Monday, February 27, 2012

Financial Responsibility

Perhaps oddly, the prison service frowns upon us hitch-hiking to get to distant places. Home leaves, etc, must rest upon proper travelling plans. As I am 3 hours away from home by car, making that trip is going to be my South Pole, my Everest. At least six changes in transport, juggling between buses and trains, and hoping not to miss a single connection. While the destination looms large in my hopes, the journey there is a pit to wade through on the way.
To add some verve to the process, I have to fill in a form for financial assistance for the journey. This form is helpfully headed, in bold, with an exhortation that we should try to manage our finances so that we can pay these transport costs ourselves. This is mendacious in the extreme. On a prison wage of a tenner a week, no matter how financially astute I may be I really can't fund a journey to points south of Bristol once a month - oh, and back! Even Robert Maxwell would struggle to make those figures add up. This is where paying prisoners pocket money for their labours comes back to bite the prison on the bum. Being lectured on financial probity in these circumstances is just insulting.
In a fit of largess I have offered to contribute a tenner but, that apart, I expect the prison to pay for my travelling costs. I know the country is broke, and the prison has yet another budget cut, but these activities out into the community are a pre-requisite for release. Am I wrong to expect the prison to facilitate them?


  1. If it is a pre-requisite for release, then it is a saving to fund it. So they really should.

    however, I bet that the prison allocation for such transport is separate from the money they get to keep Ben there. So the poor accountant, who probably knows he is not really saving the public money, has to save money here, as by spending it he will not see the long term benefit to his budget.

  2. Sounds like a terrible journey you've got to make there Ben, I do feel sorry for you and hope that everything runs smoothly for you when you take that journey home. All the best x

    About money, well, money is the root of all evil, so don't watch money, if you know what I mean, know your rights, and fight for them, but regarding money, just try and rise above that worry. Might sound strange I know, but money comes and money goes, just do what you must do, and what you think you should do in life, and do it well. Let the rest take care of itself. You take care now x

  3. "money is the root of all evil" (truncated quote, poor translation)

    "THE LOVE OF money is the root of all KINDS OF evil"

    sorry, pet peeve.

  4. yes, we all know the longer version of it anon ; )

  5. The other obvious point not mentioned is that if the Prison Service will go round relocating prisoners all over the place they should expect to pick up the travel costs.

    In fact, I'd argue they should be paying for a certain amount of visitors' travel, not just on principle but also because it would probably reduce reoffending rates.

  6. Sophie, you'd be astonished how many people don't, and the implications of the two quotes are totally different.

    1. Please can you explain how the implications of the quote are different then, particularly with reference to the comment I made originally?

      When I came across the expanded version, ie the love or worship of money is the root of all (kinds) of evil, it simply helped to explain more fully the shorter and more common version. i.e Money is the root of all evil.

      Thanks : )

    2. In general, the more commonly used form carries the implication that money in itself is the ultimate cause of wrongdoing. While logically this would mean that money is to be avoided, in practise I've most commonly heard it used to brush off human responsibility for their own actions - 'it's not me, it's the economy/budget/cashflow/whatever, it makes me act crazy. You know what they say: money is the root of all evil.'

      You were not using it in that sense (or I'd have been more irritated) so I thought the expanded version was more appropriate as applied to your particular post. As I said, it's a pet peeve, so don't take it too seriously - I'm sorry if I offended you.

  7. What about other expenses, while you are out on home leave? ie, money for food and anything else? Do you get anything from the prison, or do you have to use your own cash???

  8. He has to fund these things himself. Ed.

  9. Perhaps Ben could cover this in another post. So, in a nutshell, the prisoner is at the mercy of his friend or family for food, use of phone, transport etc while on home leave, all well and good if the family can afford it, but what about those that can't? and what about the prisoners who there are plenty of, that have no friends or family that they can stay with, what do they do??? Do the prison not have any funds for this?

  10. I am very sorry for you, Ben! The invention of money, was evil! Just as the top people that control it (Bankers), are evil! Each war is funded by these so called 'Good People'! So they rot in Hell! Well, guess what? This is Hell! Are you surprised? So, would you be also surprised that the two main family names, running this show, are controlling just a "Big Chocolate Log"! Now, I reckon, if we feed them enough of the "Big Chocolate Log", they will choke on their own greed, then we can get out of this damn excuse for "Divine Perfection", then head off to "The Real Divine Perfection"!


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