Tuesday, May 4, 2010


It was never my intention to stick my face into the public gaze and begin any sort of campaign, least of all for myself. The point of the blog was to be broadly educational and provocative, Nothing more than that.

That some people have discerned that all is not quite as it should be with my situation is a completely unexpected development. It has led to a couple of strange effects.

There are some, even those who should know better, who remain very guarded about me. The idea that I could be here, 20 years after the end of my tariff, leads them to suspect that there is more to this situation than meets the eye - that I am hiding something.

That is not unfair, I suppose, although journalists and lawyers who know me, my case and my history all agree that my prison career has been free of violence. If there was dirt to be dished, the blogosphere, print media and the Ministry of Justice would have slid it into the public domain by now. But it's not my task to persuade you; you must look at the world and make your own decisions.
I understand, honestly, that delving into the prison system and its bureaucracy is an eye-opener. If you don't ignore it, it can challenge your world-view and undermine whatever faith you have that the world is broadly fair and that government acts in a just and rational way.

Some people still believe in such things, which is quite touching! In a country where our MP's line their pockets and get legal aid to defend themselves; where policemen manhandle, even kill, protestors; where activist- comedians can be detained merely for appearing "over confident"; and where people jailed on fabricated evidence are diagnosed by prison staff as suffering from "delusions of innocence"... In such a nation, that some people still think that the Ministry of Justice, Parole Board and Prison Service act with decency and honesty is, let’s face it, a tad naive.

The Ministry of Justice has ignored the European Court judgement on the prisoners vote for five years; the Parole Board has just admitted that it has been keeping people in prison longer than they should, just to ease media wrath; and the Prison Service has just been hit to the tune of £4M because its staff deliberately obstructed an ambulance trying to attend a severely injured prisoner. And that lot is just this week’s news.

Feel free to view me with suspicion, but please don't do so because you believe that those who rule our lives are doing a decent job. That would be too depressing for words.


  1. As an ex-con, i know exactly what your saying. Fingers crossed for you today. Btw, Every day we hear about how the government waste money, Inside time this month has a peice writen by a self righteous lawyer, telling people they must declare their assets, or it's fraud. But the MP's get away with it. Anyone with any sense should not have anything in their name, goes hand in hand with a post a while ago, say nothing.

  2. Hope today went well Ben!

  3. Ben,Suspicion is a weapon of the deranged and guilty. Anyone who has been following your blog and has a suspicious mind about your release is reflecting his/her own guilt or insecurities. I learnt a long time not to waste my time with people who suspect others without evidence, because they are a waste of space. The majority of reasonable and rational people are guided by facts not fiction when making up their minds about a complex situation. You are a beacon to other prisoners who have served their sentence because there are more serious and deranged criminals in the outside world than there are in prison who are so devious that they never get caught.

  4. Hope it was a good day Ben. I've been missing in hospital for a while and could not wait to get back to read all I had missed.

    Good blog this one - as a member of the public who had not previously been involved in the legal system I would NEVER have believed what is going on in the 'system' if I did not now know first hand.