CRIMINAL RECORD – END OF SENTENCE

I was reading somewhere earlier today a discusion about criminal records and their effect on life once a custodial sentence has been completed.
Well from my own experience I can state quite categorically that anyone who thinks that the record finishes and has no lasting effect once a sentence has finished is very sadly mistaken.
The record follows throughout the rest of your life. In some circumstances a record can expire, or what is called be spent, after a certain time has lapsed but that is very muc only on paper.
The actual reality is that once you have a record you will face discrimination for the rest of your life and this discrimination will take various forms.
Foremost amongst these is with the police. Their first port of call when commencing an investigation is invariably to trawl their records for anyone who has a record of similar offences. Sometimes the record can be of a single offence thirty or more years previously but that seems not to be important, you will still be the prime target for the investigators.
However that isn’t the only time your record will be brought up. You will be disqualified on a blanket basis from employment. Obviously there can be a valid reason for this e.g. where a convicted child abuser is seeking employment with children, then that record must be available.
More often than not thougb it will be the simple fact that you have a record which disqualifies you. Your offence may have no relevance whatsoever to the job you are seeking but that doesn’t matter, you will still be disqualified.
You will also, although the banks won’t admit it, be banned from obtaining a bank loan or a mortgage.
I know of one Housing Association which refuses to offer tenancies to people with a criminal record.
So, to sum up, once you have a criminal record you will be faced with discrimination for the rest of your life and there is nothing you can do about it. Just do what I do and accept that it is there and cope with it as best you can.

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MISCARRIAGES OF JUSTICE

I have alway been aware that a not inconsiderqable number of people in our prison system aat any one time are there as a result of miscarriages of justice. People who have had no dealings withe the law and order system won’t accept this but it is a fact. I personally have met a number of men during my times inside who shouldn’t be there.
Of course the system turns a blind ee, most conveniently, to anything which if investigated might show them up as being less than perfect but the fact still remains that these cases do exist ad in a far larger proportion than society accepts.
I am now very concerned that the Ministry of Justice and its Feuhrer Chris Grayling will have greatly injcreased these numbers by the decimation of the Probation Service removing one of the safety nets for people who find themselves in this situation.
So we are left with a toothless IPPC who are uneder resouced to the point of being unfit for purpose and a legal systemwhich is kust about as corrupt as it can be from top to bottom. Ad into the mix a police service which actsas judge jury and executioner and we are left with a crminal legal system which is neither fair, honest or impartial. No wonder the prison population is going through the roof!!!

DENIS MACSHANE – PRISON DIARIES

Here we go again, yet another ex politician in prison for a few weeks coming out and slating the prison system in every way possible in his PRISON DIARIES.
It really is amazing that in such a short time, and with such a limited experience that the author feels qualified to spout forth about such a wide and complex subject.
We all know the prison system is in crisis and that it is reaching the point where it will implode but it isn’t wild sensationalist theories which are needed to put things right. Rather a sensible measured approach addressing all the problems in a realistic and positive way.
Rather than, as Macshane does, referring to the other inmates as them as if they were some kind of aliens. Why do these people, and former politicians are the worst of the lot, find it hard to understand that they to are prisoners, there is no difference whatsoever between them and any other prisoner and yet they cling to the belief that they are somehow different.
And does Macshane not remember he was an MP during the perio when the prison system has been allowed to deteriorate as it has.
Prisoners, all prisoners, without exception are human beings, part of the human race, they may have broken society’s rules in some way or other but they are still people and must be treated as such, as individuals who as well as deserving punishment also need help to rehabilitate and try to become a better person in the future.

PRISONS – WHAT NEXT

Reports this week of more absconds from HMP Sudbury.
As someone who has served several sentences including a couple of periods at Sudbury, I am not in the least surprised by the latest absconds and I predict that before the end of the year there will be a great many more and numerous incidents of violence throughout the whole prison estate.
Put very simply the system is just not fit for purpose. It is at bursting point and nothing is being done to address the situation. Whilever the government continues with its negative policies towards prisons the situation will continue to head deeper and deeper in to crisis.
Building giant super prisons is not the answer and then letting them out to the private sector to line the pockets of tory supporters will make the situation even more grave.
Private prisons do not work, they are merely holding pens for the ever increasing prison population. Very little rehab work is being done and prisoners are being churned out dailyin a worsesituation than they were at before they were incarcerated.
And also being released to be cared for and supevised in the community by a broken probation service also destroyed so that the private sector can again benefit financially.
Grayling and MoJ have so much to answer for. The damage they are doing now will take years to repair if ever it can be done.

TELEVISION APPEARANCE

Followers may be interested to learn the I will be taking part in a television show on Sunday 17th August. My contribution was actually filmed last Novemeber and is in the first of a new series of major crimes programmes. My particular contribution is in a programme about Jimmy Savile and will go out on the Crime Channel (Sky Channel 553 or 554). I will post the time for the programme as soon as I get it.

VOTES FOR PRISONERS

This post will probably make me very unpopular in certain quarters but what I say is based on common sense and objectiity. It is in no way based on any political grounds.
I refer to the ongoing debate about prisoners having the rights to vote.
As an ex prisoner with a number of sentences under my belt I have to declare that I am totally against such a measure.
Purely for practical reaons as it would be unworkable within all but very few open prisons and which constituency would the prisoner vote in? Would it be the constituency in which the prison is based or the one he /she is usually domiciled in?
It is just not a workable proposition. I wonder if those who are campaigning for it to be allowed have even bothered to think this through or is it just another negative way of attacking the system.
ANOTHER ARGUMENT i would make is that prisoners should not be allowed to commence procedings in the civil courts unless it is for something to do with health and safety or their treatmen. They certainly shouldn’t be allowed to sue the authorities for example if a parcel goes astray especially when such proceedings are funded by legal aid.
At the end of the day in the majority of cases we find ourselves in prison as a result of our own actions and we must accept that, the authorities didn’t put us there, we did.

RANBY PRISON

A new report has been published which describes Ranby Prison in Nottinghamshire as being in severe crisis with untcontrollable violence and intimidation.
This year there have already been four suicides including very significantly two lifers. That is very disturbing, two lifers who have already spent a good few years in prison including earlier in their sentences at least in one or more of the dispersal system prisons. For them to end up taking their lives in a category C prison defies belief.
At least 15 years ago Ranby was being described to me as Beirut and the bed leg capital of the prison system. Bed legs being the weapon of choice for assaulting other prisoners. Obviously things haven’t changed, indeed they have become a great deal worse.
The problem, as throughout the whole prison system, is primarily staffing levels. Cuts have been made so deep that there are just not enough staff to adequately police the prison which also means that activities are being curtailed.
It is just not possible to reduce staff numbers when the prison population is constantly rising.
Ranby is a case in point. Compared to many other prisons it is on a very large site with numerous buildings to control. Staff just cannot be everywhere and where they are in situ there are far too few for them to be effective.
It is known nationally that Ranby is the drugs capital of the prison system and while piece meal attempts are being made to reduce the drug supply nowhere near enough is being done to control it. rugs dogs need to be ever present monitoring not only visitors but also staff. They shold be on the gates twenty four hours a day and when ANYONE is found to be trafficking drugs into the prison they must be prosecuted and the courts encouraged to give harsh sentences. Remove as much drugs as is possible from Ranby and the prison will change oernight.
Likewise with the violent incidents. The perpretators should no be subject to prison discipline which is weak to say the least but MUST in each and every case be taken to outside courts and to back this up new laws must be introduced creating a new offence of prison assault which in turn must carry significant penalties. At the end of the day seven days remission, which is typical of a prison penalty, counts as nothing to a man serving years inside.
Mr Grayling please wake up, things are only going to get worse. Listen to the professionals those working in the field, not a bunch of civil servants who have probably never even seen the inside of a prison. And reverse what you are doing to destroy the probation service, or face total chaos
throughout the whole penal system!!!

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