WORDS FROM FIRST TIMER. 72 HOURS

worried
Lets just hear about one fellas experience, his first few nights in jail. These would be at the opposite end of the scale for me, as I learnt’ every angle/stroke and manipulation, as tactically that was humanly possible to get going through the chaos of reception on them first nights. I have been through receptions since I was a child. Therefore, it comes first nature to me. When it comes to the judicial system, I don’t have a second nature. Lets call this fella JP, now JP is in his early 50s and he is not the run of the mill criminal. Accordingly, he would have quite a shock to his system, trying to navigate his new surroundings. The large majority of male prison officers like these kind of prisoners, as they are easier to control and they are not really a threat. Which is a real relieve to the officers, as they all live with this underlying fear every day that they step into work. It’s not just the prison officers, it’s the whole prison, from the number one governor, to the weakest officer/prisoner on the landings.

cropped-empty-cell.jpg
THIS IS WHAT YOU WALK INTO ON YOUR FIRST NIGHT…IF YOU ARE LUCKY…

Prison is run on fear. There is nothing more powerful than fear and it the binds and gels the foundation of prison life and interactions. This will always be at the forefront of every bodies mind. If its not, then, you are the one vulnerable to be involved in some kind of violent interaction. As I said, it will be somewhere within the conscious or sub-conscious of every bodies mind. Prison is a horrible, dangerous place to be. Yes, I have had some of the funniest times in my life in there. More so, I have witnessed some of  the most violent people in the country, some of these men have become my best friends. I have also been a part of some very violent incidents. I am not proud of this. My reason for the explanation is for the reader to get to know me personally, not to boast or try and be something that I am not. Therefore I want to reveal as much as the law permits me, warts an all. I have seemed to have lost track on the prisoner who experienced the first 72 hours in jail. As I said different ends of the scale for me. Moreover, JP was a very timid man and the predators could sniff him out from the moment he walked in to a reception holding cell. I don’t have to be there to know this, I can actually visualise all this unfolding in front of my eyes. Don’t forget it is a false environment that you have entered and there is only so much that can happen in these environments and one jail is no different to another on the reception front. With heightened fear every body is trying to work out who’s friendship material and who is dangerous material… Now what you are about to read is what I got this chap to write down for me. I haven’t added or taken anything away from his experience of the first night in prison. You must remember local prisons have the courts coming in from all over the city. Therefore, reception in prisons are like your main local train stations during peak hours.

Wandsworth prison
The truth behind the realities of our judicial system

(JP) ON ARRIVING AT BRISTOL PRISON I DID NOT KNOW WHAT WAS GOING ON. I GOT OFF THE PRISON VAN AND WAS EXPECTED TO KNOW WHAT TO DO I ENDED UP JUST FOLLOWING THE PEOPLE WHO GOT OFF THE VAN WITH ME. I WAS VERY SCARED, AS I DID NOT KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT. I WAS THEN LOCKED IN A ROOM WITH AROUND 30 OR 40 OTHER MEN. THEY WAS ALL TALKING/SHOUTING, IT WAS SEVERELY CHAOTIC, I COULD SMELL CANNABIS AND 2/3 WAS HUDDLED AROUND A MOBILE PHONE, ALSO A COUPLE OF GUYS WERE SWAPPING GOODS FOR DRUGS.

 

EVERY NOW AND THEN THE DOOR WOULD OPEN AND SOMEBODIES NAME WOULD BE CALLED AND I WOULD NOT SEE MOST OF THEM AFTER THAT. AMONGST ALL THE CHAOS/FEAR I HEARD MY NAME BEING CALLED AND IT WAS A RELIEF TO SEE AN OFFICER AT THE DOOR URGING ME TO FOLLOW HIM, WHICH I DID AS QUICKLY AS MY FEET COULD TAKE ME. I THOUGHT THAT I WOULD START GETTING SOME SENSE OUT OF THIS OFFICER BUT, ALL I GOT WAS SPOKEN DOWN TO AND MY DETAILS ASK IN THE MOST DISRESPECTIVE WAY THAT I HAD EVER BEEN SPOKEN TO OR ENCOUNTED. AFTER THIS, HE TOLD ME TO WAIT IN THIS OTHER ROOM WHERE THE LAST 10 TO 15 OTHER PRISONERS FROM THE FIRST ROOM WAS WAITING.

I WAS TOLD THAT I WOULD SEE A NURSE AND THEN A DOCTOR. SOME HOURS LATER, I SAW THE NURSE AND EXPLAINED ABOUT ALL MY MEDICATION. I WAS THEN TOLD I WOULD SEE A DOCTOR WHEN I GOT ON THE WING. AFTER THIS ABOUT 6 OF US WAS GIVEN A BED PACK & SOME PLASTIC PLATE AND CUTLERY AND WAS MARCHED OF TO A WING. I NEVER GOT TO SEE NO DOCTOR AND WHEN I SPOKE TO A NURSE  THAT WE BUMPED INTO BEFORE I GOT PLACED IN THE CELL, HE SAID, ”YOU SHOULD OF GOT THAT ALL SORTED IN RECEPTION”. NOW I WAS AT A COMPLETE LOSS. SHOWN TO A CELL AFTER BEING  DENIED MY FULL ALLOCATION OF MY MEDICATION THIS WAS FOR MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS DEPRESSION, ANXIETY, CLAUSTROPHOBIA AND OCD.  THIS CONTINUED THROUGH THE WHOLE OF MY SENTENCE. NEVER GETTING A FULL RATIONAL ANSWER. IT SEEMED THERE WHERE TIMES THAT I WAS SERIOUSLY CONSIDERING SUICIDE. I DIDN’T KNOW IT WAS GOING TO GET WORSE, IT WAS DARK OUTSIDE AND IN THE GLIMMER OF LIGHT AS YOU PASSED THROUGH THE YARDS/GATES YOU COULD SEE RATS, SCURRYING AROUND OUTSIDE WHERE PRISONERS HAD THROWN FOOD & OTHER UNMENTIONABLES OUT OF THE WINDOW.

WHEN I FINALLY GOT TO A CELL DOOR AND THE OFFICER OPENED IT, I COULD NOT BELIEVE MY EYES, MATTRESS ON THE FLOOR, RUBBISH SCATTERED ALL ROUND THE CELL. THE CELL WAS INFESTED WITH COCKROACHES, I COULD SEE A FEW. AT NIGHT, YOU COULD HEAR THEM SCURRING AROUND.  I DID A COUNT OF OVER 50 ONE NIGHT.  THE WASHING BASIN WAS COVERED WITH THEM.  TOOTHPASTE BOXES THAT HAD BEEN STUCK TO THE WALL, TO HOLD TOOTH BRUSHES WERE, JAM PACKED WITH THEM.  ON TRYING TO REMOVE THEM, THEY WERE RUNNING UP MY ARM.  THE LARGEST ONE I SAW WAS OVER 4 CMS LONG. THE PERSON I WAS PLACED IN A THE CELL WAS OVER 6.5 FEET TALL.  HE HAD BEEN MOVED FROM ANOTHER WING THAT NIGHT, SOSAY, BECAUSE HE WAS BEING BULLIED. OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS, HE STARTED VERBALLY BULLYING AND ‘HARASSING’ ME. I FELT VERY INTIMIDATED BY HIM, WHEN I APPROACHED THE PRISON OFFICES TO TRY AND GET SOME HELP, I WAS JUST TOLD,  ”TO GET ON WITH IT” WHEN I TRIED TO COMPLAIN I WAS TOLD BY AN OFFICER, NOT TO MAKE LIFE HARD FOR MYSELF.
I REALLY WAS IN A BAD PLACE AND NEEDED HELP. THE FOOD WAS DISGUSTING AND I DIDN’T BOTHER COMPLAINING ABOUT THAT BECAUSE THE GUY IN MY CELL NOT ALLOWING ME TO HAVE ANY. HE USED TO INVITE HIS MATES INTO OUR CELL AND THEY WOULD SMOKE AMONST OTHER THINGS, SPICE.  I WAS THEREFORE A ‘PASSIVE SMOKER’ OF WHATEVER THEY HAD AVAILABLE.  I WAS A NON SMOKER UNTIL THEN. THE PASSIVE SMOKING OF SPICE MANIFESTED ITSELF IN THAT ONE MORNING I WOKE UP FEELING DIZZY AND SICK. ONCE AGAIN I FELT HELPLESS COUPLED WITH THE FEELINGS OF DISEMPOWERMENT. IT GOT TO THE SITUATION WHERE I WAS PREPAIRED TO PHYSICALLY REBUKE HIM. HOWEVER, I FELT SAD, LONELY, FRIGHTENED AND LUCKILY IN THE NICK OF TIME, I WAS  INFORMED THAT I WAS TO BE TRANSFERRED TO DARTMOOR PRISON. WHERE ONE NIGHTMARE ENDED AND ANOTHER ONE BEGUN. I WAS ASKED BY JAMES, IF I COULD RECALL MY FIRST FEW DAYS IN PRISON AND  THIS IS WHAT I CAN CLEARLY REMEMBER. INFACT I DON’T BELIEVE THIS EXPERIENCE SHALL EVER LEAVE ME…

 

Wow!!! although I have been in institutions from an early age, I never knew, well, I knew but, I had forgotten… No! not forgotten, because, I had never had that experience. Anyway, that was JPs take on his first 72 hours. He is not lying, I seen this throughout my whole life, however, because it didn’t effect me then, it was none of my business. I had my own prison time to look after. Therefore, I suppose it is like some people in society that don’t want to see, or never see, the inner details of the homeless person. All they see is a beggar on the scrounge and making loads of money… This thought process maybe coupled with, ”I bet he’s got a nice home”. I suppose, I was the equivalent of one of them, within the walls of our prison system….You can also take on board the reality of his uncertainty, vulnerability and fear. Prisons are run on fear, this fear it has an endless line of bullies. On reflection, this is not an isolated case, this is the norm for most prisoners on the first night in a local prison…It’s disgusting, like I said, in the beginning of this post that, I don’t really fall into this chaos of induction, as I know the system inside out and can do a lot of underhand tactics & manipulation to get what is needed for the chaotic period. I suppose the layperson on the street would describe me as being an old lag? No doubt, down the line of these posts more of my personal experiences will come out and we will see together, if I really was that old lag that everyone seemed to warm to.On a more serious level, please leave a comment and be realistic of how you would cope given the same circumstances and conditions? Furthermore on the conditions that people have to cope with within our judicial system.

Advertisements

7 thoughts on “WORDS FROM FIRST TIMER. 72 HOURS

Add yours

  1. This is such interesting stuff. You have a real way with words. Congrats on getting through all of this- your journey had clearly not been easy….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi James, reading this account and your comments on it is both fascinating and traumatic at the same time. Thank you for continuing to open my eyes and for the clear revelation that “Fear” rules.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is not just one persons story Jim. It has happened to everyone that has been in prison at or during some stage of their sentence. It was brave of him to let you write his story. Keep them coming Jimmy, really enjoying all the posts so far mate.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. No worries Silas, it’s been a real pleasure writing this post, as it is all the others too. Fear has a strange effect on everyone in life and with being in such a close knit community coupled with it being a false environment then it has no-where to go…

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

A WordPress.com Website.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: