Friday, September 2, 2011


There are those who argue that prisoners should have no rights, that we should rot.

This raises an important question that no-one seems prepared to address in this context. That is, what then should be the limits of punishment?


  1. These posting are getting better, alot better than the usual, me thinks you have got your mobile access back?

    On the lawnmower subject, whats wrong with working in a workshop? do you know how to fix anything? how to put up a set of shelves, change a plug, how to hang wallpaper? or whether you need a screw or a nail?

    A Phd counts for nothing in the real world.

    Do you understand that for the menial jobs you will be competing for, you have to fill out pages of application forms and sit interviews. They will want examples of work you have done, you will say 'but I sat on my arse for 35 years!' good answer.....

    Does you Phd make you clever enough to understand you'll be luckly to be stacking shelves in Asda on your release?

  2. Dear Anon @ 11.30

    Please sod off, there's a good troll.

    More in the spirit of Ben's earlier request: would you mind confining your lawnmower nonsense to the lawnmower post? It's gets awfully dull when we have to have the same discussion under every post.

    My Ph.D currently gives me a salary fully £15k p.a. above what I would expect to receive and has brought me to Japan, where I am gaining enormously from all the exciting experiences I am having. It has also given me a wealth of understanding and transferable skills that make my highly attractive in a wide range of employment sectors outside the narrow field of my research. In other words, I have masses of possibilities open to me now that I wouldn't have had I stopped at undergraduate level, so I suspect your "a Phd counts for nothing in the real world" is coming from the perspective of reverse snobbishness due to not having one. Jealousy is an unattractive emotion.

    Keep plugging away Ben, PhDs are supposed to be difficult, soul-sucking beasts, but it is worth it once you're out the other side.

    As for Ben's posts improving, I suspect that has far more to do with a lightening of his general mood (perhaps due to having finally got hold of his typewritter) than any sort of mobile access.

    Jeeze, sometimes the ignorance of the commenters here gets my goat. I try hard not to be rude, but sometimes... meh.

  3. Very funny, anon above. On an earlier post Ben listed all the jobs he has done over the years, including Summit media. Perhaps you should read it?

  4. Prisioners should have rights I think prisioners in the UK should count there blessings as in the USA ina lot of states prisioners are locked up 23 hours a day some even with 23 men in a cell no jobs no education spending 3 or 4 years waiting to go to court.

    Prison is meant to be punishment, everybody has a choice you chose to murder another man at14.
    Prison is also meant to keep dangerous people off the streets. You say you have not commited violence but have used drugs (which sadly now seem socially acceptable)

    we only have your word for it you have not been violent. How many people in africa or india would like 3 meals a day, a warm dry bed and clothes, and free health care

    Yes peeps in the USA try to go to prision for the free health care.

  5. Is it me or are the anonymous postings becoming more and more... stupid.

    Funnily enough a Phd does count for a lot in real life, look at the circles of academia. And why should a prisoner be lucky to be stacking shelves at Asda? If a prisoner has shown complete rehabilitation, acceptance of guilt etc and paid their due, why should they not be able to make something of themselves and generate some good for society?

    I get the feeling this comes down to not much more than classism. People don't like to see those who are the bottom rung of society better themselves, they like to have someone to look down upon and sneer at. There is also probably a feeling of being threatened at the mere notion of someone getting 'above their station'.

    As for the US prisons, let's face facts. They're a joke. There are third world prisons that are better managed and better services are provided.

    Yes, there is a need for punishment and as detailed the Human Rights Act, there is the loss of liberty. I imagine that if the average person had their liberty removed they would understand the punishment.

    You can argue about people in africa desiring the life that prisoners have is irrelevant to how we treat prisoners in the UK. It's a very different world and comparisons cannot easily be drawn. Also, is it not somewhat moronic to say that just because someone else has it worse than us we should not improve things?

  6. Where ‘stupid’ =’doesn’t agree with me’? … (a descent into ad hominem). No need for that attitude ---just ‘cause open season on the anons of this board has been declared by the powers that be here, folks like you are getting quite cutting. Please try and avoid that if you can –it is not nice and makes the onlooker think immediately of censorship and stigma. The anons are good here (as a welcome relief from the prevailing climate of non-questioning acceptance). That’s what I think, anyway!

    Re doctorates: PhDs don’t mean much unless wanting to teach in a university, where it’s almost obligatory these days. In any other employment sphere they’re seen as a sad indulgence, a waste of time. The main attraction for most doctoral studes is probably the cosmetic ego-enhancement of the magic ‘Dr’ addition to one’s name.

    Trying to get funding for a doctorate is extremely difficult if you’re even a little bit older…thus Ben is fortunate indeed to have such funding.

    I would guess that had he been released ‘normally’ (i.e. after his tariff had been served almost twenty years ago), then he wouldn’t have had much realistic opportunity for doing a PhD after release. He’s lucky in that, you might say.

    Life’s what you make it I guess…..and that’s true for us all.

  7. where are you in what prison? In the u.s.a. or the UK?

  8. never mind, I can read What about the dude that did time in Arizona? USA

  9. If I was one of these barely coherent slavering gibberers, I'm fairly sure I'd choose to remain anonymous too.

  10. The anonymous posts are making my dictionary weep...

  11. This blog seems to have become an excuse for people to snipe and backbite and sometimes make irrelevant comments. Sad really.

    Many of us who read this blog are wanting to gain knowledge and insight into prison life and prisoners not to argue with each other. This blog is Ben's view - that does not mean he is saying it is right and he knows it is one of many views.

    Prisoners should be punished appropriatly for their crime and then rehabilitated to become good members of society. I believe that Ben probably does have some understanding of how hard life will be for him outside but hopefully he also believes that he can make. Please offer encouragement to him rather than some of the snide remarks. I agree with Garry above - everyone should try to reach their full potential, including Ben. Every prisoner, after they have completed appropriate punishment, should be given help and advice to use their skills - Ben may end up 'stacking shelves in Asda' but should be encouraged all the way to use his other skills too.

    Keep writing Ben and at times educating us out here. You can and will make it out here - quite hard but anyone who can survive over 30 years in prison CAN make it.

  12. You're 100% correct Mary, but I just like takin the piss outta people. Still though, I have full respect for Ben and feel privileged that he's chosen to share his thoughts with us & wish him every success.

  13. Ed here. I have just rescued some comments from the spam filter, and deleted the most recent silly lawnmower remark made by an obvious troll who does not actually read the posts! Whilst not wanting to qualify some of the nonsense recently written (it has to be said) I wish to say this to Anon, Sept 3rd 5.39: At age 14 you are still a child, and Ben did not murder "another man" but another child. He has written about this and the torture he lives with on previous posts. A similar crime committed today would result in a much shorter sentence. Ben is actually locked up for 23 hours a day at present, like the U.S. jails you so love, and he is not violent.


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