When I write a blog my first priority will always be to offer information, help and support to the loved ones of men in our prisons. Because that’s what I know. One of the ways I do this is by sharing real life stories from real life men who have been in real life prisons.
As a loved one, we have absolutely no idea what it’s really like to be in prison. It’s completely beyond the realms of our imagination. Should we try and recreate the experience by banging ourselves up in the bathroom for 24 hours? How the f#ck is that like prison? We have a choice, we can open the bathroom door to grab a coffee or check our phones after ten minutes or ten hours. Our men don’t have that choice.
What goes on behind those huge, scary prison walls at Christmas is an unfathomable mystery to anyone who hasn’t been beyond the gates.
No matter what side of the wall you’re serving a sentence, Christmas is the worst time of year. But this side of the wall, we just can’t get even close to comprehending how awful it must be.
The Christmas regime is not dissimilar to the current lockdown regime. There is not one person on this earth who knows what it’s like to be banged up in a cell 23 hours a day unless they’ve been there themselves. Not Ross Kemp, not Anne Widdicombe and definitely not the millions of viewers of TV documentaries and box sets.
Throughout December I will be publishing a series of guest blogs written by real-life people with real-life experience of Christmas in prison. I’ve got some amazing people lined up already, but I need more.
I make no bones about it, Christmas in prison is absolutely pants! We know that, but let’s share the good bits, the funny bits and the camaraderie from those who have lived it. There’s a great deal of care and compassion in prison over Christmas; staff and prisoners alike.
Furthermore, the men in our prisons have no idea what it’s like to serve the same sentence on this side of the wall at Christmas. Both sides putting a brave face on for the sake of each other.
This is why I’m on the hunt for Guest Bloggers. I can’t do this on my own!
I’m not looking for Koestler Award submissions, epic tomes or academic research and statistics. A couple of paragraphs or a couple of pages will be just fine. Anonymity is guaranteed, if you’re still active, just let me know and I’m happy to use pen names.
If you’re a loved one of a man in prison, or you have been.
Can you help other loved ones deal with Christmas by writing about your own experience? Can you share what it’s like on that first Christmas apart from your man? Any tips for getting through Christmas and what to send him?
If you’ve been prison or you’re currently in prison.
Can you help loved ones understand what it’s like? What’s the atmosphere like? Is it quieter or noisier? The door banging? Carol singing? Secret Santa? Christmas trees? Did you make decorations? Do you have a special Christmas Hooch? What do you cook in a kettle for Christmas? Party Games? Funniest story? Tell us what you get up to – we really wanna know!
Please note. There’s not a cat in hell’s chance that anyone behind the door will read this and send in a five page blog. So why have I included them? Firstly, because their loved ones can ask them to write a blog on the phone, by letter or by email and our men in prison can reply by the same means. Secondly, why shouldn’t they be included? They’re living it right now and they are part of OUR society. Their voices should matter.
We need a Screw’s view, past or present.
What can you tell loved ones? What’s it like working on Christmas Day? What do staff do to make it a bit more festive? Did you get your baubles out? Did you put tinsel around your baton? Did you leave little chocolate Christmas puddings on every pillow?
It’s the nuances and the day to day stuff we don’t get to hear about. We know boredom is one of the biggest complaints for men in prison, but what are they up to when they are not bored? It’s the real stuff that we want to know about – the gossip!
If you got something to say to me about Christmas – put it in writing.
I really hope you can help me. If you would like to contribute, please let me know by February 2021 latest or December would probably work better.
And, finally this is where you can buy me a coffee!!