Fred says: “Just to have that normality again is just… it’s a godsend coming here, rather than being in there.”

“Drug abuse got me here. I just got in a bit of a bad place for a little while and things went a bit wrong. Now, no more drugs. Get on with it now. There were no drugs for 15 months before I came to prison, I can’t see it being any different. I’m very much, once I’ve made up my mind, I won’t be doing it, I won’t be doing it. I’ve stopped […] When I got nicked and realised that this was going to be quite serious, I just thought, well, that’s fucked it up, so stop doing it and that’s that… It was as simple as that really. It was painful, I’m not saying it wasn’t, but it didn’t kill me. I haven’t died after it. I can get on with the rest of my life now. You don’t have to carry a monkey on your back if you don’t want it there, just move on, wake up and make a decision. Nobody else can do it for you. People laugh at me and say it can’t be that simple, but it was as simple as that…

I’ve got a lot out of being here, a huge amount. It’s nice just being treated as a human-being again and not some kind of annoyance. Being treated with some humanity, respect and decency, it’s a big thing. It’s not just me. There’s a lot of people. It’s good for the soul out here. Nice environment. Nice people. It allows you to become yourself again and start fitting back into the glove that’s your skin. Simple things in life are the best, aren’t they?

For me, prison was exactly what I’d expected. I went there in the full knowledge of what was coming. I had a game plan before I went to prison. I knew I’d do a certain amount of time at […], the holding cells or whatever you call it, and then I knew I’d get into a different cell… […] I can’t say it’s been a bad prison. It hasn’t been a bad experience for me, but then, I didn’t cause anybody any trouble. I just got on with it. I knew that when I got to the full time prison, I’d look for a job in the library, which I did, and then try and find my way to a D-cat open prison to get into a work environment and prepare for release and start again. There’s no point bucking the system or trying to fight the system because you’ve done it to yourself, get on with it. You’re not that precious. It pretty much went to plan, but then, I didn’t rock the boat. I certainly wouldn’t touch any drug in prison. No alcohol. No nothing. It’s not the place to pleasure yourself, is it? I can’t imagine tripping inside a cell. What the hell would you want to do that for? There’s no cerebral enjoyment in that, is there? It causes troubles. It shakes the boat and then you get into being noticed. You’re far better off just going through the system, take what you can out of it, and then leave it behind.

LandWorks is a lovely set up. I love the produce and everything else. I’ve enjoyed the cooking here. In a strange way, I’ve quite enjoyed doing the washing-up as well because it’s like normal. It’s normal life. Almost everything I’ve done here, I’ve right enjoyed, but it has been very limited for me because I really love … I’m on that machine. I make bird boxes or something, anything at all, as long as I keep busy. I like work. The day goes quicker. You can go back and go to sleep properly.

You can’t sleep in prison without a good day’s work under your belt. There’s no fixed regime. There’s no normality. There’s no obeyance of any structure of time […] There’s no structure of reality. On a Saturday, lunch can be anything from quarter-to 11, ‘til 12 o’clock. It’s up and down like a flipping fiddler’s elbow. The regime will be quarter-to eight roll call, unlock everything, two minutes to eight, let’s have another cup of coffee. There is no structure […] It’s very floating. Same as teatime. It can be anything from four o’clock to five o’clock. There is no set time. I don’t know what that says about the regime…

A highlight? Meeting really nice people and just the normality of it all. You can’t really say a highlight when normal is what normal is. It’s just the normality. For me, the routine as well. Just to have something to wake up for, go to work. As a working man, having that routine is so fundamental to one’s life. I don’t need an alarm clock. I’m awake six o’clock every morning, come rain or shine. Just to have that normality again is just … it’s a godsend coming here, rather than being in there…”


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