A Common Community

When I first started blogging I knew that others had done so from prison before me, and I knew too that there were many people on the other side of the wall writing about the criminal justice system and fighting hard to improve it. What I had no idea about was how these people actually form a single common community. And what’s more, what I never expected was that I might be welcomed into this community as much as I have.

Since I started blogging I have received messages of support from such wide ranging people as fellow prisoners and their families to prison officers and governors, probation officers and members of the prisons and probation ombudsman to MPs and chief executives of some well known charities, authors and journalists to activists and fundraisers, ex-offenders and successful appellants to academics and researchers. Many of these people have even gone further and have publicised my writing, bringing it to the attention of far more people than I could possibly have reached from prison without their help. Some have done this without ever attempting to bring it to my attention, working behind the scenes in charitable anonymity, others have e-mailed me with personal encouragement or even written directly (which I have to admit, always brightens up my day). A few have even spoken to me by phone or visited in person, coming from locations as far apart as Norfolk and Brooklyn! And a few weeks back one person even went so far as to give me the honour of dedicating their book to me (The Teaboy by W.H Oxley is available from Amazon).

These people do not all know each other, but you are all linked by an interest in the criminal justice system (and usually by a desire to improve it by one method or another). You are a common community of which I am proud to be a member and grateful to each and every one of you, for embracing me as one. Thank you. If ever I can help any of you in any way, please feel free to say so. Any opportunity I have to put something positive out into the world I value very highly.

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