Never been in prison.
I have visited a prison twice and my entire knowledge of prison life is based upon those two visits. I didn’t actually think it was too bad. Certainly nowhere near as bad as I expected it would be.
We employed a guy at the time who when he wasn’t working for us was a bit of a tearaway oblique football hooligan oblique hardcase. He was a good worker though, handled clients well and was an asset to the business. He was arrested tried and found guilty of an unprovoked attack on a football hooligan from the other team’s supporters and was given, I think it was eighteen months. Quite a severe sentence. He was found with a billiard ball in his possession; apparently not as innocent as it sounds. They become dangerous weapons when swung in a sock and so he wasn’t just unlucky to be the one the police caught . . . though technically that may be true . . . he was armed and therefore his plea of innocent bystander fell on deaf ears.
He had had a particularly gruelling young life. No qualifications from school; football seemed to be his only interest. In theory I should have kept well away but he was always polite toward me and I had been very impressed at interview that he had excelled on the youth employment scheme he had been placed on. He obviously believed in himself even if no-one else did. And there is always that there but fortune thing; someone needed to give him a chance and I took it upon myself to be that person. Later in life and while he still worked for me, he came home late at night from a date with his girl-friend and found his mother dead on the kitchen floor from a single stab wound.
So . . . hard, hard life.
He had a girl-friend who believed in him as well. Pretty girl with dirty-blonde frizzy hair. Sorry can’t remember her name now and she and I visited him in prison a couple of times. We sat at a table with him and had a soft drink in a plastic cup and he told us about the regime and the scams. They seemed to either be watching TV all day or playing five-a side football in the yard outside.
He got out after about a year and came back to work for us. Left about a year later.
There was something on the web this week saying that prisons in the UK are dirty and overcrowded and full of people who should be in mental hospitals, not prisons. Their only crime really is that they cannot cope: with life; with keeping down a job; with the rent-man and the gas-man and the job-centre woman; with the neighbours still screeching at one another at two-o’clock in the morning and all the other minor irritants of 21stC Britain.
Should you be in prison for substance-abuse? One has to wonder. And what is also true I think is that it is the people who rail against societies’ rules and regulations that end up in prison; in a situation where petty rules and regulations meet them at every turn. Being taught to do what you are told, don’t cry, don’t weep, don’t lose your temper, reign in your emotions at all times is how to get through a prison sentence but not I suggest how to live in society.