Lee says: “For 18 months I’ve been sat in that prison with a stagnant mind. I need something to do and here it is…”

“There are the things that the courts never gets to hear, because the police say you are this, this is what you are. I’m a hard-working person and this is what I do, but all they heard was ‘this is what he is’ and ‘that’s what he is’ and ‘this is because we think this’. So, they think ‘ok’ and therefore, this is what you get and you think “hang on a minute, no-one’s told my life story”. I think that’s where the judicial system is quite heartless because they don’t actually look inside of people. I’ve got the stigma now…

The trouble is, I’ve missed a lot. My girlfriend’s dad, my dad, died last year and the list is growing. I never met my dad. I was in the process of going to meet him, but then I thought I’d do it after this. You don’t miss somebody you’ve never met. It’s just a bit sad that her dad died as well. I knew him. We got on really well, but again, the way I look at it, I’m the one doing the prison sentence, I shouldn’t have to put anybody else through that…

I don’t have my kids come down… They’ve been down once, all three of them, in 20 months and that’s because they were “please dad, can we come and see you?” and I said “ok, as long as all three of you come together, you can come down one time and then just wait until I go home on home leave”. They’re looking forward to that.

I’ve got to go back to work in January. My job’s been waiting for me. I do fencing… I had a list of jobs that I had to give tenders for, but because we were waiting on the court case, the last six weeks I literally had off because of waiting, it was like rolling a dice which day was it going to be?

In prison, straight away I was on cleaning. I’ve been a wing painter, servery number one… I was requested to go over to the resettlement wing to do the cleaning, then I was on the servery there. Then I was doing the catch-22 before I came here. I was doing that for months and months. It’s six weeks before you go, you see me and I give you all your paperwork and things like that, sort out your citizens card….

I’ve done a bit of gardening. I did pottery for a few days…  It’s the first time I’ve ever done woodturning. The last few weeks I’ve been at it… If I can learn more, then I want to… Since the moment I walked in here for my interview and I looked around, I thought “I’m at home” because there’s wood, there’s machines, a 3-60 digger, a tractor, it’s all here. The sky’s the limit as far as I’m concerned. You’ve just got to use your mind, apply your mind and not be a dick… You’ve seen my plates and my dark bowls and I was so chuffed yesterday when I sold one… Most things in life fascinate me and you can never know enough. Every time you learn something else, it’s an improvement in your life.

I suppose I’ve got ‘ants in my pants’. I can’t sit still half the time. Even though I’m on the pottery, I can still get 10 minutes on the lathe and that’s the way I perceive things. I can finish a bowl in that time. For 18 months I’ve been sat in that prison with a stagnant mind. I need something to do and here it is… I just like to be busy. When I was at home, if  it’s so dark and you can’t do anything and it’s too noisy and I’m inside, I’ll either build a computer, fix a computer or I’m just on the internet. Three or four o’clock in the morning comes and you think “I’ve got to go to work soon”. A couple of hours sleep and off to work…

I’ve talked your ear off, haven’t I? When you think, for 20 months, I haven’t been able to talk. I talked to the LandWorks counsellor yesterday, and I talked her ear off as well. You don’t talk to people in there about your life and things like that. They’re more interested in what you’re in for. You can’t talk about your personal life or things like that, especially when you have heart-breaking moments like last night, when my dog died. These moments have passed me and the reason is I’m in here and that’s not going to happen again…”


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