I'm from Steyning Grammar School, today for my PSHE lesson I had an assembly with you, talking about your amazing story. I was so interested in what you had to say and thought it was incredibly horrifying. Although, you along with T-Bone did inspire me a great deal. I wanted to thank you a hell of a lot for coming in and sharing with us, it made me feel extremely lucky to be me. I have subscribed to your YouTube channel, liked your Facebook page and seen your website. I saw that you have a book telling more stories and I am planning to actually buy a copy! I've always thought that media was showing prisons to be nothing like they really are and you have defiantly exposed this. I think you are the most respectful, inspiring and brave man I have met. I just have a few questions I would like to ask:
Again, thank you so, so much for coming in. You have inspired me so much.
I’m glad that my talk and T-Bone’s story inspired you a great deal. I always enjoy visiting Steyning Grammar School. Here are my answers to your questions:
What were your first actions/thoughts as you came out of the prison?
I was wondering what the free world was going to be like, and if I’d be able to cope after following prison rules for so long. I was excited, but nervous, and disorientated from being in transportation for three days with hardly any sleep. It was wonderful to see my mum, dad and sister at the airport, and to be able to hug them. We went for Indian food, but I was unable to eat meat after converting to vegetarianism in the jail where I couldn’t eat the mystery-meat slop known as red death. For the first few days, just walking down the street, I felt like I was in heaven. I’d stare at shop windows amazed. Being able to choose and buy my own food and clothes thrilled me no end. With no noisy guards and prisoners around, I slept for about 13 hours, but kept waking up wondering when the guards were going to announce “chow time.” Having lost everything, I appreciate the small things people take for granted. In many ways, prison did me a lot of good.
How did you come out of prison in the end and when did you?
I was released and deported to London in December 2007 because I’d finished the amount of time I had to serve.
How long were you imprisoned for?
I was in prison for 5¾ years.
Did you ever have suicidal thoughts when inside or out? (You do not have to answer that)
Suicidal thoughts helped me get through many an anxious night when I was facing a 200 year sentence. Such thoughts gave me a sense of control over a situation in which I felt helpless. I had a way out: I could always end my life rather than spend the rest of it locked up. But I couldn’t bear the thought of my family and girlfriend being told that I was dead. Looking at their photos gave me the strength not to kill myself.
What were your family's reaction when you were arrested?
My mum can answer your question best right here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mup6EK329q0
What do you do now as the criminal record would of obstructed many career opportunities?
Writing and doing talks keep me busy. Because no firm would hire me due to my criminal record, I went self-employed. I consider myself lucky because I really enjoy what I do. I used to be all about making money, but I learnt the hard way that my success-at-all-costs attitude was soul destroying. It’s what we’re worth inside that counts, and that means maintaining friendships and helping people.
I hope you remain inspired and do well in life.
Click here for the previous Question Time: http://jonsjailjournal.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/question-time_9.html