Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Plan

Oh yes, there is A Plan! This comes in the form of a timetable of activities which must take place for the Parole Board
to release me in May next year.
It used to be that Open prisons worked to their own internal rhythm, parole board be damned, and so I expected to be stuck here for a year before release. Sudbury, bless it, has grasped the reality of releasing Lifers and offers four timetables each determined by the timing of the Lifers next parole hearing. As mine is May, 6 short months away, then my countdown to release is as follows:
In the first 2 weeks I should have an escorted town visit. A month after arrival,  I have 2 unescorted town visits and begin unpaid, unsupervised work in the community. This is the real Beginning Of The End, my first forays into the world sans handcuffs in 31 years. Am I ready? Yep. Are you..???

At 3 months in,  3 town visits, work and... home leaves!

And at 4 months after arrival, I can begin paid work.
By May next year I should be able to approach the Parole Board with a record of activity that demonstrates that I'm not a basket-case. They should then order my release.
This is all happening very, very fast.


  1. Christ, Ben, being enthusiatic for release is one thing; but 'a plan', such as what you describe here seems like your are being pushed around too much, too soon and too far.

    However, I doubt that with your enthusiasm for release you would see it like that.

    But considering you have been incarcerated for over 30 years since being a teenager, it is almost all you know and have gotten used to, it seems wrong to be rushing too much and too hard.

    I really hope everything works out just the way you want it to Ben, but I don't like the sound of this, might sound crazy, but I think you need more time, and to have more of a relaxed regime, it would fit in better with what you have been used to.

    Its not like I don't trust the authorities to have your best interet at heart either, lol!

    But hey ho, I am sure you know best, so I wish you all the best and good luck : )

  2. I agree with Sophie - it is all a bit quick - but hopefully you also have people who are going to help you in the community. Luckily you have kept in touch with some of the realities of life in the community but don't under-estimate how hard it will be. I am rooting for you and if there is anything I could do to help I will - so please make any requests for help that you think I, or others, could do.

    Have a good Xmas and thinking of you.

  3. Sounds like a good plan to me.

    In my opinion, Ben demonstrates through his writing that he is more than capable of coping with life on the outside.

    Sure, things have changed. But if over 30 years of languishing in our jails hasn't managed to defeat him, - I'm pretty sure the trivialities of life won't either.

    I would guess that Ben is feeling a mixture of emotions. The excited anticipation of release will be matched by the trepidation of something going wrong and thus more delay.

    Ben has more support than many could wish for, and also a plan for his future. I therefore don't see any reason to keep him longer than it will take to complete the steps he mentions above.

    Ben's had over 30 years to get used to the idea of getting out!

  4. Perhaps the prison service want him out of there hair to stop the blog this order may have comefrom the top. Also he wasnot allowed to workonthe prision magazine. The powers that be do not want the british public to know the truth. The PO's just follow like sheep.

    Good luck and merry christmas Ben

  5. Happy Monkey!

    Good to see some progress towards release after all this time, hope to see you out soon.

    Don't suppose any advice is really needed here but keep your head down, smile and nod at the appropriate moments and let them see the progress they expect to see.

  6. They chew you up and spit you out, and its no different for Ben either. I don't think I can watch any longer as the last leg of his journey unfolds, but good luck to Ben, he will need it.

  7. It is happening quickly because they took so long to move him and still need to meet the May target.

    Ben has a lot of support from family and friends. Having said that, I am in Australia for Christmas and New Year so will not be posting every day, just when I can so please bear with me. Ed.

  8. Congratulations Ben - I'm sure you'll be fine. It might be a little disorientating at first but freedom being the default human condition, is not one that should take too much adjusting too.

    Merry Christmas !

  9. So much happening in so little time will be stressful. Find a way to unwind - meditation, birdwatching, even junk TV. And don't expect it to get better when they actually do release you!

    Happy new year

  10. Sounds better timing and as Sophie says just go with the flow. Sounds a better plan than last time I met you in a Cat D!

  11. I would be very surprised if the Parole Board directed Ben's release in May 2012. They would normally expect a lifer to do at least 2 years in open conditions first.

  12. Not any more, it seems. They have too many of them to process and not enough resources to clear the log jam caused by the IPP sentence. Ed.

  13. I hope you are right, but I would not bank on it. I suspect that, perhaps, an 18 month review is a more likely and realistic outcome? The Parole Board is risk averse, and I cannot see them sacrificing a longer testing period on the grounds of workload and the IPPs.

  14. One word of warning! As you should very well know, you have been under 'their' power for at least about thirty years. Living every day, with them breathing down your neck! Getting a release into the great wide world now, is very different from the world you knew, as well as everybody else knew, thirty years ago! You do not need to be a prisoner, or ex-prisoner, to be spied on now. The nation is getting very restless, and they know it. Having you still locked up causes bother for 'them'! At least having you out, would mean the prisoners would no longer have you to speak on their behalf, which 'they' think is a plus for them? Little do 'they' know, it is 'they themselves, who are going to climb Mt. Everest!


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