Me? Work unpaid?

Over recent months, there have been many discussions around payment of services provided by people with lived experience of being in prison.’ Perhaps, a more accurate title would be Prison Consultant. 

I would like to make a comparison to my own ‘lived experience of being a Health and Safety Consultant.’ Ironically, my job is to keep Directors out of jail and staff out of hospital.

Over the past 30 years, I have established a reputation as being an expert in my field and my value, worth and day rate has increased accordingly. No, I’m not giving it ‘Charlie big potatoes’, I’m highlighting the fact that I am paid and companies expect to pay for my skills, knowledge and experience. 

Is that not what David and so many, many others do? Use their skills, knowledge and experience to help others? 

Why the f*** aren’t they being paid for it? 

I couldn’t make a living if I didn’t charge for my time. I’m more than happy to engage in a ten-minute telephone conversation, exchange a few e-mails or chat via Zoom and not charge a penny. Beyond that, I will say something along the lines of “Let’s put something in the diary to discuss how I can help you in more detail.” 

Why should I give up my time for you?

Would you do the same for me?’

Would you ask a plumber to replace your bathroom for free?

When you receive an annual salary, it means you don’t have to consider the cost of attending a meeting, speaking at a conference or their time spent on research and giving advice. The thought of payment doesn’t even cross your mind, until you are asked to give up your weekend or evenings for free. I’m not talking about one weekend; I’m talking about every weekend and a few evenings every week. What are you going to say?

Will you be paying for my:

Travel expenses? 



Time spent travelling? 

Time to stay overnight?

What if the answer was no to all the above? How many would pay these expenses out of their own pockets and not get paid for working in their own time?

The only people I know are Prison Consultants. Should they refuse to give more than ten minutes of their skills, knowledge and experience without payment? Why not? I’ve been doing it for years.

Should they refuse to go through the pain of sharing their childhood trauma? It’ll be a cold day in hell before I share my own childhood trauma with an audience of complete strangers. 

But refusing isn’t an option for Prison Consultants determined to inform, influence and inspire others to improve the lives of people in prison or who have been in prison.

Is that not worth paying for?

It’s worth a coffee at least!

As luck would have it, you can buy David a coffee right here!!

He’s the busiest and the bestest Prison Consultant ever!

Best wishes.

Keef x

9 thoughts on “Me? Work unpaid?

  1. A great blog. I really enjoy reading your and David’s musings and the point about being paid what you are worth is really important. As you say, 10 mins here or there is fine, but if you want to engage someone then an exchange of money for services provided is fair and proper. Too often, people are expecting a freebie. You as individual and a business owner should be able to say “no” if it doesn’t work for you. I see that David does give his time to the causes he is passionate about and that is to be applauded.
    I will continue to read with interest.
    P.S. Happy to buy a couple of cups of coffee for the busiest and best prison consultant.


    1. Hi David. Thank you so much for your comments. David puts heart and soul into his work and it really is every waking minute of every day. Thank you from both of us for the coffees. That’s your ten minutes up now. If you would like any further assistance – you’re gonna have to pay me!!!


  2. A true problem Keef for people passionate about a topic. In a perfect world others supposedly running conferences and classes would pay their speakers and contributors properly, and those needing help who cannot afford to pay would therefore be subsidised. But it is not a perfect world and all too often I think I should have “mug” tattooed on my forehead! But if you believe in a cause you will throw everything into it,


    1. It has become custom & practice not to pay and it will need an entire culture shift for this to change. David’s passion will never change and money will always be secondary, but he also needs to earn a living. I wholeheartedly support him in what he’s striving to achieve. My own relationship with the CJS started in 1987 and I am emotionally invested in the lives of prisoners. Believe me, if he was campaigning for lesser-spotted newts, I’d be chasing him to the Job Centre with my rolling pin!


      1. Not sure now. You and the rolling pin terrify me. They may have to cope on their own for a while.


      2. As I have told you many, many times – don’t give me reason to use the rolling pin and you have nothing to fear!!


      3. I remember FDR’s famous speech. “We have nothing to fear but fear itself. And that bloody Rolling Pin”


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