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Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Post 14 - Devious In & Devious Out - How Does Society Measure the Real Cost?

What a year this has been, so much has occurred in such a short time.  Twelve months since I launched my website (see post 2) at the Law Society for England & Wales with two prominent figures in their respective area of the law as speakers I felt that day would turn out to be a turning point for all those people who are incarcerated and therefore disenfranchised and vulnerable to those who wield power and control over them in their daily existence within UK institutions.  

Peter Cadman and Flo Krause two people I am proud to know personally and call my friends, (who humbled me with the fact that they were prepared to stand on a podium and endorse my vision) gave wonderful and passionate speeches. They talked of the need for 'Transparency' by those agencies tasked with managing UK institutions where human beings are incarcerated, 'Acessibility' to those insitutions via public comment and media, 'Accountability' of those who hold power and influence over the lives of those incarcerated and that such power and influence is wielded with 'Humility'. Peter pointed out it is cheaper to pay for private education at Eton College for a year than send someone to prison, a bizarre and disturbing fact about where our priorities lie as a society. 

Many significant personalities related to the lives of those incarcerated have encountered major life changes, Michael Gove has rightly been sacked as in my view he was simply a devious opportunist and not favoured by the 22 committee who I as with many others believe are the real power within UK conservative politics. A barrister of great integrity Flo Krause 'hung up her wig' and ended her career and her life passion in Law, as has Juliet Lyons who resigned from the Prison Reform Trust. Also Erwin James someone I have known personally for many decades and someone I consider a friend has published his wonderfully brave and moving book "Redeemable - A Memoir of Darkness and Hope" all about his life journey from a horrendous start in life to the integrated, happy and respected man I lunched with in London recently who in addition to his many achievements and being an author of several books and Guardian newspaper columnist he is also now the editor in chief of Inside Time.

What of us? Well one of our staff attempted to blackmail our company director with deleting the website content unless he paid him a significant amount of money, as he thought he was the only one with access to the content management system (clearly the sharpest tool in the box) so no surprise the guy was sacked, thereafter we discovered he actually had not done the amount of work he had been billing or claiming for anyway, we chose not to prosecute him as he was on a probation licence and his girlfriend had recently had a newborn baby.  We were subjected to a campaign of abusive and threatening text messages and involved the police who identified the parties involved and subsequently interviewed one of them and are monitoring events (this saga resulted in the installation of 24hr cctv). We have had meetings and discussions with serveral parties who are commentators or interested parties to Criminal Justice Reform who wanted to involve themselves with us in joint ventures utilising us and we have met many people this past year.  Many of those were well intentioned characters such as Alex Cavendish who is amongst many things a very bright man.

Another, a prominent academic in his field (who yes actually lectures at a university) invited me to a meeting at his campus, and as the day progressed he degenerated into a paranoid, aggressive, dysfunctional excessive drinker (who I hope has sought help) confronting people in the street for looking at him! There was the one who it transpired was a solicitor of meagre integrity and moral values who appears to collude with his client in covering up their crimes. Another was introduced to me as a recently released fraudster (nothing against that if reformed, but I fear he may not be) who was still peddling the same fictitious life history/story that was part of his presentation to victims of his crimes! Needless to say left him swiftly in the dust as little he said was actually true, and now he is gradually grooming identified parties within the Association of Prison Lawyers, barrister bloggers and others he has since identified that he feels may contribute something to his prison refom plans (that others will fund I am sure as he won't/can't as potless), apparently now he is a reformer (as oppose to reformed). He actually stated he was charging people to give them advice regarding what to expect if they were sentenced to a term of imprisonment (charlatan) talk about exploitation! Sadly there are many who see prisons and the plight of people incarcerated as an opportunity to make money by fleecing grants and donors or to create an existence which feeds their pathological need to be perceived as an authority or a prominent personality within the field. Blatantly achieved by grooming and ingratiating themselves with those they perceive as the current acceptable critics who have the ears of the decision makers, or in fact anyone they think may be of use to their devious strategy. 

It would be an interesting study to correlate and monitor how many 'prison commentators/reformers' were inside for fraud, an offence which has NO offending behaviour programmes to address the devious thinking involved in calculated crimes such as aquisitive fraud yet they are among the highest repeat offenders, whereas those sentenced to life and are on licence for their natural lives post release are the lowest.  It is also often the case in prison that it is the fraudsters who have worked their way into 'key' positions within establishments, usually by grooming and desensitising staff, it is also interesting to see that behaviour continue post release as they are invariably not on licence for long, and where they are on it at all they are quickly perceived by a probation officer under pressure of work as a low priority.  Yet in reality how much do they cost overall, what is the true cost if they are now outside involved in the Prison Industrial Complex which is awash with money (13bn is the cost of the CJS alone at the last count)?

There were some old school rules inside whilst doing your bird which applied in almost all cases. Rules such as a northener in a southern jail AVOID, a southerner in a northern jail AVOID, someone who has been in lots of jails in a short period AVOID, drug user/dealer AVOID, those who gossip AVOID, those who seek influencial positions in the nick AVOID, Sexual groomers AVOID, there are many more but those listed were the mainstay of a peaceful life inside for most people. Either way I have a serious illness to deal with and as such am no longer able to continue in the vein that I once could (not for the time being anyway) and so I will observe from afar the machinations, floundering and manouverings of those devious characters and see if in fact I am sadly once again proved right in my judgment of their motives. I hope not...