This bumper Christmas compilation special edition is packed full of quotes from ex-cons, their loved ones, prison staff and ex-prison staff.
All quotes are as written without censoring, spell checking or correcting grammar. A straightforward copy and paste from online comments and no names.
The language used is colloquial and specific to the prison environment. I make no apology for this because it’s about the reality of prison and the reality is they really are a foul-mouthed lot!
Karen!! What the hell are you doing??
“Christmas as you can imagine is one of the hardest times of year being banged up. Depending on what nick you’re in theres alot of bang up or was in my day.
One Christmas I got ghosted from Reading jail for a planned escape and moved to Oxford jail on the 23rd of December so down the block for Christmas. No personal items so that was a bit rough. The food I got was disgusting and cold every day and the screws were arseholes as the planned escape was due to take a screw hostage so I was black and blue by the time I was put in front of the governor. Not the best Christmas.
At Shepton Mallett we had a football and rugby team that played outside. I didn’t have that long left of my 5 stretch and had a parole hearing due so I didn’t abscond whilst playing for both teams. The pti who took us for rugby wasn’t a bad screw. He would always let us have a beer on the clubhouse after the game and if his wife wasn’t working nights he let us have 3 or 4 beers.
We had a game just before Christmas and said we could stay for a bit afterwards. So I arranged for my pal to drive my girl down and after the game whilst he kept watch I did what any con would do if you get my drift!! Karen also bought a bottle of brandy, whiskey and a bottle of Bollinger and a parcel so let the good times roll!! We were aloud to take a small toiletry bag with us to the games and I got 3 of the boys to put a bottle each Into theirs and I bought the parcel in.
We never got searched after games so once back on the wing we congregated by the pool table for a bit as we didn’t want to draw attention to ourselves as I wanted to continue to go out for the rugby and football games. My little firm congregated in my cell and the drinks came out and the boys rolled a few joints from the parcel. The Bollinger was all mine and it tasted so so good!!! We planned to save some whiskey and brandy for new year’s eve but after selling a few nips to some other inmates it only lasted till Christmas night!!! The highlight was my little crew doing the conga up on the 4’s pissed and stoned. I’m laughing as I write this .”
Don’t slam the door!
“Christmas is a shit time behind the door, but you just have to make the most of it. Yes there is competition, games and Carol services and for us lucky ones a good visit just before the festive period.
I was lucky to have a few good christmases away. Always had a good little firm around me and seeing make an arse if themselves albeit drunk/ stoned, high or tripping literally had me crying with laughter.
But the reality soon sunk in as that horrible noise of the door slamming shut at lock up bought you back to thinking of loved ones and family and friends.
I haven’t been locked up since 95 so I’m sure things have changed. I have a few pals away and whereas before it was getting a parcel in to them now it’s all about private spends. On Christmas day even now I raise a glass to all those banged up over Christmas, silly I know but it’s the least I can do”.
It seems many ex-cons enjoyed Christmas in the same way as we do on this side of the wall. The highlight of Christmas was the visits from loved ones, bringing in parcels of everything you need to see you through the festive period. With family visits being cancelled, some of the staff are bringing in the parcels this year. How kind and thoughtful of them
“Any Xmas is gud on the wing long as ya get ya visit week before“
“It’s what ya make it inside anything that was going and depended on my visit lol“
“If ya got a parcel from DpD its all Good yar“
“ucking -hite, unless that is ya plugged up. Then its footing Great.“
“Depends if I had my machine & wot sort of parcel.“
“I was the Christmas pool champ 4 years in a row Featherstone Christmas in jail always good for a parcel“
“Pukka day for me in Woodhill Had weed hash and bit of squidgy Then the hooch for afternoon association lol Although screw walked in cell whilst 5 in there smoking zoots coz our look out was a retard“
“Just keep the Sally Army away and it’s ok. Silly Christmas songs ” (Not sure if this means he got his parcel or not?)
We know Christmas is the toughest time of year for loved ones, even more so this year. I decided to come up with Top Ten Survival Tips when your loved one is in jail. After consulting thousands of social media experts with previous experience, between us we came up with …. two.
- It’s shit, keep yourself busy until it’s passed.
- It’s shit but it’s good when you’re counting down the Christmas days until release.
“We use each Christmas as a countdown so for example this will be his 2nd Christmas inside (this sentance anyway) so after this one he’ll only serve one more Christmas before he’s home xx“
“Just keep your chin up chick he be home in no time. My other half is in prison this Christmas n be out before the next Christmas. Keep your spirits up chick xx“
“Just think it’s one Christmas down and get through the day however you can. This is my second Xmas without my OH. Just got to keep going. Once sentenced it’s a countdown remember that x“
“Enjoy Christmas! I love Christmas. The best day of the year…. me and my kids will have the best day.. laughing… playing games and making memories…. (I always use it as a count down… hoping he will be home in a D cat next year) x“
“Remember it’s just another day closer to getting him home x“
“That you won’t die, you might think that there is simply no way you can get through the day, but you will. Boxing Day you will be proud of how you held it together.You will have a guilt that you can’t shake for enjoying yourself & that’s ok.Remember your husband / partner / son wife or daughter who is imprisoned is surrounded by people experiencing the same thing you are not. So allow yourself to enjoy the day as best as you can.”
“Girls its hard and awful especially for the kids, when I asked my son what he wanted for Xmas he said all I want is my dad home, its one day we all got the strength to get thru it and hopefully next year will be different for alot of us xx“
“2nd Xmas without him for me and our children. Think first one weird n lonely, didn’t wanna get up but after you do you get by and surprise yourself xxx“
I’m not going to use any quotes here because there’s a risk of going off-topic. I want to highlight that in the telling of Christmas stories, a significant number also said that Christmas was a turning point in their lives, when they made the decision to choose a crime-free life and make it their last Christmas behind the door. Lessons to be learned from the sudden change in attitude. I also wanted to find a way of getting a photo of George Michael in the blog. Winning!!
Yes, of course it will, if you get sent down the block for a last-minute Christmas mini-break:
“Always been too smashed to care spent 2 in the block very lonely times“
“Both my xmas’s in Durham were in seg. Same screw took everything off me both times, even my cardboard table and chairs. Wouldnt let me have a book and although I could see his colleagues didnt approve of his treatment of me none of them stepped in to stop it. Used to take the mattress after breakfast, didnt get it back until after tea so no, not happiest xmas memories, just me, an empty cell and a cold floor since then I’m always thankful for what I’ve got and remember how bad it could be.
Went on to Ashworth hospital from Durham and had some of best xmas’s of my life so swings and roundabouts I suppose if you have decent people around you and humane staff you can make the most of a bad situation. Anyone with a few years under their belt accepts it for what it is & makes the best of it – for others as much as themselves!“
“Nothing worse than a dog screw. Especially a block screw. They wouldn’t have them in Longlartin as the other screws used to say u putting both there life’s at risk. I had Xmas 96 in Bullington block with Charlie bronson I was block cleaner he nice fella screws were shit scared of him they wouldn’t open his door unless there 4 or 6 of them”
(See tomorrow’s guest blog from Charles Salvador!)
Well, what a different Christmas it is for our women in prison. Very civilised.
“I remember the positives – a card from the multi faith room /chapel and opening the door to my cell to find a bag full of chocolates and treats. I felt a real sense of community spirit amongst what you ordinarily call strangers.“
” I remember Christmas in jail. I decided to turn that very same plate into a chicken biyani by cooking from my grey kettle. It was the tastiest meal I had in ages when I was doing time. The rest of the inmates heard of my cooking skills and shortly after I started getting meal orders for other inmates and I was making money. Before you know it, I was the best chef on my wing and my cell was a restaurant! Thanks to prison, my cooking skills are on point”
“Strange but they go out the way in cat c & put tree & decs up & the officers go above & beyond to make it as happy as they can.“
“In the open prison they went out of their way. I actually enjoyed it strangely.“
“Spiffing jolly good time“
“We used to have a competion to see who could decorate the landing the nicest, the prize was a hamper for the winners.“
“Back in the day in lownewton when it was dc u used to get a present a cup toiletries etc now ya get a prison diary mars bar and a pair of socks and that is of chaplaincy x“
‘Ya still get the ones of the church now thou and we used to play secret Santa so anyone on the landing that didn’t have family would still get something x“
“Id say stress free lol“
“Not too bad really. Simple & fuss – free which is a lot different to being out here!“
“I go to my prison every Christmas morning; to share the moment and wish everyone a happy Christmas despite the circumstances. The pandemic I’m afraid means Association will be limited but can make the experience a lot better. (Governing Governor)“
“During my first Christmas working in prison, I went home with blood on my shirt on Christmas Eve after separating a fight at the hot plate. I spent Christmas Eve night with my nurse friend, also working her first Christmas and we went for a curry. Christmas Day was more calm and peaceful, especially when all the men in Pentonville were silent and thoughtful while the Salvation Army played Christmas carols in the centre – it was a spine tingling memorable moment. I think the anticipation of Christmas can sometimes be more difficult than the day itself. Please remember all the key workers on Christmas Day too who will not get to celebrate with their families on that day whichever tier they are in.“
“I always look back to my time at Feltham YOI with a smile … some wonderful moments working alongside staffs especially at Xmas“
If you can’t get a good screw, a good Support Worker, like Lisa is worth her weight in gold.
And finally, a quote from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Ma’am.
David and I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and hope that you’ll keep yourself busy enough to get through this shit! With or without a parcel!
We’ll raise a glass to everyone on both sides of the wall. Especially the staff who go the extra mile to make Christmas as special as they possibly can for our people in prison. The staff who don’t go the extra mile – you need to step it up, brother!
Kelly and David xx