuge of warmth and solitude, for a large number their home is a source of stress and cold.
Where I should, in the normal course of events, begin charity work soon for others - fixed sentence guys - they may have to wait, and wait, and even reach the end of their time before they have the chance to work outside.
And where I have a competent, decent, probation officer there are those whose progress rests in the hands of less able or less interested supervisors. Without this input then their ability to go onto the community is on hold, their home leaves untaken and their release delayed.
Sudbury is a prison, albeit an Open one, and it is liable to being afflicted with all of the pressures and problems that dog the rest of the prison system. That I am having an improbably smooth journey through my time here should not overshadow the fact that for others, their time here is far from pleasant.

1 comment:

  1. Well I'm glad you're warm enough in there Ben. I have a friend in prison who I write to, he complains about being very cold and longs for his duvet, poor thing!

    I think the weather is changing slightly for the better now, so at least the cold won't be too much of a problem anymore.

    This is why more prisoners should blog though, because people who have got to know Ben through the blog would be very upset, some even up in arms, if we were to hear about any serious mistreatment and problems in there.

    I hope more prisoners do take up blogging, Ben's blog is so interesting and funny, prison humour is good for cheering us all up!

    However, part of blogging from prison would be about being in the right place at the right time I guess.

    Anyway, good on you Ben, for the blogging you do, and, as always best wishes and good luck xx