After literally years of being refused access to any kind of offending behaviour work with the psychology department I recently seem to have been brought back in from the cold and a few weeks ago I had an interview with one of the psychologists here to discuss what I should do next.
It felt like it went really well overall, with the psychologist really listening to what I had to say, rather than making assumptions about what I think and then refusing to accept that they might have been wrong, as others have before. Even when she disagreed with me and pushed me into difficult areas of discussion she did so in a really supportive way, leading me through murky waters rather than simply shoving me in at the deep end.
However, as good as the interview was over all, one thing got said which has completely thrown me. And it all revolved around my ex.
As I explained at the beginning of April, in the last year I fell into and then back out of a relationship with someone who used to work at another prison when I was there. I no longer have contact with her, and a while back I decided not to call again unless she gets in touch first – as much as I would like to talk to her. But what the psychologist said has made me think that I should try and get back in touch after all.
She said that the fact that I had a relationship with an ex member of prison staff makes them suspect that I had manipulated her into having a relationship and into making decisions that she wouldn’t otherwise have made.
I didn’t know what to say at first but then I asked why the automatic assumption is that I manipulated her and not the other way around (the truth is that I don’t think either is the case). She replied that doesn’t matter because she isn’t in their care, I am, and they have to take the fact that I breeched boundaries seriously. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and I said that I had been in love with this person for two years whilst she worked at the prison and I never told her. What’s that if it’s not respecting boundaries? In fact, I didn’t tell her how I felt until a full two years after she left the job and no longer worked for the prison service, when she got in touch with me. If I had manipulated her into a relationship, I would have had to plant some subliminal seed that she should seek me out and get in touch some two full years in advance! Impressive stuff even by Derren Brown standards.
But the psychologist just said that they only have my word that nothing happened between us whilst we were still at the prison. And how can I dispute that? I am a lone voice. Even my ex herself is no longer around to back me up on that.
But what was most worrying, they said that as a direct result of all this they are putting me on close observation as they suspect that I have a “specific set of skills which would influence staff to behave inappropriately”. What the hell? I have never had any control over that relationship – she had it all. At every stage. Things were always done on her terms. If I hadn’t felt so deeply for her, I never would have even told her about it, let alone embarked on a relationship with her whilst I’m in such a limiting environment as this. And yet, now they are insinuating that it could be anyone, I was just manipulating her for what I could get. Yet I can never prove to them that this is far from the case. I have no evidence to prove that I repeatedly begged her not to send money in, or that I said from day one that my main priority is that she is happy, even if that means not being with me. The only person who can back me up on this is someone I don’t have contact with any more. And if my ex wants to move on then I do have to respect that, but do I not even try to straighten all of this out? The truth is, I wouldn’t try – I wouldn’t even care what they think – if it wasn’t for the fact that I’m a life sentenced prisoner. They have put me under close observation. It is now going down on file. It will appear in my parole reports. It could cost me years more inside.
The funny thing is, my ex was concerned about the prison reacting badly to our relationship very early on and I reassured her that it wasn’t going to be the problem it now is. And I meant it. But that was back when I thought we were going to make it. Back when things were going well. Because not only would it not matter to me if I was still with her, it would be easily disproved too. But what do I do? Do I try to get back in contact, hoping that she cares that they don’t try to twist something which was genuinely felt as much as I do? Hoping that we can clear up this whole mess and then move on? Or do I just accept the fact that it all ended badly and it is me who now has to live with whatever the prison service throw at me?
Right now I really don’t know what would be the right thing to do. I don’t have a clue at all.