16th – 30th – April 2015
This period marks my 12th year spent in prison wrongfully convicted. I don’t want to dwell too much on this as I am mindful of how difficult this time of the year will be for others.
I was in fact originally arrested the day after my 35th birthday (23rd April). Happy Birthday to me. Because of the change in the law regarding books being sent in, my parents got me a book of quotations (you might have noticed I like the odd one or
Two). This one made me smile.
“Men love women, women love children; children love hamsters – it’s quite
(Alice Thomas Ellis)
I still haven’t had a reply to my application asking Security to highlight which word/s in the blogs they stopped from being mailed, they have deemed ’derogatory’. A landing officer called them and was told that they could not find my application. This is par for Security. ’Lost’ applications, late replies, unanswered questions, and evasive responses.
As predicted, Security wouldn’t allow me play any music. However, they did allow the other 2 prisoners to play. I’ll submit an application to find out why but I suspect I’ll get a typical nebulous answer. Also, for some unknown reason, none of the prisoners and their visitors were allowed to sit down in the seated area of the buffet room to listen to the music, bizarre.
Something which was suspiciously odd – there were supposedly 90 applications made ( including mine ) for only 30 spaces available on this event. As I was on the last family day I didn’t get on this one . “Fair enough”, I hear you say, “ it will give some other guys a chance,” I agree. However, it was brought to my attention that at least one guy got on his 2nd family day in a row. I know another prisoner whose application has been rejected 3 times in a row. So why is the guy who got on being given preferential treatment ? I’ll leave you to ponder that question.
The court has now issued the claim to the MOJ. Game on.
I had to make a Freedom of Information request to obtain the policy regarding the transfer of prisoners to hospital. As ordered by a court in a previous case, this policy which should be made freely available to prisoners upon request. Despite this, Security (again) refused to disclose it to me when I made my original request. I often wonder if they actually believe in some deluded way that they are above the law.
Even after the MOJ sent this policy to me by special delivery, which I signed for, one of the governors here (again unlawfully, as this was a legitimate FOI request and can only be handled by a designated data controller ) would not let me have it until after he made enquiries. It took 5 more days before I received the policy. It has proved to be a significant piece of evidence for my case.
We were all locked down for 2days. The ‘word on the street’ was that one of the metal struts on the grill had been broken off and had disappeared. If true, understandably no-one wants a prisoner walking round with a potentially lethal weapon. So the whole prison got searched.
The downside is that we get no showers, no association, no exercise, no cooking…you get the picture. Our meals are get delivered to our door but by day 2 we were allowed to pick them up from the servery.
So what did I do for 2 days? Apart from being in prison and locked in a little box, I actually enjoy these occasional lockdowns. It’s so quiet all day. It gave me the opportunity to beaver away on a lot of legal work and work for this site. I got so much done. I could have gone for another day or two.
Well, we had another week of being shut, which totalled 4 straight weeks. Then we got reopened with a new network installed ( hurrah!). However, no MS Office (aw!), no print drivers installed (aw!), so consequently we couldn’t do any work (aw!…hurrah…aw!). Only 2 ½ days later and the network crashed (aw!), so we were shut again (aw!) but we were up and running a few days later (hurrah!), only to be shut again after 1 session (aw!).
I no nothing of the tender or the agreed contract between the Prison Service and the IT contractors but I sense that this was not a particularly insightful decision to engage their services.
We finally got he 5th member of our Improvement Through Music Group. He plays piano/keyboards up to a reasonable standard. Rehearsals continue to go well.
Despite all of the recent cancellations, the Thursday night rehearsal have also gone well. ‘Senses Working Overtime’ ( XTC ), ‘Keep On Rockin’ In The Free World’
( Neil Young), and ‘The Big Money’ ( Rush ) are the stand out numbers. The summer concert is now only about 6 weeks away. I can’t wait!
Be happy, be safe, see you next time.
Graham Coutts, 5th May 2015