Alfie says: “finding out about myself. I think prison does a lot of that, and it’s a big time for reflection…”

“To summarise, I am hoping to benefit from the two years in custody as best I can, to make the most of it, to look back on, to reflect and say I’ve made a difference to my life, and to really come out of it, and to make the future brighter for myself. I think that’s been the start from day one. It’s been continual, even though I’ve had ups and downs through relationships. There was a dark time in my sentence. I’ve still managed to progress and keep on doing the things that I need to do. The focus has never really diminished from day one and I’ve kept that. With eight months to go I’m still on target now. I’m two-thirds of the way through the sentence. I’m on course…

I did maths and English. I got thrown into that straight away. I didn’t have a sentence plan. If there’s nothing on your sentence plan, then that’s it. I did the peer-mentoring. Then I did pro level-one cookery because I enjoy cooking, so I thought I’d tick that box. They say in prison you should do all these things, it looks good for your profile and your progression, which is an absolute load of rubbish. It may look better yes, but ultimately, it’s the person that you are that makes the difference, and I think if you conduct yourself in the prison … you could be a Doms (domestic) worker, the whole thing, and if you’re decent enough, you’ll get progression. Domestic stuff, cleaning the landings, not my cup of tea. That took me up to the end of last year. So, I did the peer-mentoring, 14 weeks pro level-one. I got myself over to the resettlement wing in December, a week before Christmas. Then I went back to my pro level cookery course in January, but I was eyeing up coming here. So, did that and then got out here the middle of June…

I have quite a routine. I’m always in bed at 10, well, I’m getting ready for bed at 10. I’ve done that in the outside, in the week, and I do it in prison. I try to keep everything as normal to what I do outside. I don’t go and watch all these bloody soaps. I don’t want to get into that. I don’t watch that much TV. I tend to go and see people in cells, have a cup of tea with them. If I’ve got work to do, I do the work. I’ve got my level three coming up. That’ll keep me busy in the evenings. If I’m writing a letter … I’ve kept to my word, it’s like I said up there, if I say I’m going to do something, I’ll do something. I said to everyone, if you write me a letter or an email, I’ll write to you, I’ll reply to every single one. I’ve had like 500, 600 emails and I’ve replied to every single one. I’ve kept busy with that. I’ve got a lot of friends. I’ve worked out, over 30 different friends have contacted me whilst I’ve been in prison. A lot of guys don’t see that. I feel quite embarrassed to speak about my friends…

I’ve never been practical, but that’s because I’ve never done it. So, I think something you’ve never done, you know you’ve got to be confident to do, I think I’m probably quite afraid of doing it and scared of doing practical. I’ve questioned myself, is it because I’m not practical or is it because I’m not confident in what I’m doing because I’ve never had the chance to do it. Just the day-to-day practicality of things, I think there’s a big … just changing the subject, but, keep on the mind. It’s all tied in, I think, about finding out about myself. I think prison does a lot of that and it’s a big time for reflection…

Cooking, I can do, but that’s because I’ve done it so many times, I’m used to doing it. Practice makes perfect. I have to do things a lot more than the normal person. I don’t naturally pick up … someone would have to be patient with me and then once I can do it, I can do it, it sticks in there. I’m not very good at picking up information from reading things. I have to read it twice. I’ve done this theory level two, but if you asked me questions about it, I probably couldn’t give you an answer. It sounds silly, I’ve got the qualification…

I’ve surprised myself with prison. I think my relaxed demeanour within myself has got me through it, just being pretty chilled out and being focussed on what I have to do and not see past that. Even amongst all this, my relationship with my girlfriend breaking down, it hasn’t stopped me. Generally, people tend to cope because there’s nothing you can do about it in prison. I think if you’re on the outside you’re faced with everything, social media and TV and peoples influence, phone calls. In prison, you just shut off. If you can cut yourself off, it deals with it a bit better, I think. You could probably look at it a different way and go not being able to do anything, could be the problem.”

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