Prison Widow UK. How's things? Good I hope and thanks for the blog. It's the business.
I have read the recent post featured on your site. I am indeed an ex-prisoner myself and have been on lock-up 23 hours a day in Her Majesty's Prison. This wasn't due to unruly behaviour by the way; it was down to the fact that the particular prison I was serving my sentence in had a crisis concerning staff shortages.
When one is locked down for 23 hours a day; and when one is unlocked feeling confused; depressed and mentally tortured; one will hit out at the nearest person; usually a prison officer.
I have a mother who works full time in a secure unit for the mentally ill and it disturbs me greatly when she is attacked by patients; so I absolutely do not condone assault of any kind. I also know that the mentally ill people my mother cares for are mentally ill therefore cannot control their behaviour.
Locking prisoners down for 23 hours a day has a profound impact on one's mental health. Think about it. It drives people stir-crazy.
Those on the outside who believe that prisoners should be locked up to rot need to look at the bigger picture. Many prisoners will eventually be released back in to society and in to your communities.
Do you really want an ex-prisoner living next door to you if they served their time in prison locked down for 23 hours a day? I wouldn't and I am an ex-prisoner!
The courts dish out the punishment; a prison sentence; but prison should not be the punishment. It should be a place of education and rehabilitation but it is simply not working.
I spoke to a prison officer one day and the person genuinely did their job because they wanted to make a difference. One day they said to me; ''I would rather be working in a supermarket stacking shelves than coming in to work stressed and anxious''. And that is how that person was feeling. Prisoners do talk to prison officers; quite often in fact because some of them are actually alright. But how bad is it when a prison officer confides in a prisoner because they are feeling vulnerable and really do not want to be where they are? I have witnessed them run off their feet and their faces ooze stress and tension.
I read the article that prisoners where denied toilet paper and locked down for 23 hours a day. No; it is not acceptable and I am so sad to say this but; if that is the way the system continues to run then expect riots; expect assaults on staff and expect staff shortages because who the hell would want to be a prison officer? What are the prison service's plans? What are they doing to rectify these problems?
How many more people are going to get hurt because the system is a shambles and quite frankly a joke. I am an ex prisoner and guess what I am doing for a living? I am doing a job that very prison officer wants. I am filling shelves in a local supermarket. How ironic!
With a great amount of respect to you