Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Money and Release

So we all thought that the days of having to buy your way out of prison were long gone! Open prisons are more expensive places to live than your average nick, because there are required expenses that just don't pop up in Closed prisons. As we spend much more time in the open then we need to buy suitable clothing. The prison issue tracksuit or jeans and jumper don't really cut it if you’re working day is a long and cold one. Woolly hats, gloves and a good jacket are not so much useful as prerequisites for life.
The essential point about Open prison, for long termers and Lifers at least, is to acclimatise us back into society. To that aim we are allowed to spend increasing amounts of time in the community, working, socialising with family, organising for eventual release...and all of this costs money. The bus fare to Derby is over half a week’s wage, for instance. Lunch has to be bought. And a couple of quid in the pocket to avoid the appearance of forever mooching off friends and family is also handy.
The prison does pay for some of this stuff, some of the time, but we are quickly thrown back onto our own resources - such as they are. This leads to the situation where some people don't take all their allowed time in the community because they just can't afford it on prison wages.

You would think that being in paid employment in the community would ease this financial strain, that a more liberated lifestyle could be within reach. Ha! If a man is in paid work then the nick withdraws all financial support for reintegration. Due to the 40 percent Victims Tax this means that there are men who are permanently broke because they have to pay for everything, including rail journeys home for home leave. On a minimum wage minus 40 percent, you can appreciate that money and the lack of it is a serious problem.
Such, you may say, is life. True, true... except that the purpose of our being here is to resettle us in the community. These activities are not optional. If I don't have sufficient completed town visits or home leaves by the time of my parole hearing, then I don't get released. In such circumstances, having us fund a large portion of our resettlement activities comes perilously close to us having to buy our way out of prison. And those that can't afford it?
I realise that the nation is broke. A part of that is due to you lot being so greedy as to grab any and every bit of credit you could lay your hands on! For once, a disaster has happened and I can honestly say it has bugger all to do with prisoners. It is all the fault of the free society! One consequence of the screwed economy is that the prison system is also poor, leading to situations such as our funding our resettlement. The economy is broke but I'm damned if I can see why prisoners should carry  the can.


  1. "... the nation is broke. A part of that is due to you lot being so greedy as to grab any and every bit of credit you could lay your hands on" Really? Lending to poor people always comes at a huge price to them, and lending to small business has fallen every quarter for three years; the constriction of the economy has a lot more to do with bankers and the monopolies of big business than any ordinary folk like us. As you know too, poverty is a major reason why people go to jail in the first place. If anyone is greedy, its the fat cat bosses and their rotten system that makes people a) need more than they have and b) want more than they need. And then they keep us all down by filling up the jails.

    I know you are a lifer Ben, and as such represent only a small proportion of those in jail, but I thought that with all the education you put yourself through you'd have more of a clue about who caused the economy to shrink and the pressures put on us ordinary working people and small business than you show at the end of your post here.

    Apart from that though what you are basically saying is that if you have the money you can buy yourself release from prison, as it was in the past and is still true today, from the description you make, there is no doubt in my mind how correct that is.

  2. My comment just disappeared :(

    Can it be retrieved? Or, must I write it again?

  3. Welcome to the real world Ben. You have no idea how tough it is out here then? Just to put you in the picture, my fule bill this year is £100 more than last year (money that has to be found out of thin air). My car costs £600 a year, just to sit outside, with tax, insurance and MOT, if i want to go anywhere, a full tank of petrol is a tad over £50, which i just use pottering around in our area. A bus or train is expensive too. Food is getting more expensive. It is the youngsters i feel sorry for. Anyone who wants to buy a small house round here, would need the thick end of £70k pa, and a hefty deposit of around A£40k. Their uni fees leave them in debt, and then to get any sort of work, many have to work as interns. The other end of the scale isn't much fun. They have just cut the housing benifit of someone i know, and he can no longer afford to live in a private rent flat, so he is now sofa surfing. Social housing is thin on the ground. I think things are only going to get a lot worse. Never before have banks and countires gone down the pan... and if you want to know whos fault it is blame the banks, there is a clip on youtube, money by debt. I absolutly dispare, and Ben, upon release, you have a big shock waiting.

  4. Better economic argument for your Ben.

    To pay for the necessary visits is presumably about £20-30 at most.

    To keep you in prison whilst you wait another year is probably at least £30 000.

    999 visits would still be a saving.

    One of the major problems in this country at the moment seems to be the desire to cut things that can easily be cut, but then leave no saving as the person then falls back on a non-discretionary but more expensive form of expenditure.

  5. Wellcome to the real world of having nothing. trying to get a job is almost imposable . being L.G.B.T just adds insult to injury. being closed in a network of people with warmth and electric and food clothing and the rest of it. life out here sucks. the streets are killing each other and you are inside for a crime which warrents you to be away from society regardless of what you did. this time may time i fear to loose everything. i may be on the streets to the unforgiving sociaty of branded homeless bum to be spat on. sit in your jail and plan for getting out to a wasted country

  6. Sophie, it landed in the spam filter for some reason. I have just retrieved it. Ed.


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