Prisoners and their families
DOI link for Prisoners and their families
Prisoners and their families book
I had a very good upbringing, my father and mother was there, brothers and sisters. Back in them days money weren’t … it weren’t the best of things, we were living in a council house, my parents were working people. Mum was always a big factor in my life, she’s always shown me love, she’s always been there. I’ve always been shown love, so it’s not like I had grown up with no love. I’d say it was by choice I went into gang life. Well, when I come out of jail I met my missus and we were courting and obviously from courting, a little child come, but I left her out there pregnant and it’s only since I come in jail that my child was born. Leading up to before I met my girl I was still doing the same thing, but she kind of calmed me down, because she said, ‘You know what, you don’t have to do all them kind of things’, so she’s got a big influence on me now. She can’t stop me doing them because she’s not there with me 24/7, but she can speak to me, you get me? I wouldn’t say certain things to a man because I’d feel weak, but my girl – I’d say I’d more trust my girl. When she told me she was pregnant, that’s when everything changed for me. When I come out of prison and she told me she was pregnant and she said she wanted the child and all that, you know, it changed me. I said to myself, you’re going to be a father, you know, analysed my view and how I’m living my life. And I’m saying to myself, I’m going to gradually come out of this kind of life, because I don’t want my son growing up having to witness certain things. So my son is a big influence on me, changing me, walking away from that lifestyle. When I get out, I’m subject to lifer conditions, it’s a recall thing, so unless I change myself now I’m going to lose everything I’ve got, I’m going to come back to prison, I’m going to
stay in prison for a long time, so I analyse that myself and say, you know what, the best thing for me right now is I need to get out. So I’d say my influence right now is my child, because he’s been born since I’ve been in, and he hasn’t really known his father. It’s been very hard for me, because the first time I seen him was on a visit, the first time I held my son was on a visit, instead of me being at the hospital. I’ve never really done nothing for him, I’ve never really given him a bath, I’ve never took him to the park, I’ve never cooked him a meal, so it’s hard. That four and a half years, it’s been a struggle, because certain jails have been like 300, 400 miles from home, and my girlfriend’s coming up on the train on her own with a child. It’s easy to fall into bad lives in prison, it’s easy … you know, to get into bad lives, like move with the wrong crowd, get into mischief, so with me knowing that I’ve got my child out there, from that early stage in my sentence I said to myself, you need to get your head down, you need to complete what you need to complete, stay adjudication-free, get on with everyone and try and get out as early as possible so that you can be there for your son. So I’d say that’s the line that I took since I’ve been in prison, I think I’ve done well on this sentence in the fact that I’ve … to date I’ve addressed everything that I’m supposed address, and I’m coming to the end of my sentence. Since I’ve been inside I’ve never had a fight with no one, I don’t come across angry to inmates around the prison. I draw my strength from me first of all, and then from outside. Family members – it’s mainly like my mum and my girl and my child, that’s the main people. They’re the main people in my life right now, them three people. And it’s them people that I contact more than anyone, and my sister occasionally. I don’t get visits as often as I would like because of the distance. My girl drives, but she’s only just learnt. It’s hard on her, so I don’t really like to put an added pressure on her, you understand, because she works from Monday to Friday, so obviously she can’t come through the week. Weekends, she’s an active member of the church, so she goes to church Saturday, but I don’t really look to put no pressure on her. She does come up, but I don’t put that added pressure on her. Well, they say absence makes the heart grow fonder, so I’d say the distance and the time that we’ve been separated has made us stronger. I think because we’ve had time to think, both of us, I think it made us stronger as a couple. I’ve never been dependent on her. Not at all. I don’t put pressure on her to send me money, I don’t put pressure on her to do nothing, I’ve always fended for myself, understand what I’m saying to you, if it’s criminally – or if it’s me to go out there now and get a job. I do feel guilty because I’ve left her out there, I’ve left her out there to struggle. I know the struggle that she’s gone through, you understand what
I’m saying to you, standing at the bus stop with my son late at night, and I phone her and she’s crying and it’s cold and she’s waiting for the bus to come home, or guilty in the sense where she has to travel all over the country to see me with my child. So I feel guilty in that sense, that I’ve left her to defend for herself with a young child when she was young herself. It’s hard to be a husband and a father, because at the end of the day you’re not there every day to see the ups and downs, but because of how I used to treat her, this is why she’s waiting for me, that made her see me for what I was, so that alone has made her think, you know what, even though he was up to this and that, then was then, and now is now. She’s put that trust in me. Prison weren’t set out to be easy, was it? I’d say the hardest time in prison is when you initially wake up and you see the same bars and the same door, and you can’t even do what you need to do, you’ve not got that freedom. The best part of the day is when I can get on the phone to my family, when I’ve got my units [phone credits], or I get a letter from my loved ones. I’d say that’s the best part for me when I phone and I speak to my family. Not to say that I’m down in between, you understand, but I feel better when I can speak to people that I know. There’s the frustration of not being able to do things that you want to do. If you get on the phone and you hear that a loved one’s passed away or a certain member of the family’s going through a difficult time, you’re stuck in here and the frustration that you can’t even help them. It makes me feel like less of a man that my child and my wife, they have to fend for themselves right now and I don’t think I’m being there to support her, so that makes me feel less of a man, that I’m not there to support and take responsibility for what I created. I anticipate my freedom, I can’t wait to get out. I don’t think I’ve got too many fears at this moment, because I’ve got a good family background, a strong relationship, I’ve got a healthy child, I’m healthy, my girlfriend’s healthy. I’ve got a job offer, so no real fears or concerns as such, but just to know within myself that I need to change and implement a lot of things in my life where I’ve gone wrong before.