Tuesday, October 31, 2006


To my supporters and those folk who have signed my on-line petition and made so many encouraging comments, I want to say a most sincere THANK YOU!

It is of the utmost and paramount importance for a fellow in my position to know that he is not alone in the world. In my position, what are needed and appreciated above all are friends. I should like to thank everyone individually, but obviously logistics won't allow me to do that, and it would be grossly unfair of me to single out some people above others for special thanks - but I have the wish to. So many people have said so many nice things and may I assure you all that this fight will continue regardless. I am right, and when a fellow is right it gives him a strength and determination of unparalleled tenacity.

William Jennings Bryan, an American politician (1860-1925) once said:

"The humblest citizen in all the land, when clad in the armour of a righteous cause, is stronger than all the hosts of Error."

I do have that tenacity because I know deep down that I am right and I ask for Justice. I am scheduled for a verbal hearing before the Parole Board on November 28th 2006. I have enormous optimism about it, but absolutely no expectations whatsoever. If I was guilty I would be a free man by now. I am an articulate sort of fellow, fully capable of saying what needs to be said, and yet for 20 years I have been unable to make one millimetre of headway against the system. What hope is there for someone who cannot articulate? At the end of the parole hearing I shall write an account of it to be put here on this website. We will see how it goes and whether fairness or justice plays a part.

Again may I say thank you, all of you, and may I invite you to ask others to check the website. Thank you.

The Voice In The Wilderness

Monday, August 21, 2006


A marvellous bit of news today in amidst the normal catalogue of doom and gloom. Oh yes, it has given my day an interesting start. It is all to do with Newcastle City Council which is apparently led by the Lib-dems. It has been decreed that male workers must no longer use certain words when addressing their workmates of the opposite sex.

Colloquialisms which have been used for centuries, such as 'pet' and 'hinny' are to be declared verboten. 'Pet' is a diminutive of the word petal and the origins of the word 'hinny' are lost in the mists of time. A hinny is some sort of female ass and that could be the origin in this context. Some think it is a form of the word honey, but I've got my doubts on that one. It comes from the coal miners of centuries ago and they used to use donkeys (before they used pit ponies) and I suppose a hinny would be a reliable and faithful companion to a coal miner. So it is possible that they refered to their wives as their hin, and that's as near as I can get by guessing. However, these words are used as terms of friendship the same as the word 'flower' in Lancashire. What about Coventry and Birmingham where they use 'my duck'? or the very best of all, in Leeds and surrounding area where they call each other 'love'?

I can remember years ago, in the early 90's, when I was sent to Leeds prison and located in the seg. unit; teatime came around and the kangaroo unlocked me, a big feller with a beard who said, "Get your tea my love." As you can imagine, a great deal of soul-searching went through my mind in an instant!

The point is, these words are all colloquialisms and are really a part of a very rich and varied cultural heritage. The country is full of them, all areas have their own. Then along comes what can only be described as a bloody moron who is so obsessed with his (or her) political correctness that, if given the chance, will destroy our heritage. I am not surprised that this country appears to be having such a cultural identity crisis when there are idiots who are hell-bent on destroying it. I think colloquialisms serve to enrich the language and I wish someone would invent a colloquialism for the word colloquialism, it is a pain in the bum to keep on writing it.

The Voice In The Wilderness

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Life is the same for everyone

Sitting in a prison cell on a blank Sunday evening brings to mind the words of Nicholas Sarkozy when he said:

"Life is the same for everyone when you are alone at night in an empty room."

It's true too.

This soon turned to contemplating those around me, all in their empty rooms, although to call them rooms gives them a more acceptable connotation than the word 'cells'. Still, a rose by any other name is still a rose.

I know a young fellow, in his early 20's, who has got a life sentence with a minimum of 30 years to serve. So far he has served two or three.

I got to contemplating and wondering what may be going through his mind, in his empty room. I think I need to say that his crime is not what I am talking about, however bad it may have been - what is exercising my brain cells is the sentence.

I've been in prison for over 20 years now and I know what has happened to me mentally during the course of those two decades, but I was 39 years old when I was arrested and consequently knew one or two things about life on this planet. It took me a long time to work out how to survive. It wasn't easy, and still isn't.

However it has to be entirely different for a young man of 22 or 23, or whatever age he is. I haven't asked. What occurs to me is the fact that at the age of 40 it actually meant something to me to discover that I was expected to stay in jail for at least 20 years. I knew how long 20 years was and knew that it was half a lifetime in prison for something I did not do. But that's not the point.

What is the point is this:

How do you make a 23 year old understand what 30 years means?

It means nothing to him; he has no reference point to use, nothing to compare it with, no connection to the reality of the situation. Of course he is optimistic and has the unreasoned faith of youth that, in the words of Mr Macawber, "Something will turn up." Unfortunately the years will begin to pass, he will see himself change as his youth fades and grey hair will appear. He will see his parents grow old and die - he will see his little nieces and nephews grow and produce their own families. He will see so many changes in his own environment but in his heart he will stay 23 years old.

Sooner or later of course reality will kick in and he will go one of two ways. He will either begin to feel sorry for himself, and self-pity can lead to only one logical result: self destruction. On the other hand he may become angry and resentful and the logical end to that road is also self-destruction. So, either way, the young man has nothing before him. There is no one to wave a magic wand and save him; there are no Super-Heroes flying to his rescue and Young Lochinvar is a mere character in a poem.

There is only one thing that will save this young man from perdition, and that is hope. He needs to be given hope because a person with no hope is a lost soul.

It's quite interesting what goes through my mind on a blank Sunday evening - I wonder what is going through the minds of those around me, each in their empty room, because Life is the same for everyone when you are alone at night in an empty room.

The Voice In The Wilderness

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Where justice stops and cruelty begins

Jails are made of bricks and passion,

broken dreams and ribald men.

I had an interesting conversation today, a conversation which has to be censored to remove the vernacular for obvious reasons, although the removal may detract from it. I can't remember verbatim of course, only policemen can do that. To protect the guilty I shall call the fellow I had the chat with by the name of Cecil, because I don't know anyone called Cecil so that should be safe enough.

The conversation went something like this:

Cecil - "Frank, how long have you been in the nick now?"

Me - "Over twenty years, why?"

Cecil - "I've got twenty-five rec. and I've only done two. Does it pass quick?"

Me - "Well it's all relative really. When I look back at the last twenty years, it has flown past like a snap of your fingers. But when I look forward it seems never-ending.”

Cecil - "I know."

Me - "But nothing lasts for ever."

Cecil - "I know - you did it hard as well, didn't you?"

Me - "Well, that's relative too I suppose. Hard compared to what? Compared to a Russian Salt Mine, I had it all pretty easy. But compared to how you lads have got it now, with your telly and everything else, I suppose it was no laughing matter."

Cecil - "Do you never get depressed?"

Me - "Ah! Someone once said that when you get old nobody gives you time to cry or feel sorry for yourself. Besides, it's easier to smile, even when you don't feel like it."

Cecil - "But you must get depressed."

Me - "A ten minute conversation with you would depress anybody. Take my advice - try to get all the pleasure you can from each day. Accept each day for what is in it and don't dwell in the past. You can't change the past - not even God can change the past - you can only work for the future. If you do that, your days will be a little easier. If you don't do that, you won't reach your release. Now go away and bother someone else, I'm reading."

Cecil - "You are always reading."

Me - "I'm learning things, it helps."

Cecil - "You already know loads of things."

Me - "But not enough. I am learning all the time. Have you nothing to do?"

He went away after that after getting some sugar from me for a cup of tea. It made me think a bit. These young men have all got ridiculously long sentences and they can't even take care of themselves well enough to ensure that they have the means to make tea! In what way is the prison service equipping them for life in the years to come? Who is giving these youngsters the advice they need? I don't mean courses which are worse than useless and which will be meaningless in a few years' time. I mean real advice, life-changing, thought-provoking, commonsense advice.

One day, society will reap the harvest of this wilful neglect. It's true to say that these young men have, in many cases, committed terrible crimes and, as a consequence, deserve to be punished, but there is a huge difference between punishment and vindictive revenge and justice.

Let me put it this way: if a person beats a dog for barking, and the beating turns the dog vicious, and the person beats the dog further for being vicious - sooner or later that person is arrested for cruelty. We need to decide where justice stops and cruelty begins.

The Voice In The Wilderness

Saturday, July 08, 2006

An oral parole hearing - 16.06.2006.

Report of Oral Parole Hearing of Franklyn Wilkinson 16.06.2006. held at

The Sentence management Unit of Whitemore Prison, Cambridgeshire.

Chairman: His Honour Judge Bing.

Also Present Two Panel Members
Board Secretary
ASO S.Wright, Acting Life Manager
(representing the Prison and the and the Home Secretary)
Officer Paul Marson, Personal Officer.
Mr Mike Pemberton of Stephensons Solicitors
(10 - 14 Library Street, Wigan WN1 1NN representing Frank Wilkinson)
Frank Wilkinson

No other witnesses ordered by the Board had turned up.


In the ante room prior to entry to the Boardroom the Board Secretary came to see myself and Mike Pemberton and informed us that none of the witnesses had bothered to turn up. Given that, then the whole proceedings were seen as totally unfair to me. The discussion between my solicitor and the Board Secretary was then centered on the need to seek a deferral and I agreed to this.
Once in the room Pemberton made the application for deferral and the Chairman agreed instantly. It was then discussed as to when the new hearing would be scheduled and the Chairman ordered that this was a complicated case and as such should not be scheduled for a day when any other cases are heard; this case had to be allocated a full day.
The witnesses were then discussed and the judge ordered the following:

Fiona Lloyd, Prison Psychologist
Mike Harding, Prison Senior Probation Officer
FCApps or someone in his place
Independent Psychology Assessment
Paul Marson, Personal Officer

Mike Pemberton then brought up the subject of independent observers and said that Hilary Hinchliffe had desired to attend but had been refused permission. He was asked what she could contribute and Pemberton said that Hilary Hinchliffe was a long-standing friend who could tell the board about the changes in me if the board so desired, but, more importantly, she also had a background in Psychiatric Nursing and as such the Board may want to ask questions of her. The chairman agreed and ordered that Hilary Hinchliffe be cleared by security to be allowed further into the environs of the prison beyond the visiting area which was as far as she had previously been allowed. This was an instruction by the Chairman.

Pemberton then raised the matter of Dr Mike Naughton also being allowed in as an independent observer and the Chairman also agreed to this.

Pemberton then applied to the Chair to have the current Cat A review halted until after the Board had re-sat and made its decisions, because the comments and decisions of the Board would affect the Cat A decision.

The chairman agreed to everything and said that this was a complicated and unusual case and needed proper consideration.

I was then asked if I was happy with the proceedings and I could only agree. Then we all said "Good Afternoon", I said "Thankyou" and everyone went home.


One thing was clear: the Board could not reconcile the fact that I had done so much and yet apparently had so little recognition of it from the Prison Service. The chairman wants to see the witnesses and he wants to know why not.

The Voice In The Wilderness