Friday, June 3, 2011


As the years have passed, our ability to communicate with the outside world has been expanded. Most importantly, with the introduction of payphones.
As with everything in prison, this positive carries within it a negative. In this case, finding the money to pay for the calls, at a rate some 7 times higher than for payphones on the street. And I needn't state the bleedingly obvious - my phone bills have suddenly taken a sharp turn upwards, ho ho.
Even so, our flow of information is chronically restricted and slow, like tapping Morse code through a jar of honey. 
Many long termers perhaps fail to realise this. Having lost my access to the Net, I feel it all the more keenly; it's as if my world has suddenly shrunk from an infinite expanse down to the dimensions of my cell. That is quite a psychological blow.


  1. must be hard in prison having no internet access


    ^^A better future may be on its way

  3. A guilty verdict, resulting in 21 days in the block. Ed.

  4. On the block? Does this mean in isolation?

    And how much does this impact on his progress towards open prison and release?

  5. Tallguy.

    Ben will be kept 'down' (it's always down for some reason!) 'the block'/'the seg unit'/'the chokey' or 'the punishment wing' (call it what you will!) until he has served his 21 day adjudication punishment.

    His days will be spent on 23hr bang-up,(yes effectively in isolation!) with only one hours 'exercise' to break up his day.

    This usually consists of walking round in circles in a purpose built enclosure hardly big enough for purpose.

    Because Ben is a lifer, he can not lose remission in the same way as someone serving a 'fixed sentence'. Therefore the impact of his actions may not be felt (or indeed be able to be judged!) for some time to come.

  6. This is too harsh, what a terrible wicked world we live in.

    I hope Ben finds a way of getting through this.

    The film 'The great escape' comes to mind and how one of the characters throws a ball against the walls of his cell repeatedly to get himself through the torture of solitary confinement.

    What a struggle life can be.

    Can this message get to him? We are thinking of him, praying for him and looking forward to him returning.

    Don't worry Ben (if there's a Hell below, we're all gonna go!) xx

  7. Sadly, Ben’s normal frustrations will only be magnified in the solitude of the punishment block.

  8. Hopefully not Darby, Ben has intelligence on his side and the definition of intelligence is the ability to adapt to ones environment. It won't be easy for him, but I have faith that things will work out.

  9. "Having lost my access to the Net" Oh dear. Sounds like a full admission then. A progressive move to open screwed up for a bit longer.

    Leaving aside all the stuff about whether it's fair or not, supporters on here must reflect if they either want to continue to encourage Ben in his efforts to challenge the system, or want to help him move to open and progress to release.

    I'm sure Ben will be influenced by people on here and that is quite a heavy responsibility.

    I'm a new boy and not familiar with the whole story, but enough I think to say that one of the hardest things to say to someone you care about is 'you're wrong.' Equally it shouldn't be underestimated how difficult it is for anyone to admit they're wrong, especially if it's over what appears to be a matter of principle.

    By taking stock, demonstrating an ability to see more than one side to an argument, using his undoubted intellect, Ben could make progress at the same time as making a claim for the moral high ground by expanding on his ideas for reform, but positively framed.

    When Ben returns from the block, it could be the right time for a fresh start for everyone. But I think it's up to supporters here to decide how best to approach that over the next few weeks.

  10. I believe strongly in prison reform Jim, that is why I support Ben. He has a right to freedom that cannot be taken away, he will be free one day. He chooses the path he goes down. I understand and support him and nobody is perfect in this world, but the most noble thing anyone can do is to do the best you can, and this he does.

  11. Oh, and Ben doesn't have a mind of his own then?

  12. Jim, you must be religious. I get the feeling that you imagine Ben will be reflecting on his misdemeanours whilst in solitary and perhaps praying or reading the bible? Sorry, but I feel the whole idea of this punishment abhorrent and it would be unlikely to have a positive affect on anyone. More likely to create anger and resentment, especially after 31 years. Wake up!

  13. Anon above. Lets hope he does reflect. It really is a bit pointless when people go and on and on about the length of time Ben has been inside.. yes we know he has been in a long time. Now hopefully he will change his behaviour and get out..

  14. Anon at 9.18, I wonder why you think Jim must be religious just from what he says here, and why you would think someone who who prays and reads the bible would necessarily want Ben to remain in solitary? It is good for all of us to reflect on our behaviour; Christian or not, prisoners or not. But I say it is time Ben moved to Open and then received every assistance with starting a new life on the outside.

    I do respect that Jim Brown seems to speak out of a concern for Ben's welfare and that he has experience of these matters, whether we all agree with him or not.

  15. In my opinion, Ben wont be spending his time in quiet reflection as if at some kind of Buddhist retreat.

    He will be mentally kicking the crap out of himself for making (what has to be said!)a shockingly ill-timed mistake.

    Ben will understand better than any of us just how far reaching the consequences of his actions could be. And it's these thoughts that I think will be uppermost in his mind.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.