Going to Prison (by Chris)

Chris is a young person sentenced to a UK prison for death by careless driving. Chris crashed while under the influence of drugs. His passenger/best friend died.

The build up to my sentencing made me uneasy. I was on bail for one year one month. During that time, I didn’t have a clue who I was. I was addicted to smoking weed as I thought it would heal the pain of me losing my best friend, Tom, and the death I had caused. But really, cannabis was making feel and act badly. I pushed my family further away when I needed them most.

My court date crept up on me. I entered the court room full of anger knowing it was the last time I’d see my family, girlfriend and friends for a long time. I was sentenced to 33 months, having to spend a minimum of 16 months in prison. I was angry, upset, tearful and lost within.

I was taken downstairs into custody to be transferred to a prison. My deceased best friend, Tom, had a cousin at a particular prison called High Down. He wanted my blood, so I needed to avoid going to that prison at all cost.
“Please don’t send me to High Down,” I said to the guards getting ready to ship me out.
“Why not, petal?” asked a female guard sympathetically.
“There is someone there who is after me.”
“Do you want a cup of tea?” she asked.
“Yes, please.”
She assured me that no one would be after me at the prison I was going to.
The next thing I knew I was in a Serco van being transferred to my first prison – High Down.

The drive was an hour’s stretch. Outside was darkening. I shut my eyes from exhaustion.
We pulled up to the prison, and were let out of the van one by one to enter the reception and holding cells. There was a big group of black men in one corner aged between 16 and 29, all taking about how they’d been caught.

Anxiously, I waited to be strip-searched. My thoughts were quick. I was worried and confused. I didn’t know what was ahead of me. I wanted to get in a bed and fall asleep and feel like I was dead.
“Smith, step forward!” a guard shouted even though I was the last one in the holding cell.
I came out and slouched over his desk, really tired, ready to fall asleep.
“Stand up, boy! Where do you think you are?” he belted as if I were in a military school.
He booked me in quickly.
I had to undress in front of a guard and bend over.
I was given a hotplate of food, which was the last thing on my mind. I had no appetite, and could barely walk I was so exhausted. I carried my plate down a corridor.
A trustee called me over. “Oi, you, come into my office.”
I went into a room where mops and buckets were stored.
“Sit. Eat your dinner. No smoking.”
The man filled his paperwork with my details. I didn’t eat.

I was finally led to house block 3, the induction wing. I was shown to my door with a boy called Mark, my first cellmate, a skinny lad age 18. It was his third time in prison and he didn’t seem disappointed. I was worried about getting beaten up in prison, but not by Mark. We put our stuff down, and smoked a rolled cigarette, commonly known as a “burn.”

After settling down, Marc got his toothbrush and razor from his wash bag. He was behaving suspiciously, so I kept an eye on him. My instinct was right. He was making a blade, a shank, by attaching the razor blade to the toothbrush. He hid it in his mattress. Not knowing who he was or what he was capable of, I slept with one eye open in case he decided to attack me.

The next morning, we were let out for induction. I felt sad and vulnerable in my new surroundings. Our block had three wings separated by bars. A prisoner called me over to the end of the wing. As I got closer, I recognized him. He had tattoos on his neck and looked like an evil man. It was my best mate’s cousin who wanted me dead.
“What’s your name?” he asked.
“Chris Smith.”
Giving me an evil look, he said to the other prisoners, “Stay away from him. He is no good.”
I felt intimidated, not knowing what he was planning to do.

Shaun Attwood


Anonymous said...

Hello Shaun,

Jose in San Diego here. It's been a while. I hope things are good across the pond. I just wanted to say that Chris' style of writing reminds me of your earlier writings and that of Warrior and T-Bone. Leaving anticipation. Please send him my positive feedback and for him to delve into the world of a brit prison. Are there U.S. influences i.e. black, white, crips, bloods, etc. how is the gang structure/segregation in there? Curriculum? Violence?

Thank you Chris for posting. Please keep us posted. I have done time and shared my experiences as well. Keep writing and share your hardships and find something positive to get out of such a horrible experience. It is times such as these that may produce a better person in you. -Jose in San Diego.

Anonymous said...

In California, prison population has increased by 73 percent – nearly three times faster than the general adult population Does this mean soon, all of the adult population will eventually be in prison?


Anonymous said...

Great on-the-edge-of-your-seat type writing, Chris. Can't wait to read more.


Jon said...

Thanks, Jose.

Will pass all of this on to Chris. Be interesting to see what develops with this guy who is out to get him.

Speaking of Warrior and T-bone, I have letters from both that will be posted this week or next.