Graham: “Christmas in prison, never again”

Graham says: “You get the best food at Christmas… they do loads of food at Christmas, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve you get everything, it’s not great but, it’s still like all the bottom of the range stuff and everything, but you do get a lotta, lotta food, they fill you up because they’re locking you up early, that’s what I think anyway, they’re filling you up… lunch time you get quite a big Christmas meal and Christmas evening you get a massive salad, ham, all sorts in the evening, you get scotch eggs, ham, chicken, pork pies, everything you get at home really but just not really nice… the majority of the prison are [eating on their own]… for Christmas [lunch on the resettlement wing] we set all the tables up in the dining hall and everyone sort of sat together, I had two Christmas’s there and one on the main wing, we like had a little table set up for 6 or 8 of us and then everybody else copied…

You’ve had your Christmas lunch say at one o’clock or 12 o’clock, but then dinner is served at four o’clock, they don’t even really want it by then, it’s quite early innit and you don’t want it sat about on the side, because you haven’t got a fridge to put it in or whatever, you might go and sit in somebody’s room with them, go and sit on their bed and eat you Christmas dinner or Christmas evening meal whatever you call it, and your skinny mince pie, it’s awful, but then it’s not so bad because you’ve been out to LandWorks during the day [the week before] and had a really nice lunch…

The first year we had in [the resettlement wing] I remember me and [Name] and a lad called [Name] putting loads of decorations up everywhere, we found a box of decorations that one of the officers got out, so we just literally did the whole of our landing, they thought we were nuts to start with, a few people didn’t like it, but they soon did afterwards, we had the tree up and that was alright, [Name] got us the tree from the Church and we found a load of decorations in the store room, so we decorated the tree, put tinsel up everywhere and then we spent a whole evening, there was about six of us stapling paper chains together, and then we did all of the dining room and everywhere, and I think one of the officers felt quite sorry for us, ‘cos he brought us in two of those little tree lights, the battery operated ones, to put round the tree and that, so that was alright… we had that up for about 3 weeks, we put them up pretty much at the start of December, and we took it down the day after New Year’s Day…

Everybody just wants to get it over with really, I don’t think the lifers like Christmas there, I think they’ve had that many Christmas’s inside, although they tend to just like get through it a bit easier, put a face on, I don’t know, but it is bad, especially when you’ve got kids…

Christmas in prison is very lonely, ‘cos you’re locked up early and all you’re doing is thinking about your family sitting at home eating all that nice food, opening their presents, getting drunk in the spirit of it, they feed you up to keep you quiet, it’s quite lonely, everybody’s running for the phone to use the phones so they can phone home, so it’s hard to get on the phone, nobody listens to the only have 10 minutes rule…

I phoned everybody, but of course they don’t really want to spend too much time on the phone either ‘cos they’re having fun at home, “hi dad got to go now, just gotta go and eat such and such”, oh that’s nice, enjoy that yeah, ok, well I’ll just speak to you tomorrow them, “ah don’t bother phoning tomorrow”… it’s just finding the right time isn’t it? I tended to do most of mine first thing in the morning… Christmas is horrible, Christmas in prison – never again…”


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