Jake says: “It’s not like I come here, and I’m being punished. I’m coming out and I’m learning something new…”


“Since I’ve been here, because I’m a qualified gardener, I’ve got a City & Guilds, I started off … I did a couple of days in the garden. Then because I was interested in art, Chris suggested I go and try some stuff with Sarah. I went in there and I did a little bit of the pottery. I did the tiles. I used the wheel. It turned out I was quite good. Big myself up. I was naturally just able to do it like and I quite enjoyed it. So, I did a bit of stuff in there. I used the wheel and I did different things with the clay. I did a little bit of glazing […] Then, the past couple of weeks,[…] Liz has taught me about recycling clay. Obviously, people have their own techniques of doing things. So, I’ve learnt how to do things a little bit different to what Sarah has shown me. I’m gradually getting my own style of doing things now. I was mixing up glazes the other day. It was alright. She’s shown me how to use the kiln, which was good fun. I’m just learning different things about the pottery really…

I love learning new things. I’d learn something new all the time if I could. I didn’t like getting stuck in that repetitive thing. I’ve always enjoyed modelling a lot, so getting to use the clay and just have a bit of fun. I know it’s almost like I’m coming out here as a punishment, but it doesn’t seem like that when I’m here. It’s not like I come here, and I’m being punished. I’m coming out and I’m learning something new…

[Six months in prison] It’s like a detox. There’s not much else that six months in prison’s good for really. It’s not really good for anything. You don’t get an opportunity to do a lot in six months in prison. You basically get shifted around. You don’t get a chance to settle anywhere or do anything. Small sentences are a bit of a waste of time…

Since then, I’ve lost everything. I’m out of prison a bit depressed and a bit shit, a bit of anxiety really. I don’t think I can really trust anybody because people who were supposed to be my mates let me down a lot when I was in prison. I basically had to ask people for favours when I came out of prison because I had nothing. I had a mate come up to prison to give me some clothes when I got released from court because I had nothing, literally nothing. The year before, I was travelling the world, I had a truck, car, motorbike. Come out of prison, I’ve basically got nothing, not even a set of clothes to wear. That’s a bit shit, isn’t it?

It was helpful coming here, just getting me off my arse for a bit. Just slowly getting out of a rut. You know when you just get into that you can’t be arsed and just sit inside all day, can’t do nothing because I can’t be arsed. Coming here and just doing something … I had to something because I don’t want to be spending any more years in jail. I feel like I’ve spent five years in jail for basically nothing. It just seems a lot of wasted time…

I think generally it’s just helped me from being stuck in that rut of being in prison and being in trouble to not knowing, literally, what I’m doing with myself, to just focussing on doing something positive. I know it’s not a lot, but just making a few things is quite nice and seeing it from the beginning. I love the clay to a finished product, which you can stick in a shop and sell. It’s nice. I’ve took a jug home for myself. My girlfriend likes it. I made a nice little box and I can’t remember who said they liked it. I think Dot said she had her eye on it. I could probably take that home, but my girlfriend wouldn’t appreciate it. She’s not that sentimental. Dot had a little look at it and said “that’s nice, keep your eye on it, let me know when it’s done”. A few things that I made months ago and glazed stuff when Sarah was here, they must’ve been sold. There’s a couple of bits which were leftover that Liz has decided to put in the shop. A few things I made the other day looks quite nice in there. It’s alright.

It’s a nice place to come. Sometimes people, they need a proper push into almost getting a job. Sometimes people don’t get the chance to do stuff like that […] Things that can help you get jobs is definitely, definitely worthwhile for people like myself and other prisoners getting released from prison to come here. It’s something to improve what their chances are going to be when they get out… “

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