Friday, July 2, 2010

Banged up Ben

When you are the only person in the prison being locked up for 22 hours a day, you can't help but wonder if it's more 'personal' than 'business'.

Shepton is a Cat-C lifer prison, about as laid back in routine as is possible. Days can go by without having to speak to a screw. The daily routine is based upon 'free-flow', the ability to move unescorted within the prison, between the wings, from the wings to the workshops and the like.

But that only applies to the rest of the prison. I have to be locked up 22 hours a day, By Order of the Deputy Governor. She argues that I am 'wilfully unemployed' and so should be stuck in my kennel like a dog.

Of course, she is wrong. I have it in writing that this prison has "no suitable employment" for me, given my abilities and resettlement needs. In other words, the prison has refused to give me a job.

As punishment for the prison's failings, I'm now locked away while the rest of the prison swan around. To add to the insult, the Dep has restricted my access to the library. Bear in mind I'm one of only a handful of prisoners who have ever attempted a PhD, that I'm restricted to one hour of time in the library per week when everyone else has three days of unrestricted access gives a powerful insight into the vindictiveness that I'm struggling against.

The prison gives you a bill for £43,000 to impose this regime upon me, and when I'm unemployable on release because of their machinations, they will demand you foot the bill for that as well.

I'm trying my hardest. Pity the Governor seems determined to kick the legs from under me.


  1. Schindler's solution was to connive a profit incentive for the captors to look after the inmates.

    Make the 'magnanimous' suggestion of sharing profits with the captors for all business activities run by the inmates.

    If they had an inkling that their pocket money would grow, they might be inclined to sit on their hands, and allow inmates to develop small industries; maybe even aid them.

  2. we're here and we watch your struggle and I for one salute yoi for continuing to want to do the right thing and try and make the best out of a life destroying situation. God Bless.

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  4. I only spent a few days in jail, and they were because (a) I had the misfortune to have a relationship with a sociopath and (b) courts don't understand how the internet works.

    Your post made me cry. Far too many people are behind bars.

  5. So much for rehabilitation. Battery hens are treated like this, not humans - at any rate, not prisoners that have already served their time. It's a disgrace.

  6. This is a very, very hard read for those of us who are free. We think about you a lot, Ben.

  7. Anon # 1 Battery Hens shouldn't be treated like this either. Ben is lucky he is not a battery hen, or a prisoner abroad, i am not saying it is right, i am not, but just lot's of animals and other prisoners are worse off. And at least Ben can read and write, that's more than can be said for some, imagine being banged up with nothing to read or be able to write. Or in a forign jail, where you sleep on a mud floor with 50 or so others. Oh, and by the way, battery hens can't even stretch their wings.

  8. How silly to argue that at least Ben is not a battery hen! Sounds like the sort of back chatting you get at kindergarten.

    He is being punished, right now, (after having served his tariff plus) cruelly and needlessly for simply being a proud and outspoken man.

    If some people or animals are treated even worse does not justify this lack of humanity currently being inflicted on Ben.

    Cruelty is cruelty; gradations of it do not in anyway excuse it or let the perpetrators of the hook. Any degree of cruelty is unacceptable. (one exception might be being cruel for longer term kindness), but that does not apply here, in this particular situation.

    I am gutted for you Ben, and very angry ...

  9. Sophie, i fail to see how my post is childish.

    1) I did not say it is right that Ben lives like this.

    2) it is a fact of life, that you can alway's find someone worse off than yourself, (hens were brought up by anon#1) If he were in the USA he would be on death row.

  10. In fairness, even the Americans balk at executing 14 year olds!

  11. Education and courses are but two of the ways people get time out of their cells, especially in a c cat lifer prison. Why don't you get any association Ben? What exactly do you do in there?? Before anyone starts posting about the insane system and Ben's pride and determination to stand up for himself etc.etc. I've read every post on here since the beginning. I still haven't got a satisfactory answer. There's no way the prison system could could keep this up (if it were really a simple case of morons retaliating to consistent challenges) for the length of time Ben has been in there. And although I can't tell you why or how, I should know.

  12. If he was refusing to work, he would be getting nicked and put in the seg unit. He doesnt seem to be in that situation, so i am willing to accept that the prison is messing him about. And at our expense!

  13. Anon #4

    What are you implying? If you state your suspicions openly, perhaps someone (possibly even Ben himself) will be able to answer your question. While you hide behind veiled accusations, it's quite difficult to have a proper conversation about the subject.


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