June 2015

1st – 15th June

Hello Friend,

“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or
Strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing
Each other from a million different centres of energy and daring those ripples
Build a current which sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and
Resistance.”
( Robert Kennedy )

Prison Journals

Finally ! After 3 years, 4 months and 2 weeks I’ve got my 2 journals back in my possession. Now, was that so hard?

Heart Attack

I’ve now received the MOJ’s defence in this civil case. Its peppered with lots of untrue claims. For example:

“[ … ] wing officers took him to the front of the queue at the dispensing
hatch [ … ]

No, they told me to wait on the wing until the hatch became available. When it did, I made my own way over.

“[ … ] The time taken for the Claimant to receive the clothing and change into
It was no more than 10 minutes […]”

Are they nuts? These claims have been signed with a statement of truth. This means that if they have signed knowing that any of these claims are untrue contempt proceedings can be brought against them. The times are all documented and the PPO has already confirmed it took around 1 hour from the arrival of the paramedics at my side before I was given prison clothes and allowed on the ambulance.

“[ … ] the Claimants condition was [ … ] seen to be progressively improving
[ …] “

Really? How? I had 3 occluded arteries, which required an operation.

How can the remit of rehabilitation of offenders ever be met when the very same people who are charged with this important public service are incapable of, some might consider, telling the truth and taking responsibility for their actions?

Education Issue

So why was I not on the register last week? You guessed it, my friend and yours, Security. I would have already been cleared to do this course by Security, yet only 2 weeks later they try to remove me for no reason. If it were not for the Education Manager stepping in I would not have been allowed to continue. This tells a story. If there were any legitimate reason to take me off the course, no amount of arguing from the Education Manager would have made any difference. However, Security will not allow me to access any other Education course, despite the Education Manager having no issue with me doing so. It was intimated to me that because I had put in such a lot of hard work this has been misinterpreted by Security as having some sort of agenda. Well, if nothing else, Security are certainly consistent … consistently wrong.

I also had a legal visit from Catherine. We went through the letter before claim in our judicial review of the decision to sack me as an Education Mentor. This was really positive and I feel confident about the outcome of this. The upshot is that Security cannot stop me accessing Education permanently for no legitimate reason.

Safer Custody

Safer Custody is a department which deals with bullying type issues. Well, following on from my last blog, in which I discussed the flak I had taken at the band night, they paid me an unannounced visit. Why? Because the other guy had decided to make an allegation that I had threatened him. He claimed that I had said: “watch your back”. To say that I was a little troubled by this unexpected development is putting it mildly.
flying around; she spoke to the member of staff who runs the nights and that was that. She said it wasn’t a ‘zero tolerance’ issue and she would speak with the other party again. I saw her later and she told me that the other guy had backtracked on what he had alleged.

It’s one of the great injustices in here that a false allegation can be made against you, which will remain on your file forever, but no action is taken against the complainant. This leaves them free manipulate the system for their own end knowing that there is no consequence to themselves. They must be really laughing at Safer Custody.

Butler Trust Award

Collectively, we’ve nominated the ‘Musician in Residence’ for the Butler Trust Award . It was the idea of one the guys who attends the band night. Together we wrote the reasons for the nomination. In the end there were just shy of 100 prisoners who put their names to this. Even though he only comes in once a per week, he’s positively affected the lives of so many of the guys here. From the guitar, keyboard and drum lessons to the Improvement Through Music courses to the band nights and concerts; he’s one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met. So, I’m hoping his work will get recognised.

Music

I’ve been on a Music Mentoring course. I’ve not much to say about this as we’ve only just started.

The ITM course and band night rehearsals continue. I do get a little fed up with guys that don’t put the work in to learn their parts. It’s a bit of a bugbear of mine seeing them week after week following the song on a song sheet. Then all the same, tired excuses get trotted out, “I’ve not had enough time”, “I’ve not got the CD to practice along with,” “ I can’t remember lyric/parts.” Just learn it! There is no substitutes for hard work and repetition. Gosh, I’m starting to sound like a curmudgeonly old man!

Be happy, be safe, see you next time.

Graham Coutts, 17th June 2015

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