What a strange place: society’s cupboard full of crooks, a whole world of mystery, misery, and myths. What’s even more strange is that I feel as though I still dont understand it despite having spent nearly a year there.
Maybe my mind blocks it all out for self-preservation purposes. It’s not as though I had a rough time, but spending such a long in a single cell filters through into the lowest layers of your subconscious. You become less socially competent, less confident, more pensive and introverted.
So I decided to write about what I DO know, in order to help those who know even less than myself. And that can be the most daunting part about prison: waiting for trial, being on bail, the great unknown. How much truth is contained in the ‘dont drop the soap’ maxim? Will you wither away on a diet of sawdust and grizzly grey porridge, or will you arrive on the wing and be eaten alive by lumpen-savages?
No. You wont. More likely, the pre-prison anxiety will eat you from the inside out, and this is a large but under-acknowledged part of the prison system and its function.
This is where I hope to help people and at the same time pull the rug out from beneath the ineffective justice systems feet. I’ve written a book called HMP – A Survival Guide; it’s a grit-and-all how-to with personal anecdotes–like a “Lonely Planet for the clink”–and it’s written in a style designed to be digestible for those who most need it. Best of all: it’s totally free. Check it out online at Prisonism.info.
The following has been reprinted from Carl’s free publication, H.M. Prison Service, A Survival Guide, with minor edits.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
As soon as you’ve been remanded or found guilty....