Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My Thanks and Apologies

Six thousand pounds and three year's work; my PhD research had now ended.  It was not a peaceful, dignified passing.

Of course, this isn't an official announcement, it isn't as if management have overtly ordered this outcome.  Rather, it resulted from ineptitude and neglect.  In desperation, in July I demanded to see the Governor.  With vital notes trapped on floppy disk and the Education Department refusing to talk to me, only the Governor could break the deadlock.

In the event, his Deputy arrived and we discussed the situation.  He left, promising to discuss my predicament with the Governor and report back.  A month has passed and he never re-appeared.  That leaves it too late for me to meet my academic deadline.  My research is dead.

In my post last year I attempted to explain why my PhD was so important to me.  That all remains true.  All I know today is that the Prison Service has destroyed a potential career or way for me to make some contribution to life, and research which could have led to a reduction in the level of violent conflict within prisons.

I put in my best efforts, despite every obstruction and problem put my way.  My University and research supervisor have been beyond the call of duty.  And money - including yours - supported me financially.  These efforts are now reduced to ashes by the ineptitude of Erlestoke governors.

The best that can be salvaged is that I restart from the beginning, but that requires my finding a philanthropist with £1,400 to invest against my future potential.

I do apologise.  Failing in my studies is not natural for me, especially when my efforts are supported by the generosity of others.  If the situation changes, I shall keep you all informed.


  1. Gutted for you Ben. So unfair.

  2. It must have been tough for you coming to that conclusion.

    All that upheaval from Shepton to Earlstoke; it could not have been easy, even in ordinary circumstances, let alone with your trying to do a PhD aswell.

    I am sorry for you, but you never know what is around the corner. You have the ideas still and have some work already under your belt, so, like you say, something might still come of it in the future.

    In the meantime, whenever I have had to cease going down a particular academic road for various reasons (it has happened a lot to me, including a brief attempt at a Phd) that Captain Sensible song always comes into my mind called "I'm Glad its all over"!

    In a way you can relax now and see where life takes you. All the best.

  3. This is pretty crap...although I do agree with the decision to remove your word processor, there's no reason they couldn't have printed off your existing notes in order to allow you to continue in the 'old school' fashion. Could you not start again, by hand? A lot of people would have had a parallel experience 'on the out', where a rogue computer or memory stick has 'eaten' months of work and research, an although it's galling, you can pull it back. I really hope you decide to pick up where you left off, and get another chance, although please don't put all your eggs in one basket. Your PHD is not your only chance at being useful in society, take a look at your wider options?


  4. Hi Ben,
    I am really disappointed and saddened BUT something deep within me tells me that Ben will not roll over that easily.

  5. Secretsquirrel,

    Why do you agree with the decision to remove Ben's word processor? It's on the list of allowed items isn't it?

    Presumably it's because that's where the phone was hidden?

    But prisoners can hide phones in all sorts of places. Are we to take away everything and leave them naked in a bare cell? It wouldn't matter, they'd still find places to hide stuff.

    And what about the typewriter that was kindly donated by a blog reader that disappeared into the black hole of the system?

    Given Ben's recent post about people having it in for him, I find this situation hard to read as anything other than deliberate maliciousness by someone with more power than they should have. It stinks.

    Virtually everyone knows the Stanford prison experiment. For all it's failings, it remains a seminal piece of research into how people behave when in control of others and real life has born out its results time and time again. Why do we still ignore it when it is happening right under our noses??

  6. The prison system stinks, and Ben, if its any consolation, some people have got it in for me, so you are not alone!

    Good luck with everything Ben, sorry to hear about this knock back : (

  7. totally gutted for you Ben. The system stinks. Power hungry, good for nothing bullies. They abuse their positions of power and responsibility. Truly disgusting.

  8. Another stark example of our 'great British justice system' just getting it all wrong? or (as I sadly suspect!) the start of a conspiracy designed to destroy all that has been achieved thus far?

    Step softly Ben.

  9. ...mitigating circunstances, so get a deadline extension?

  10. Anon 6.03. The University already gave Ben a deadline extension and have been falling over backwards to support him. During that time a typewriter (on the list of approved items for prisoners) was delivered to Erlestoke and is still sitting reception. Ben repeatedly submitted applications to get his notes back in the light of this deadline extension and the prison should have been fully aware of it as he kept jumping up and down reminding them. But the applications got "mislaid", until legal intervention got the attention of the Governor. By then it was, sadly, too late.

  11. @wigarse

    Exactly, because it was where the phone was hidden. As a matter of course, luxuries are removed a a result of 'nickings', and general contravention of prison rules. Be it work processors, games consoles etc. So yeah, absolutely agree with the decision.

    As I stated above, though I do not agree with the decision to completely stifle the academic work, and yeah, I agree that a better explanation of where the typewriter has gone wouldn't go a miss...or even the typewriter making it's way to ben would be brilliant!!

    Isn't it funny that the 'supporters' of Ben's cause (who I'd o feel sometimes perpetuate his problems by supporting his sometimes immature an futile attempts to kick and scream, culminating in him inching further and further away from release!!) spot a comment from someone who hasn't always kissed Ben's arse, and immediately jump on the one sentence that doesn't tow the party line. My comment was in support of ben, and appreciative of the difficulty he is having in terms of his research.

    No wonder the anons are starting to rebel!!

  12. Ben, me ou'ld mate. You did what you told me you would do. The pricks that caused the 4th Sept incident went to my cell (27) to 'sort it out'. Blood, busted furniture etc. but the wankers don't get the IMEI message. If it wasn't for them, we'd have some sort of credibility.

  13. I doubt if Ben was expecting a gold watch when he hit the 32 year mark of his sentence, but to be treated the same (or worse) than a 'short-termer' is, in my opinion, nothing short of contemptuous on the part of the authorities, and a clear indication that they don't give a sh*t who might be watching.

    The ramifications of their actions

  14. Apologies for the 'rogue' last line!


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