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.
I wasn’t too happy when I was suspended, but it was explained to me that if a similar allegation was made against a member of staff, they too would be suspended pending investigation, and then either dismissed or reinstated depending on the outcome. I was advised to be patient and that things would work out in the end. I had my doubts about what I was being told (especially since I had reported staff for assaulting me myself and not only were they not suspended pending investigation, no investigation was done at all!) But I did as I was advised and I waited it out.
Then, last month, I was completely cleared of the allegation against me. I had done nothing wrong at all. I requested to see the head of Enabling here and she soon came to see me. But she didn’t do what she had promised. She didn’t simply reinstate me as someone who had been cleared and was therefore no longer suspended. She said I had to reapply. I had to go through the whole allocation procedure as a new applicant. I needed to gain fresh approval from wing staff and from the security department. Essentially, I was no longer treated as someone who had been suspended pending investigation. I was now treated as though I had been entirely sacked and therefore had to start again from scratch.
I knew the agenda. I even said it to my mum when we spoke on the phone. The application process wasn’t about getting me back on, it was about giving them time to get together and think of a reason why I shouldn’t be allowed to return. Yes, maybe I was a bit jaded. A bit sceptical. A bit paranoid even.
Lo and behold, just nine days after being found not guilty of the previous allegation, just five days after receiving a letter from the Government Legal Department saying that (18 months after I reported staff for assaulting me) they would now investigate the officers who did it, and just three days after being told that I would be considered for a return to the role of Enabling rep at the next allocation board, a new allegation was made! Hmmm, why didn’t I see that coming?
But I knew they were stitching me up, and I have had previous experience of this, done in exactly this way, so I knew how to handle it. I had to find a way to bring it to the attention of prison management. Not so that they would intervene, but so that the so called investigation could not drag on for months and then be brushed under the carpet once they’ve already sacked me from my job and generally screwed me over. Instead, once management are aware, I knew they have to substantiate the allegation and investigate formally. So I asked to see the governor. When the officers refused to let me, I had myself placed in segregation, which entitles you to see the governor on their daily rounds. At the first opportunity, I made them aware that I was being made the subject of further false allegations. They didn’t care much. They never do. But it worked.
The allegation had to be substantiated so they placed me on report for disobeying any rule or regulation and claimed to have screen shots showing me programming. I knew this wasn’t true, because it never happened. So I formally requested that, if they say they have screen shots, they should supply them as evidence.
At the second hearing they did this but the governor refused to allow me to take a proper look at them. Moreover, she wouldn’t allow me to question the reporting officer, or to put forward my account of what I was doing on the computers on the day in question. Then, when I scoffed at what a kangaroo court it seemed to be, she positively tore me a new one. But despite all of this, I was nevertheless found not guilty…again! Given that I didn’t even get to put forward a defence, I’m not quite sure how that happened but it did.
Now I’m just fighting to get reinstated. And waiting for the next cooked up charge of course.