George says: “It is hard to go through prison.”

“Christmas was just a couple of telephone calls home and before you know it, it was here and gone, wasn’t it? There were no parties going on, but most people just locked their door and the odd person would go and bang on the doors and wished people a merry Christmas and a happy new year, but nothing really. Christmas isn’t the same unless you’ve got kids. I spoke to them on Christmas Day. It was fine. You’ve got to be happy for them carrying on doing what they’re doing in your absence. At the end of the day, I’ve put myself here. I wouldn’t want them feeling sorry for me…

Being at LandWorks… I just talk it down when I’m back in the prison, because I think people turn against you. It’s self-preservation and why should you be rubbing it in someone else’s face, someone who can’t work out, can’t go on home visits? They’ve been turned down and there’s you saying “I had a lovely lunch the other day”. I don’t tell anybody anything. Why do they need to know? They’ll just use it against you. I don’t want the hassle. You come in on your own and like people say, you go out on your own. I’m not out to impress the man sat next to me. I’ll listen to their story and make my own judgement, but they won’t be hearing about what I’m doing. if they ask “what were you doing today?”, instead of saying we were doing pottery or we were doing counselling, “we were out in the garden digging trenches” and then they just leave you alone. If they think you’re doing something that’s better than what they’re doing, it would be digs all the time. I just don’t give them any ammunition. I won’t go back and say “I’ve sold 10 mirrors”, made this, built that, but I’ll ask them, what they’ve been up to and I’ll listen to them…

There’s a lot of jealousy and animosity. People in prison like to talk about themselves. I don’t know why. Sometimes I cringe when people tell me things about themselves, the crimes they’ve done, what they’ve bought, what deals they’ve done, what they spend money on. Maybe they’re trying to impress. I speak to the guy with nothing. I speak to the guy with everything. Everybody has their own merits. There’s one guy on our wing who’s said he’s got a lot of money and people do treat him differently. People with nothing, the ex-heroin addict, gets a bit of stick. Not in my eyes, I treat them the same. Maybe that is a defence mechanism, if people think you’ve got money, then you’re someone special. Why are you something special if you’ve got money? Why are you not special if you’ve got nothing? I don’t think it makes you a better person…

It’s about the situations you’re in and who you’re socialising with. Some incidents on the wing or in the prison, are unavoidable. I suppose it’s hard to go through prison and not get into trouble. I haven’t, but I’ve engaged myself in sport. I don’t drink. I’m not on the drugs. I don’t smoke and that is a massive problem area. I don’t get involved in it. I just keep myself busy. I play football and go to the gym. There’s not much trouble at the gym because that is a privilege for people to go there and if they were to do anything wrong, they’d be banned from the gym and that’s a release for people as they’re not on the wing all day. It is hard to go through prison.”

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