I woke this morning with all the intention of having a good old rant and rave about the madness of what I heard yesterday but in hindsight I think I may have got it wrong. Or got mixed up. Lost it in translation somewhere. Taken it out of context et al.
This is what I wrote on this day this time last year – There’s me last ever visit over and done with. Dad and Stephen were here, the first two to visit me in HMP Lewes nearly six years ago, finally this gives closure to them too. This was the first time I sat to my Dad’s right. He was wearing a loose fitting top and I tried not to stare at the scar on his neck, left behind from his surgery. God, we were talking about keeping emotions and frustrations and anger in check and it gets a bit heated. There is an awkward silence and it is forgotten about for the time being, Stephen keeps the peace, but all I can think about is his neck. I’d love to be able to ask him about it and talk about it and understand it but my dad is not that sort of guy. Like everything else it gets buried in a wee box and stored but never really dealt with. We did laugh a lot and I apologised to Stephen quite a bit for having to carry the boxes to the car. He might be finished by now. Called TB over and he said they’d sort something out. I’ve been looking forward to this day for ages and now that it’s over the full realisation of having only thirty days left kicks in. As it stands, I’m out on Tuesday so I only have tomorrow back on Thursday then it’s next Friday and then two weeks of revision for the exam on the 12th of June and then I’m out the week after. And then…. Well, that’s a different, story for a different day. I’ll probably Blog what I do now and see how it pans out. Or maybe? Is Blogging a modern day diary? It was cool and it’s over, it’s all over bar the shouting.
There is quite an irony here as I think at some stage over the coming weeks I will be having a final visit with my Father. He’s still in ICU and machines are keeping him alive. I fear it’s only a matter of time. It’s not over yet but… I love you Dad with all my heart.
So, back to not having a go at Criminal Justice. Ironically, today last year I was in the Canada Rooms at Queens attending a Chris Uggen Lecture and yesterday I was in the same room listening to Pat Carlen talk about the myth of Rehabilitation. Wow, what a formidable lady. I’ve got to email her after this so I won’t be hanging around. There were a few of the usual suspects there and I sat with my pal Dominic who was also sniffing, full of the cold. Directly in front of us sat the DG and Head of Rehabilitation of the NIPS. Who were also at the same Chris Uggen lecture this time last year. I was addressed as Michael this time. During the Q and A at the end the DG suggested that the prison service was moving away from a medical model to a more offender based/holistic approach to rehabilitation. I thought, lovely jubbly, I’ve got just the thing for you but will wait until the end. Pat then suggested that in all her years of doing this she had never had someone come up to her and say “Here you are . I’ve got a rehabilitation programme that actually works.” I thought I’ll have a wee chat with you at the end also instead of making it all public. This was my idea of reigning it in a bit by the way. Pat also made me giggle when she was asked about research in prisons there was defensive and encouraging remark from the DG but this was slightly quashed when Pat might have suggested that nobody cared or would read it anyway. So, I dutifully informed the Prison Service about my involvement with the Prison Smart Rehabilitation Programme and they are well aware of it as I’ve been going on about it for long enough. I explained that a ten minute YouTube video would soon be available. Now you must remember that the prison service just stated five minutes previously that they wanted to move away from a medical model to a more individual based set of programmes.
Your best bet is Mr [name retracted] at the Health Service.
I simply cannot explain how flummoxed I was. I thanked the person as I really do appreciate the heads up and the advice and will be doing exactly as suggested and contacting this person later today. I want to show you the YouTube Movie but I’ve been asked to hold fire as its not yet finished and we are waiting approval from the authorities to say that it’s OK. I also want to have a mad rant about this but again I’ll have to hold it in for another day as I don’t want to do my usual and put people’s noses out of joint.
It’s been a crazy month, my Dad at deaths door, meeting up with my first true love, being taken to court because I have no money to pay an overpayment of benefit which has been removed, getting the assisted place for European Group Conference, finishing lectures in Master’s, Graduation for BA at Waterfront, Justice Minister acknowledging me and having my first glass of wine in seven years. I think of my ‘risk’ to society and how much it costs to keep an eye on me. I think of desistance and the rage and fury that creeps into my soul on a weekly and sometimes daily basis. I think of the only thing that stops me from going back is me, my meditation and the people in Art of Living who show me nothing more than love and compassion. I think of last year and how the duty of care inflicted upon me during the resettlement process nearly drove me to suicide, how the panic and anxiety attacks nearly drove me insane.
Then I think of last night when I sat in a small room, no bigger than my cell, in a flat with ten adults, doing a meditation and how a three month old baby wrapped her whole hand round my wee finger, squeezed for all she was worth and laughed. I think of the tear that ran down my cheek thinking about my Father’s life coming to an end and this wee finger attached to new life. It made me think what’s the point in getting mad. Just do what you do and get on with it. After all, none of us are permanent but maybe just maybe; something we do or say might be.