Tuesday, April 6, 2010


When you imagine a cell in your mind's eye, where do you have yourself standing? I bet that you will have yourself in the doorway, looking in towards the back wall.

When I try to describe my cell to 'outsiders', I have myself deep inside the cell, looking out towards the door.

It occurs to me that until people can imagine themselves in the cell, looking out, that there will always be a limit to how people can ever understand the prisoner’s experience. And without that, how can there be progress in forwarding any debate about imprisonment?


  1. I actually pictured it looking out...Is that wierd?

  2. Ben, I couldn't imagine what it must be like to be in prison.

    There have been times in my life where it has been so tedious and unbearable and I have eperienced unimaginable emotional pain. I find it so hard to share these things with anyone, but I have soldiered on, by hook or by crook as they say.

    Your honesty and the way you express yourself in your blog has been both an encouragement and a comfort to me, so keep on looking outwards towards that door, one day you will be free and you will see just how many friends you have both on the inside and on the outside.

    Ok Ben, God bless and keep you always xx

  3. I always used to imagine it as if I were sitting on the bed. I don't know why!

    I have been inside some cells...(not as an inmate) and it is certainly a different perspective on the inside looking out than on the outside looking in.

    Thanks for writing your blog.

  4. Very interesting post Ben - I have visited deep inside a prison to attend a meeting for my son and I found it very scary - it even made me cry just being on a wing. Goodness knows what it must be like to apend years inside like Ben - it is inhumane. It impossible for outside people to imagine what it is really like to be in prison - Ben is right if there is a debate about prisons people with first hand knowledge i.e. the prisoners, should be consulted and so should families and friends so that all aspects of imprisonment can be identified. I get fed up with reading in the media about the wonderful life prisoners have - I know people who do wrong need to be punished but if we want ex-prisoners to behave in an acceptable way on their release prison we must treat them as we would like to be treated.

    Keep strong Ben.

  5. Yes and it's the sharing as well that's so awful, cell sharing risk assessment or no.

    And given that many prisons are so old - and built to a low spec - you should see how tiny the doors are. Everything about them is incredibly claustrophobic. My office is three cells knocked through to make one - and four of us work in it. There is no air...