Lock, stock and listen

Since being released from prison in 2017, I have met and/or spoken to some amazing people who are doing incredible things regarding our criminal justice system, especially our prisons. None more so than British actor and all around top guy, Jason Flemyng. I couldn’t believe my eyes when a few months back Jason commented on one of my posts on Instagram. The rest, as they say, is history.

Most will know Jason for his roles in films such as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, X-Men and many more. Jason’s first film role was in 1994 when he played Lieutenant John Wilkins in the live-action American remake of The Jungle Book.

An interesting fact that you may not know about Jason is that for the last 30 years he has worked in prisons, including training listeners for the Samaritans, and helping to run a prisoners’ radio station at HMP Wandsworth. Jason also presents on a Podcast created by More Than My Past:

“I’ve got interested in these people’s stories as they come out and struggle to make something of their new lives outside of incarceration. We’re going to bring you some amazing guests who you would not believe have gone through that system.”

Jason Flemyng

‘Research has found:

Negative experiences during childhood increases the risk of becoming an alcoholic by 700%

75% of people in recovery and ex-offenders felt that they would be turned down for jobs for disclosing their past

A quarter of people in recovery had been turned down at least three times after disclosing their past’

“More Than My Past is a national campaign that is doing something about this. We’re showing that ex-offenders and people in recovery not only want to change and succeed – they can and do! We’re doing this by sharing stories of people from all walks of life – helping to show the inspirational truth about those who have overcome addiction and offending. You can get involved today by sharing your story, joining the movement, or finding help for yourself or someone you know.”

Jason speaking to Erwin James for the More Than My Past podcast ranks up there as one of the best highlights of my year. You can listen to theirs, and many more of Jason’s brilliant interviews by clicking here. More Than My Past Podcast.

I messaged Jason to ask him for a story about Christmas in prison, and he kindly provided the following.

So… just before December kicked in we were in Wandsworth doing the last few modules of the ‘ listeners’ course with the Samaritans, 17 prisoners, all full of empathy and great natural listening skills, no doubt all of them were going to pass thru and become official Listeners by Christmas.

Everyone tries finding their ‘place’ on the wing. Some can write a good letter, some know how to get this and that, but THIS guy was going to be seriously popular this Christmas. He was a cook, the best on the wing, possibly the best in the prison… and THIS year, with just a kettle and a stripped down toaster HE was going to cook Beef Wellington! He swore he had a method, and I know he’s going to do it!!

Happy Christmas to everyone on every wing in every prison.

These days will pass.


I said to Jason he could comment anonymously, however, this is what he replied:

“… use my name by all means, it’s important people know that they can help, everyone can, or at least empathise.”


4 thoughts on “Lock, stock and listen

  1. There are people who do good and supportive acts that make them feel good and like to let others know they are doing them because that makes them feel even better. There are others who just want to make a difference because they can and because they know it will help turn people around. This is an inspiring piece from someone who is making a huge difference to others for them and not for himself. All credit to him.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Spent a total of about 12yrs behind the door on numerous remands and sentences. Class A drug user for 21yrs. Now been clean for 18yrs and working as a Criminal Justice Recovery Worker. Love my job of helping people to overcome a life of crime and substance misuse.

    Liked by 2 people

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