September 1st – 15th 2015

1st – 15th September 2015

Hullo friend.

Let’s get straight down to it…

Music Files

I had a telephone conference with the Court and MoJ’s barrister to hear my application to set aside an order. This was the one that gave the MoJ a 3 month extension to file their defence. I argued far more robustly than I did at the judicial review costs hearing (I just rolled over).

My main point was that the order had been made without notice and under the Civil Procedure Rules I should have been sent a copy of the MoJ’s application, and been given a reason why the extension had been given.

It transpires that the MoJ were using these C Ds (which I know, as I believe they do, do not contain the music files that are the subject of this case) to mislead the Court in an effort to get their extension. Had I seen the C Ds I’d be telling the Judge that they definitively do not contain my music work; which is why I’ve not seen them. Some see this as highly dishonest conduct from the MoJ.

Despite this, my application was dismissed. Once again, the establishment flout the rules and get away with it. They have until 18th September to file their defence.

Security: ‘manipulator’

Wow! I submitted my appeal to the complaint response on 22nd July and finally get a reply on 10th September; that’s 7 weeks! As they have a lawful obligation under the Data Protection Act 1998 to ensure that all data processed is accurate, I asked them again to confirm or deny they have me listed as a “known manipulator” and/or “a danger to females”. I also requested the security gists.

Their reply:

“I can confirm that with due regard to your offending and custodial behaviour, you are considered as presenting a heightened Risk of having the potential to manipulate staff and/or other. As a consequence, any reporting of behaviour which may be suggestive of conduct which could be manipulative is subject to careful consideration, with actions taken as appropriate to manage such concerns and the associated Risk to the Good Order of the Establishment and Public Protection.

As for your second point RISK TO FEMALES, I can confirm that due to the offence that you were convicted of you do appear on the computer system, this is an active alert that is used to highlight to staff that you have used violence against a female.”

Still no evidence presented and no gists of the information reports disclosed (which they are legally obliged to disclose to me). However, of note is the language used.

It was previously claimed that I was listed as a “danger [my emphasis] to females” but they now say a “risk”. It is only a small change in semantics but an important one nonetheless when it comes to implied meaning. Not much I can do about this presently. They clearly don’t feel that the past 12 ½ years of no violence or aggression is relevant. Does that mean in 30 years they will still list me as a “risk”?

The original claim of being listed as a “known manipulator” has now transformed into “considered as presenting a heightened risk of having the potential to manipulate staff and/or other.” Huh? What in earth does that mean? Plain English, this is not. It appears they are saying that I’m not a “known manipulator,” just someone who, in their opinion, has the “potential,” only, to manipulate. No claim or evidence that I have at any point over the past 12 ½ years.

They also say that “any reporting of behaviour which may be suggestive of conduct which could be manipulative is subject to careful consideration, with action taken as appropriate to manage such concerns.” Mmm… did it go something like this: ‘he claims he’s having a heart attack but is probably faking it; don’t let him on the ambulance’? (Or, ‘he’s too hard working and conscientious as an Education mentor, he must be manipulating staff; sack him’?)

The circus has come to town!

Sex Offenders’ Treatment Programme (SOTP) Part II

Whilst at HMP Frankland I was assessed for the SOTP by psychology. They concluded that I was not suitable. It may be a good point to explain the different definitions. You can be assessed as being eligible for the SOTP but if the prisoner is not ready they are deemed not suitable. Readiness could base on a number of factors. From their own narrow viewpoint, in my case it is because I am “in denial “of their imagined sexual offences. Forget that I have no convictions for sexual offences and there is no evidence to support their opinion.

So, in order for me to progress and get released, I have to do the SOTP. To do the SOTP I have to admit imaginary sexual offences. In other words, I have to make up entire swathes of fictional accounts of sexual offences. Would you be able to do this? Remember, your liberty is at stake here. If you don’t you may never get out. Well, for me there is only one answer. I guess that could result in me never getting out of prison. Well done the system. You’ve cleverly created a process which applies leverage to people who have been wrongfully convicted to ’confess’ to crimes they have not done, just to get out of prison; thus maintaining the integrity of the British Justice System.

I thought being assessed as not suitable would have been the end of it but oh, no. My first sentence plan here had ‘assessment for SOTP’ as one of my targets. Of course, I was eager to get this done so a line could be drawn under it. It took 10 applications from me, over 2 years, for me to be finally assessed (again) they had me going round in circles all of that time. I was sent the same self-assessment form 4 times, which I duly returned each time. It had become clear that this department was a mess. There was an apparent lack of communication and no sense of urgency.

I should have realised that this was just the start f my problems. I’ll tell you about the ‘assessment’ in part III.

Psychology costs

I’ve previously written about my attempted cost/benefit analysis. As my last Freedom of Information request resulted in the vague numbers in Wakefield’s psychology department I submitted an internal review. They not only stuck to their original position, they’ve applied a second exemption to disclose the information. On the face of it, it looks like they are misapplying these exemptions. Misinterpreting or purposely, in order to conceal this information? If you were in government and had a department which was failing to produce any meaningful results (prison psychology) would you want the public to know how much of their money was being wasted? The answer is so simple…pull the plug.

I’m determined to demonstrate what a massive white elephant prison psychology is. Next step, the Information Commissioner’s Office.

HMP Frankland: wing file

I was having a little refiling and downsizing session when I chanced upon an old wing file from when I was in Frankland. It covered 2007 – 2009. Here are some of the more negative comments:

“… very clean and tidy to the extreme …”

“… Cell extremely clean and tidy verging on obsession …”

Here we have a prison officer making an implication of obsessive compulsive disorder. An unqualified member of staff making a clinical diagnosis? This really highlights the desperation they have in trying to find something, anything, wrong with you. Currently, I clean my cell once a week and it takes about an hour. Hardly obsessive. Compared to how some of these guys live, and probably that officer, I am very clean and tidy. So what. Hardly worth making an entry to my wing file.

“… Good rapport with staff and peers, even if it means using 10 words where 1 would be necessary.”

“… Talks freely even though he does go on a bit!”

This is beginning to sound a little personal.

“… Does have queries that “never” seem to cease needing attention.”

“… A very deep individual who needs to know where [sic] all the full stops and capitals go should …”

“… employs the same meticulous enthusiasm to everything he does…uses culinary skills with the same gusto” “

Some of these comments were entered by my then personal officer who presented himself as really friendly and helpful. What does that say about him?

To bring some balance back into the universe: “quiet”: “polite”; and, “no concerns”.

I look at this sort of thing now, laugh, and think how ridiculous and pathetic these sorts of entries are. However, what speak volumes are the things that aren’t written. This is the worst they could write, and how desperate they look.

Atrial Fibrillation

“What’s that?” you may ask. I know I did. I’d been getting the odd palpitation over a couple of weeks and didn’t think anything of it at the time; I’d developed an ectopic heartbeat about 6/7 years ago. That stopped after a few months. Well, on a Sunday night, that odd palpitation became a veritable torrent. It felt like my heart was about to jump out of my chest (not unlike when I nearly went into cardiac arrest in 1990). My pulse racing, and then slowing, then racing, then slowing.

On the Monday I was referred to the cardiac nurse. As I sat in the waiting room, I took my pulse; 23 beats in 10 seconds! My normal rate would be 9 beats. A 24 hour taped ECG was ordered.

The problem continued over the next 2 days. On the Wednesday, after 7 pm lock up, it went nuts again. After already 3 days of this, I was very fatigued, breathless and light-headed. I was very fed up my heart’s misbehaviour. If I could’ve taken it out and given it a stern telling off, I would have.

So, I got on the emergency bell. I received a response from an officer after about 15 minutes (yes, that’s right – 15 minutes! Imagine it took that long for a 999 call to be answered.) He contacted a nurse. Another 15 minutes to respond. The nurse called the paramedics. The ‘first responder’ arrived, by this point, about an hour after I had first pressed my emergency bell (it’s no wonder there are so many deaths by ‘natural causes’ in prison). The paramedics took an ECG and stuck a canula into the back of my hand (very painful).Eventually, the ambulance crew arrived. By the time I was allowed onto the ambulance over 2 hours had passed since I pressed my emergency bell.

Rather interestingly, unlike the last time, there was no issue about me being transferred in my own clothes (see my February 2015 blog on my heart attack), which included my rather flamboyant blue and pink tartan pyjamas (nice). Maybe they thought no-one could miss me in such lurid colours?

For the next 14 hours or so I was in A&E waiting for a bed. I was awake until 4 am and only cat-napped until 6am. The arrhythmia at that point was 10-12 fast beats and then 4 or 5 slow ones which kept alternating until it had settled into 2 fast, pause 3-5 slow.

Of course, I was double – cuffed (D cuffs and escort chain). Just when I thought it couldn’t get more undignified: to urinate, I had to stand in the corner and wee into a bottle, which is nearly impossible when you cannot turn or rotate your hands. Try it. Put your wrists together and attempt it without turning or rotating your hands. Now imagine how painful it is with steel tightly around your wrists.

The only thing I was looking forward to was hospital food. That should speak volumes about the quality of prison food.

A re-risk assessment was supposedly being done with a view to taking off the D cuffs, partly because of the canula in the back of my hand. This never happened in the 48 hours I was out.

After about 10 hours, my right hand started to go numb (again, see my previous blog). I saw a couple of Doctors about this, who did nothing to alleviate the problem.

Several cardiologists saw me and, at one point, there was talk of a pacemaker (what?!). However, in the end, they put me on a low dose beta-blocker; problem solved? They told me that my ECG showed me having 200 beats per minute at its worst.

Unlike the last time (see blog), the prison actually called my Mother to let her know what had happened and that I was ok.

In the interest of balance, I have to say that my ‘bed-watch’ (3 officers at one time – about 13 in total) were really decent people. This helped considerably with the stress of the situation (not like the last time).

Be happy, be safe, and see you next time.
Graham Coutts, 17th September 2015.


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