We Don’t Need Roads


There are three things that really fascinate me as the topics of books and films. The first is dreams. The second is the nature of reality. The third is time travel. And I think they all fascinate me for the same reason. All of them open up infinite possibilities. They are a never ending source of ideas and inspiration.

A while back I saw a program about the growth in popularity of digital art and I decided to give it a go myself. With it being my first attempt at digital art I thought I‘d start by trying to create something based on an existing photo. This is a lot more difficult in prison where Photoshop is not available, so I had to create the image using individual polygons, coloured separately, in Microsoft Publisher. I noted that this is the year Marty McFly travelled to in Back to the Future and created the above image from scratch based upon a screen shot from the first film in the trilogy. It ended up using at least five thousand polygons and took a full week to complete.

It really got me thinking though. In the films Marty’s actions when he travels to the past affect his entire life when he comes back to the future. I have many regrets. I am in prison because of some of them. And if I had the chance to travel back and give myself a slap, I would do in a moment. But what would my life look like now if I did? Would I have grown up in the same way? Would I have seen the necessity of change in the way I have? Would I have become the person I am today rather than staying the troubled boy I was then? Or would I have ended up getting in trouble in some other, perhaps worse, way instead? Would I have made something of my life? Or would I have carried on down the path I was on at the time and ended up dead? It really was just a matter of time.

Like I said, I would go back and change it all if I had the chance, but only because I’d want to prevent all the heartache I caused for others, including those I love most. For them I would give up all of the experiences I have had, both good and bad. But if it was just down to me, if it would have no effect on anyone else at all, I don’t know if I could. The things I’ve seen, the people I’ve met, the ways I’ve grown and learned and developed; they’re not worth anyone else’s heartache, but they are certainly worth my own.


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Looking Back on November

Some time ago I wrote about the introduction of an Enabling Environments initiative here at Wakefield. Some time later I also wrote that I had been suspended from being an Enabling rep pending investigation of an allegation of assault. Well, it seems to get more farcical here by the day.

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Common Sense: One Flu Over

Just lately they have been vaccinating people against influenza here. That’s not a particularly unusual thing in the winter, I guess. What I did find unusual was the letter I was sent about it. All of the following quotes are genuine and come directly from this letter.

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Right to Respect for Private and Family Life

Continuing my monthly series of posts looking at the various articles of Human rights, and what society might be like without them, this month I focus on the right to respect for private and family life.

Article B of the Human Rights Act 1993 and the European Convention on Human Rights sets out that everyone has the right to respect for their private and family life, their home and their correspondence. This is, perhaps, one of the most used articles in claims launched by prisoners. But why?

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I have long thought that mistreating animals in captivity is no different to mistreating people in captivity. It is one of the reasons I wouldn’t want to keep a budgie in prison. A while ago someone told me about a documentary called Blackfish exposing the way orcas are treated. Well, it has just been announced that Sea World are to stop keeping orcas until they can exhibit them in more natural surroundings.

I’d just like to take this chance to congratulate and thank all of you who campaigned against mistreatment of these animals. Humanity isn’t just about caring for humans.

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On the Job

I’ve said for many years that no kid ever says “When I grow up I want to be a prison officer.”  Some will say a policeman, some will say fireman, some will say astronaut, but none will ever say prison officer. Hell, I’ve known people who’ve said, even as a kid, that they wanted to be a bank robber or drug dealer (as sad as it is), but I have never come across a single kid who wants to be a prison officer.

Until now.

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Looking Back on October

This month I feel like I have really gained some self insight. I have long been told that I shouldn’t always try to be the knight in shining armour who rides in to save the day because it’s not always practical, it can come across as conceited, and it almost always makes me a target. It’s true. I have a hero complex. I love to be the one who can make a difference. But not because of what anyone else might think about it. Simply because love the feeling when I see the relief on the face of someone I have managed to help.

For a while over the past year I tried to rein that in. I refocused my attention and prioritised progression towards release. However, this brought me no closer to actually getting out and in fact I lost quite a lot of what I wanted to get out to. But even more importantly, I was less happy. Recently I saw that look of utter relief on the face of someone I had managed to help again and I was reminded why it is so important to me.

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