Benny says: “What I have learnt is life outside of prison goes twice as fast as life inside prison…”

“There’s a lot of stress when you go out on town visits from prison, because there’s a massive build-up to it in anticipation, and it can be an anti-climax. You get your few hours and within a blink, it’s gone. There is a lot of stress for everyone who’s involved. It’s a medal, it’s a trophy. It’s something you don’t expect when you go to prison, and it’s something you’ve got to work towards. In fact, when you get them, there’s nothing else left to work towards. You’re at the top and that can have its own problems… This is why they try to structure it that you get two days and then three days… The only thing for me is that it gives me something to look forward to, but I’m at the top of the tree, I’m here…

It is a preparation for release, isn’t it? If you’re going home on a ROTL (Release on Temporary Licence) and if you’ve got family and children, it’s for them to get used to you coming home again. A lot of relationships breakup in prison, but a lot breakup when the guys get out of prison because the women are used to being independent. The town visits are supposed to be so you’ve got time to get customised to job centres and shops and just how the world is ticking. That’s what it’s supposed to be for. Does it work? I think it helps. Any outside contact has got to be a good thing. When you analyse it deeper, yes, there is a depressing time. When you come back to prison it’s very depressing. Is it better to never have them and just do your sentence? I don’t know, it’s difficult, but I’ve had them and I enjoy them. Some people might not enjoy them. I’ve got no money issues when I go on a ROTL.. I can have my dinner. I can get picked up from the prison. I can go and buy a little something if I want, but there might be prisoners that’s got no money, no transport and it’s difficult for them…

What I have learnt is life outside of prison goes twice as fast as life inside prison. So, people outside of prison do move on quicker than you have. You’re still stuck in the day you went to prison. So, if you go home and something’s changed, the furniture, jobs, attitude, people change and things change. You haven’t. ROTLs in that respect are a good thing because you can change a little bit with ROTLs. It gives you more time to adjust to it… Time goes quick when you work out here. The clock in prison doesn’t move…

I’m going to come through it. You hear people say that they’re institutionalised. What do you think the definition of institutionalised is? Do you know how long the powers that be, the psychologists, think that it takes to become institutionalised? How long would you think? It’s four months. They reckon you can become institutionalised after four months. It’s quite scary. I don’t know how long to come out of it the other side, perhaps never…

What have I been doing for the last three months? I’ve been here. I’ve been snowed-in for two days. We had a week off for Easter. That was great, I was in prison. We’ve had a few gaps and breaks from coming out. We’re just doing the same stuff, Groundhog Day, same stuff … not out here. Out here’s been fine. Out here we’ve been getting ready for the summer, getting ready with sowing, ready for planting. I’ve done the picking in the summer. I’ve seen it at its best. We’ve got a lot of work to do… This place has changed me. LandWorks has changed me…”

One thought on “Benny says: “What I have learnt is life outside of prison goes twice as fast as life inside prison…”

  1. A really insightful piece Benny. Gave me something to think about. The emotions and feelings you describe sound very stressful when you accept the challenge of LandWorks, and must be very difficult to deal with. I guess that in a month’s tim3e you can be considered as institutionalised at Landworks! Soon after, you will have to move on again, to a new journey – but i’m guessing you will come through it after the great support you have earned there :).


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