Walk of Blame

wing movement

I did this sketch from three CCTV images which were recently given to me, showing another prisoner being led from the scene of a fight to the segregation unit.

The full film shows four officers and a specialised dog handler escorting the prisoner from the scene of the fight to the unit where he would spend the next few months before being transferred to another prison. What is most concerning is the behaviour of the officers as they stand waiting for the gate to the unit to be opened electronically. The female officer backs off and the dog handler disappears from sight but the three remaining officers surround the prisoner. The biggest of the three officers stands side on to the prisoner with his right arm pulled back, the second officer circles round behind him, and the final officer holds his hands behind his back and leans right in to the prisoner’s face.

I can’t possibly say what the officers intentions were in this case, but their behaviour is remarkably similar to tactics I have seen used by other officers in the past (both against myself and others). It tends to be the case that one officer will lean in and taunt you, saying whatever it takes to try and get a reaction, whilst holding their arms behind their back so that you cannot use their aggression as a defence if you do react. Meanwhile, the second officer will circle behind you, ready to grab and hold you if you so much as raise your hands above your waist, and the biggest officer will stand ready to strike you (in defence of his colleagues of course) at the first sign of a reaction. As I said, I can’t say that this is what the officers on this particular CCTV film had in mind, because I couldn’t possibly know, and I’m not allowed to say such things. But it certainly looks similar to me and I have no reason to disbelieve what the prisoner in question has since said to me about it all.

I sort of wish I could just put the video, or even just some screenshots up here instead so that you can judge it for yourself. Unfortunately I can’t do that either since it would identify individual members of staff and prisoners and I am forbidden from doing that. Instead this sketch will just have to do.

 

Uniform Sentencing

In September 2014 PC Alice Nicholas and one of her Devon and Cornwall police colleagues responded to a call in St Austell where they were met by a man who proceeded to chase the two officers with a machete, threatening to cut their throats. He eventually put the machete down and was arrested without inflicting any injuries with the weapon. After pleading guilty he was given a suspended sentence of eight months in prison, suspended for two years.

In response PC Nicholas has begun a campaign calling for mandatory prison sentences for people who assault officers and more than 18,000 people have signed her online petition, meaning it will now be considered by the government.

There are two reasons why I hope she does not succeed in her campaign.

Continue reading

San Quentin

“You bend my heart and mind and you warp my soul.

Your stone walls turn my blood a little cold.”

After the past year of crap that HMP Wakefield has thrown at me there is only one song that truly describes how I feel about this place now: San Quentin by Johnny Cash.

Once you get past all the Americanisms it is fully transferable to Wakefield in almost every sense.

You can read the full lyrics to the song here and you can listen to it on my all new playlist section.

Chemically Enhancing Society

In recent months there has been one revelation after another in relation to doping in sport. But doping is not the preserve of elite athletes alone. Many students and professionals have taken so called ‘smart drugs’ to help with their performance at university or in work. As a culture, we seem to be moving towards a situation where anything goes, provided it works. My question is, where do you draw the line? Continue reading

Dali’s Deception

dali

As a rule, I don’t write about other prisoners in a way that identifies them. However, I do write about things which are already in the public arena, such as films and articles, and where these put forward a false picture, I feel like I should also put forward the reality. That said, I would never want to do it gratuitously so, whilst I’m sure most of you will have an inkling of who I am talking about here, I will refer to him only as Dali. I’m sure he would would approve of this himself. Continue reading

The Challenge

“How do you beat jumping off a moving bus?

By jumping onto a moving train.”

This story is actually based on something I actually did when I was about 15 years old. It starts out exactly as it did in real life except that, in real life, the train stopped.

And that’s what got me wondering. Now I’m grown and I can look back on what I did with a bit more maturity, I can imagine what might have happened if things hadn’t gone to plan. In reality, when I was 15, I didn’t give it’s a moment’s thought. The fact that the train slowed and stopped after carrying me the length of the platform to the tune of cheers from my friends just encouraged me and before long it became a bit of a party trick whenever we were drunk and on our way home from a night out. Especially when we were trying to impress any girls we had with us (in that juvenile teenage boy way which always works so well). In fact, I think there was only ever one girl who thought it was anything other than dumb.

I guess this gives a wider picture though. If I (and so many of my friends) could do such stupid and impulsive things without thinking about the consequences, either for ourselves or for others, then is it any wonder that some of us ended up falling into criminality?

You can read the full story here.