When is a Witness Not a Witness?

I feel like I should explain why my Travels of a Virtual Nomad has been suspended.

A while ago I wrote about being moved from a cell with a view of most of Wakefield city to one with only a brick wall outside of the window and I said that the next step would probably be the dungeon.

Well, I’m now in the dungeon. At least I’m in the segregation unit (which pretty much equates to the same thing.)

A few weeks ago I was standing in a narrow corridor when an ‘incident’ broke out between a guy I don’t know and a couple of my friends. I wasn’t involved but the guy was quite badly hurt and there was blood all over the corridor, including over me.

A member of staff witnessed the incident and, whilst detaining the others, let me leave saying, ‘Yeah, you’re okay, I saw you weren’t part of it.” However, the guy’s pride was obviously as bruised as his face because he told another officer (who hadn’t been there) that it hadn’t just been one or two people, we had all attacked him together. Five of us.

At first I hoped that he had genuinely believed that, simply being confused about who was part of it and who wasn’t. But it has now emerged that he is directly alleging that I assaulted him, and, as such, I’ve been moved to the segregation whilst the police investigate. I can’t go into much more detail at the moment. But I’m confident that the evidence will prove me innocent. It just might take a little bit of time.

In the meantime, I’m locked in an empty cell for 23 hours a day. I have no access to my legal files (prejudicing my forthcoming parole hearing), no access to my Open University books (prejudicing my studies) and no access to any of my coping strategies (prejudicing my mental health). Whilst I hadn’t self harmed for about ten years prior to this, I have a long history of it before then and I’m not proud to admit that it has become very hard not to without any access to my coping strategies.

But it seems that my risk to myself isn’t important. The fact that a member of staff has confirmed that I wasn’t involved doesn’t matter. My studies and my parole process are irrelevant. The guy who started the fight has said I was part of it. And that’s enough.

When is a witness not a witness? When he’s a suspect. So, until I can get back to the gym, my travels are on hold. Sorry folks.

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