Matt says: “I always say it’s worse for them on the outside, definitely worse for them…”

“I phone my wife probably four times a day. I always call her in the morning to make sure she’s got to work. I like to know she’s in work. When she’s gone to work I phone her mobile, but in the evenings, it’s on the landline. I put so much money on phone credit, but if I didn’t phone her, she’d be so lonely… I don’t say we don’t fall out at times, but all relationships do that. Then if it’s the weekend and she’s off, I normally give her a ring dinner-time, have a quick chat and then I phone her again in the evening. We chat for some time in the evening. Sometimes she’ll say “I’m so bloody tired Matt I’ve got to go to bed”. She just likes to know I’m ok…

She’s so pleased I’m coming out here now, really happy. Every day, “what did you have for dinner today? what did you do today?”. It gives her peace of mind because I was getting so fed-up in prison, although I was working at the chapel as a chapel orderly, it’s so bloody boring. You’re just sat there all day long doing nothing… Sometimes you’d have local people, so you’d talk to them about local things. Oh god, it drove me bloody bonkers, it really did…

I didn’t have a job when I first went there. I used to voluntarily clean the spur of the wing I was on… I used to get so fed-up with the passages being dirty and the showers and all the rest of it, so I cleaned them up. They were disgusting… the officer, he said “well, if you don’t mind doing it, but I can’t pay you”. I said “well, I just need something to do”. I was classed as retired, but I said “I don’t want to be retired”…

I started in One Prison, which was one hell of a fright to the system. I’d never in my bloody life seen violence like it, but they reckon that’s quite mild to a lot of prisons. I must admit, the prisoners looked after me very well and they were good as gold with me. I think they respected my age… Two chaps I was in with were very good. If I was making a phone call, they would go out. We had shared rooms. There were some separate single cells. The problem is it became very boring because you couldn’t go out, you couldn’t even look out the window, it was frosted glass. The main road was from here to the main block away and you could hear people walking up and down, but you couldn’t see them, and if you could just see people, that would help, but you couldn’t do that. So, I got fed-up with that. I’ve never been locked-up before. I’ve always been a free person…

Then I came to LandWorks, which is like a breath of fresh air and it really is. It’s nice to be able to mix with people you can talk to and they don’t want to talk about where they’ve been in prison, how bad that prison was or how good this prison was. I don’t want to know what bloody prisons are like. I’ve no interest at all. You can talk to people here about normal things, which I’m used to doing outside. It is, it’s a breath of fresh air. You’re like a big family and it just makes you feel at ease. I know very well there’s always somebody I can talk to if I’ve got a problem…

Becca [LandWorks Counsellor] is brilliant. I’ve never ever been to a counsellor before, but what a woman to talk to… I said to her “what do you want me to say?”, she said “just talk to me” and Christ, it’s no wonder what you blurt out in the end. She’s got a technique with it, lovely manner with her, absolutely incredible…

I’ve done a bit of woodwork. I won’t say I’m an expert at it. There again, I’ve never ever done wood-turning in my life before, never, and I absolutely enjoy it. It’s taught me something… but meeting so many people, I think, has been the main thing really, definitely. Meeting lovely people to talk to…

I get on well with Peter. We seem to hit if off quite well. I made the marmalade with him, nice chap, damn nice bloke. We made the chutney as well. Have you tried it? You tried the marmalade? That’s nice. It’s got a little bit of a bite with it, there’s not too much sugar. The trouble is, we made it here and it didn’t bloody set. They had to take it away and do it again. We didn’t boil it. It was very particular on the boiling. I don’t know, I never made it. He is so precise. It was 43.5 and we took it to exactly 43.5, but it didn’t bloody work. He had to take it to 44.

[Town visits] It’s bloody horrible going back, horrible, it really is. You’ve spent the day with her, it’s not nice having to go back in there. I don’t know how to explain what it’s like really. It’s like being locked-up all over again, with nowhere to go. I always give her a ring when she gets home to make sure she gets back ok. I always say it’s worse for them on the outside, definitely worse for them.

I know what I’m doing each day. I don’t have to worry about what I’m doing each day because I know what it’s going to be. I get up in the morning. I have a shower, have a shave, clean my teeth, I have my porridge, they come and call roll-check, I’m ready by then, I walk down the stairs, they take us up to reception, we go out of reception, they open the door up, we get in the van. That’s it really…”


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