George says: “Prison has made me a better person…”

“What have I done since January? Planters, been building planters. They’ve been selling, none left, all sold. Picnic-benches, they’ve gone. Mirrors…

I had a counselling session with Becca and she was going through these stones … where were you before you went to prison? where are you in prison? where were you during prison? where are you now and where do you think you’ll be when you get out? I had a large stone for before I came to prison, a tiny stone when I was in prison and that tiny stone got bigger and bigger and bigger and as you’re progressing through prison, getting more privileges, feeling safer, getting to know people, getting ready for release…

It was a little stone when I came into prison because you were nothing, you were just a name and a number. Then as you went through prison, you got progression. When you became a little more confident, you got a better job, other opportunities come your way, education wise and working. That stone was diminished and then just gradually got bigger and bigger. I think I’ve changed in the respect of being less selfish, more family orientated. You’ve gone in there this cock-sure person that does what he wants and decides what he wants to do, when he wants to do it. Then, all of a sudden, as I’ve gone down through this I’m thinking about others more. You actually come out a better person. I’ve gone from big, small, bigger, bigger, bigger, bigger, but this end one, I had it as a smaller one than the first one, but thinking about it, it should’ve been the other way around…

[The future stone] It wasn’t where I was before because it was just gradually getting bigger. The future was smaller because I felt that this big stone was all about myself… [but actually], you’re a bigger stone again for helping other people and family and friends…

[In the past] I’d listen to someone’s problem and then that would be it, but now, I listen to the problem and maybe follow that problem up. If someone’s telling you they’ve got a problem with their missus, yeah, yeah, yeah, which is a skill that people have got here, they remember what you talked about and will re-ask you about it. I wouldn’t [in the past], I’d be onto something else and that shows you’re not interested really, doesn’t it? So, prison has made me a better person… The next holiday will be a family holiday… so, that’s a big change in me…

The counselling has been good for me because I’ve never done counselling before. Sarah had a word with me and then Chris had a word with me, pushed me into it. I was thinking “what do I need to see a counsellor for?”. Some things that she’s highlighting and getting you to think about things was quite good. I’m seeing her one more time…

I’ve enjoyed coming out here. There’s everything I like doing with the woodwork… Chris has sort of pushed us into what we’re good at and what we want to do. Chris has been good, very encouraging and supportive. He always says you’ve got a good idea…

I can only compliment how good LandWorks is to anybody else who comes out here, I can only praise them and it’s worthwhile coming out and doing and gaining the experience. The highlights? The food is a highlight. Learning new skills is a highlight. Meeting new people is a highlight. How you’re treated. The diversity of what goes on out here. It’s not always the same every day, like it is in prison… LandWorks is brilliant and I’d recommend it to anybody…”


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