“I’ve been getting into the pottery a lot more, with a vengeance if I’m honest, to the point that I am going to do this when I get home, 100%. Before I was like “don’t be a dick”, but now I’m like “why can’t I?”. I would never had got that if I hadn’t been out here. So, it’s all positive for me, really.
Before I came to jail I always assumed, like everyone, prisoners had two heads and they were horrible, bad bastards and it’s not the case. I don’t know why it’s important to me, but I don’t want anyone reading this, who would read this, thinking I’m just another scumbag in prison. Anyone could end up in this position and that’s the pissy thing for me. That never goes away though and it never stops hurting, the stigma. Even if there isn’t one, I’m aware of it and I don’t like it. That will probably go away at some stage, but I’m not sure. I hope it does.
LandWorks, is my little haven. It’s my little island in a sea of crap… and the one thing I’ve learnt, if I’m honest, I’m a non-conformist and I’ve always liked to be non-conformist, but that’s on the inside. I’ve always chased that thing you do, when you’re striving to be someone, must have this amount of money, must drive this car, my lifestyle must be this, so you strive, strive, strive for that, and then this shit happens, you come to prison and you realise that none of that matters…
LandWorks fixes you, there’s an honest answer, it does. I’ve only realised that recently. You come here… I was angry when I came here first. I was a very angry, pissed off, very confused, thought it was odd, thought the people here were a bit odd, but now, it’s got me through. It’s helped me immensely. I’m sure I would’ve got by ok without it, but I’m not going to say I haven’t got anything from it, because I have. The opportunity I’ve had with the art, I wouldn’t have got that anywhere else.
Anyone who is in prison is broken, you just don’t know it. So, if you’ve come from a normalish background and you’ve dealt with people at a certain level on the outside and then all of a sudden, you’re thrust into this environment, within a prison where it’s dog eat dog, and it’s so far removed from what you know, you end up a bit … so you are broken. You can’t have what you want. You can’t get stuff when you want it. You’ve got to ask. You’ve got to queue up. You’ve got to fill an application in. The people with the least amount and who give the least shit about anything, seem to rise to the top in prison because they’ve got nothing to lose. So, if you’ve got nothing to lose, it makes you very dangerous. For those of us in prison who just want a peaceful life, and want to go home and back on with their lives, it does break you because you become … you go onto autopilot, I guess. A lot of the time you’re operating and you’re doing what you need to do, but you’re not fully engaged. That’s the way I would describe it….
You come here and once you engage with it, once you start to understand it and listen and observe, I started to get it. To be somewhere and with people who are quite happy to share stuff, you get that bond, there’s that trust, so, automatically you’re like “I can trust this person”. It’s gone on from there for me. The help that’s available here if you want it, just someone to talk to. We don’t spend a great deal of time with each other in prison. I’m up the stairs, they’re down the stairs. Everyone does their own thing. But, out here, we’re like a unit.
Is prison a good thing that happened? That is a good question. I wrestle with this because although I’m a prisoner, I’m not a criminal. I’ve never been criminally minded and I’ve never followed a criminal lifestyle. Some guys come to prison and say it was the best thing that ever happened to them, it put them on a new track, well, because I was never on a criminal track, that wouldn’t necessarily have been the case, but there are other instances where maybe by coming to prison, it showed me an aspect of myself that I needed to look at. So, that’s what I mean when I say I think prison might have been good for me. I’m not saying I’m glad I come, but maybe it … not needed to happen … maybe it was sort of mapped out, I don’t know. Prison is a culmination of my motorbike accident. It all started then. This is like the end of it now.”