16 Jul Day 16
Thursday 16th July 2015
Today has been a good’n.
I had my mentoring class this morning and then I had my weekly 1 to 1 with Pamela. She had some good news… My prisoner allocation proposal has been approved to the next level of bureaucracy. Only one more person has to sign it off and not only will I have created my own green band job, it will significantly help and change the prison. There’s a backlog of prisoners and we will get them inducted and put into either education or work. It feels good to be able to help the system and use my time efficiently in order to help others.
I met a chap a couple of days ago called Peter. He’s a smart kid with a gambling problem that eventually led him down the road to corporate theft. Nonetheless, you can tell he’s educated and comes from a good background which I can relate to. He’s up for the Catch 22 job I was originally going for and I think he will get it. Peter is on my wing and currently on the mentoring course. Today, Pamela asked both of us to create a job description and a poster to advertise for Prisoner Information Desk (PID) workers. They are like customer services for prisoners. Almost like the tourism office of the prison. We will put them around the prison and hope some of them will step up. I know it was a little task by comparison to the work I did before prison but I got to stretch my creative skills and make something I was proud of. Peter and I were a good team on that task.
Before the end of class, Pamela (I’m the only one who calls her by her preferred fuller version of her name) not only slipped me a few more bits of stationery for my folder but mercifully put me on hold for six weeks. This means I can’t get shipped out of Armley yet – wahoo! During these six weeks, my job will be approved, so Pamela says, and I will be living the life (ish).
Once I have the freedom and mobility, my next goal will be to increase education opportunities. The choices of education are ridiculously limited. It is tailored for labourers, low literacy levels or university levels. There are no creative courses which will help those who do not fit into any of those categories learn something whilst inside. Alongside this, I would also like to improve the attendance of classes which is a mission by itself! I’d like to then expand the course selection to music and maybe languages. I think everyone should be encouraged to learn a musical instrument or at least have the choice to do so. It doesn’t require a literacy level so maybe it will become popular. On the plus side… I could finally get that piano!
This job will be full time and I will be paid £10.35 a week plus £2 allowance which means I will be one comfortable chappy. It also means I will be working with the head of education and have prison-wide mobility. All of this combined with Steven’s new job as the laundry guy means we will have our cell door open from 8am to 8pm and constantly washed clothes, clean towels and fresh bed linen. Mmmmm.
Obviously, I’m still in prison but it’s what you make of it, right?
I will be recategorised in December/January and if it goes well I will become a category D prisoner. This means I could be shipped to Hatfield in Doncaster, if I take myself off hold. After three months I would eventually be allowed to visit family on weekends despite being at the end of my sentence anyway. Regardless of the extra freedom, the only real benefit to this is being given my early release tag on time. Here at Armley, where I’m pretty comfortable, the tag could be delayed by two to seven weeks. I either need to reduce that delay or opt to get put in the Category D prison where I may have to endure three months in a new environment and essentially start my prison career over again.
On a side note, Steven screwed two old screws in to the wall behind the toilet, attached some string and made a toilet roll holder – I am so amazed by this. What has become of me?