It used to be the case that prisoners in Britain were entitled to a minimum of one hour in the open air each day, not including time walking to and from work. However, this has changed in the last few years and now prisoners here are entitled to just half an hour, including the time taken to walk to work.
Compare this to Bagram high security prison in Afghanistan. There they are still entitled to a full hour outside every day!
I find it amazing that an Afghani prison provides their inmates with better treatment than we do, in any way. And we tell them how they should live! How has it come to this?
I wish I’d never written the post about being able to see McDonald’s from my cell window. As much as I hate the place, it kind of felt like a connection to the outside world. A familiar reference point if you like.
Well, not any more. They recently moved me onto a different wing. I’m now at ground level with a fantastic view of a brick wall and some razor wire. I can still see the sky though. But only if I crane my neck. Still, I’m not complaining this time (I totally am). I don’t want them to move me again and end up with an even worse view. The next step has to be a dungeon.
A while ago, at another prison, there was an incident where a prisoner attacked a number of officers resulting in some serious injuries. He was subsequently put on trial for attempted murder but was cleared of all charges when it was found that he was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and had genuinely acted in the belief that it was self-defence. The following day the Governor of the prison appeared on the local news and stated that it was a travesty of justice and that the Courts had got it wrong.
Seeing this, I sent a letter to the prison newspaper, Inside Time, to say that whilst I wouldn’t wish what had happened on anybody, I found the Governor’s comments confusing. The prison service regularly tells those prisoners who are maintaining their innocence that prison staff have a legal obligation to accept the verdict of the courts and therefore cannot entertain any possibility of them actually being innocent unless they successfully appeal. And yet here was a prison governor disputing the verdict of the court because it had not gone in his favour. It seemed that this was a governor in denial.
The censors department intercepted my letter and refused to let me send it on the grounds that I had identified individuals by name (which is not allowed in articles intended for publication and is also why I haven’t identified them here). So instead, I sent the letter to a family member with the intention of them forwarding it on to Inside Time themselves.
Some time later, I wanted to get a copy of the letter back so I asked them to send me a copy, which they did. But here’s the funny part. When my letter arrived back at the prison, the censors department intercepted it again and said that I couldn’t have it because allowing me to read it could compromise the good order and discipline of the prison. They completely missed the fact that I knew what it said because I was the one who wrote it!