Monday, July 20, 2009

Numbnuts the Dragon Chaser

There is no further news this week - about anything at all really! In fact the only thing I have had from anyone or anywhere this week is the official notification of my downgrading - and THAT came via my solicitor and not from any official source. To be fair - and we all know that I am fair if nothing else - to be fair, they have promised that full reasons for my downgrading will be issued later in the month.

I shall look forward to that.

So, absolutely zilch to report - nada, zero, nuffink, nowt, as they say in Yorkshire.

However, I have an interesting tale to tell which is connected. Earlier in the past week I was sitting here, in my little bedsit (government designed of course) and banging away at my typewriter, as I do every day. Well, it keeps me off the streets.

Someone tapped on my cell door, shoved their head inside and said, "Frank, can I have a word with you?"

I turned to see who dared enter the bailliwick of this brand new category B prisoner. I saw a fellow - and at this stage I have to say that I cannot use his name. It is verboten, forbidden, not allowed, proscribed. Well, we have to consider the privacy laws - much as the police do when they kick someone's front door in with their size twelves at the crack of dawn. But let's not be vindictive here.

No, I cannot use this fellow's name so I have to think of a nickname which suits him. I shall call him either The Great Pretender or Numbnuts the Dragon Chaser. I think we will use the latter, it fits him nicely.

So, I regard his ravaged countenance and say, "'What can I do for you, Numbnuts the Dragon Chaser?"

He comes in and parks himself on my bed. "Frank," says he, just to help me out a bit in case I have forgotten my name, after all, I'm getting on a bit now. "Frank," says he, "you know this case you have just won, can it help me at all?"

"Who knows?" said I.

He doesn't listen - the dragon-hunting fraternity never do. He says, "I've been in jail nearly as long as you and I'm still Cat. A. My case is just the same as yours."

"Ah!" said I, " Not quite."

"It is," he argues. "I'm denying everything so they can't ask me to do any courses and... "

"Numbnuts," said I, stopping his flow, "there's a big difference between avoiding courses and actually being innocent. Besides, I've done courses. I've done full Offending Behaviour Group courses, and that's not counting the education I've done and all the rest of it."

"Yeah," said he, not listening still, "but I've been a Cat. A for..."

I stopped him. Had enouqh of him to be honest. "Look," said I and wagged a finger, "I'm going to tell you the facts of life here, Numbnuts, and it's up to you whether you listen or not. I don't give a shit personally. You are bang at it on the smack, everybody knows - you have been for years. I've lost count of the times you have been moved from prison to prison, under very controversial circumstances to say the least. You need to face reality, mate. Until you stop taking that shit, you are going nowhere. And I'm not talking about stopping for five minutes, you'll need between five and ten years clear, no trouble. But you won't see that, will you? I don't give a toss what you do, none of my affair, but if you want to go home, you need to take notice of what I am saying."

"I've got a parole hearing soon," said he. "I think I'll get it."

Ah! The logic of a dragon-chaser. They can convince themselves of anything - apart from reality and the facts. Oh well, he is over twenty-one, he can make his own mind up and go to buggery in any way he sees fit I suppose, but I'm not about to waste time or effort to help him.

I said, "I haven't got the wording of any judgements. All I've got is the court order, and as far as I know that's only on my website, I don't have a copy here."

"Have you got a website?" he asked. "I never knew that. I'm going to get one."

Oh dear, no matter what anyone says to a Fellow of the Dragon Quest, he will instantly adopt it.

Well he went off about his business - maybe he heard a lonely dragon crying somewhere in the distance - and I sat and thought about it. Nobody is doing a thing about this problem - the men with the monkey on their back. Oh they pay lip service but they are actually doing sweet bugger-all. If it took me all of these years to get a bit of progress, what chance have fellows like Numbnuts the Dragon Chaser got?

The Voice In The Wilderness

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I'm going to feed Machiavelli's ducks!

By now it will be known, by those who are interested, that I am no longer a Category 'A' prisoner but have been downgraded to a Category 'B'.

This time last week, the Secretary of State considered me far too dangerous to be allowed to sleep right through the night without Florence Nightingale waking me every five minutes just to make sure I hadn't departed my cell via the window, or some other self-made aperture. I could not prove that my levels of dangerousness had reduced to where I no longer had to have my cell searched every 28 days to make sure that I was not creating some device for tunnelling to Australia.

But now, I am no longer considered to be a danger to the public, the police or national security should I escape. Everyone can now sleep soundly in their beds, the police can go about their affairs without worrying about me turning up in some dark alley to ambush them and, of course, Special Branch can take me off their Christmas card list.

So what has happened in the meantime to reduce my levels of danger? The answer is quite simple - absolutely bugger-all.

The only reason I have been removed from the 'A' list is the precise same reason I was on it in the first place - convenience. It will be remembered that my solicitor challenged the Prison Service in the Queen's Bench Division on their decision not to hold an oral hearing into my category. That was in March of this year, and the Secretary of State lost the case - he had to hold an oral hearing into my category. Of course he appealed, on the rather odd grounds (amongst others) that to grant me an oral hearing - as laid down by law - could create a constitutional crisis. Well, I've said all I intend to say about constitutions.

The Secretary of State appealed the decision by HHJ Jarman and the appeal went before The Master of the Rolls, Lord Justice Scott Baker, and Lady Justice Smith on Wednesday 24th June 2009. The matter was between The Queen on the Application of Wilkinson - the Respondent/Claimant - and the Secretary of State for Justice - the Appellant/Defendant. It was held in Court 71, appeal number C1/2009/0816, and it took a mere fifty minutes for the court to decide:
The Appellant's application to proceed with the appeal is refused.
That's that then. The court ruled in my favour and THAT is why I have been deemed as no longer dangerous - because the Secretary of State doesn't want others asking for oral hearings; not because of any constitutional cobblers, but because holding oral hearings would be inconvenient and too much trouble for those who deal with these things. It's as simple as that really. Actually, I really did want a judgement so that others COULD use it as grounds for their own cases, but that has heen neatly sidestepped of course.

Well, their reasoning is quite simple and at the same time Machiavellian:
If we take him off the cat 'A' then the problem simply goes away!
And that is what they have done. Dangerousness or otherwise has nothing at all to do with it - never has had.

So, now I have to think about what happens next because being out of the Category 'A' system I no longer come under the Secretary of State or his minions in the matter of where I go to, what prison. Put it this way - I can now make progress.

So where do I go to? Being retired and medically unfit for any sort of work, I cannot go to a Category 'B' Training prison, that would make no sense at all. I have to go to a retirement prison and, as far as I know, there is only one in the country - Kingston in Portsmouth. So, that's the next step I suppose, to ask to go to Kingston. I understand they've got a duck pond there - I'd better start to save up my crusts.

The Voice In The Wilderness

Saturday, July 04, 2009


Today (Wednesday July 1st 2009) at about four-fifteen in the afternoon, I was sitting in my cell at my typewriter, banging away at 'An Abuse of Justice' as I slowly melted in the heat, when a little voice behind me said, "Frank!"

I turned to see my personal officer, a very nice young woman, who is invariably nice to all she speaks to and who seems to smile easily, an asset in this world of gloom and depression. I like her. She has that rare affliction found in very few - a sense of humour.

"What?" said I in my best James Cagney voice.

"I've been told to tell you that you have been downgraded," said she, smiling.

Why smile? I presumed I had been downgraded from an Enhanced status to a Standard prisoner [i.e. on the Incentives and Earned Privileges Scheme]. There was no reason I could see for such a downgrading, but everything can be expected when we deal with the prison service - the more unnecessary a thing is, the more likely it is too.

However, before I could say anything, she went on, "You have been downgraded to a Cat 'B' so you are off the Cat 'A'."

"What?" said I, great conversationalist that I am.

"I've just been told," said she. "I'll go and get you a new cell card."

Well, there's a turn up for the books. And of course it has immense ramifications in a lot of areas. Now I can have visits from anyone I like without them being security cleared, if I had that desire. I will no longer be woken every five minutes by the night fellow checking to see if I have escaped since the last time he looked. There will be less security directed at me. I could apply for a job of trust in the library, if I weren't retired.

Most important, I can now ask to go to a Cat 'B' prison. Of course, being retired, no Cat 'B' training prison will want me because they are all working jails. No, I only have the one option - Kingston in Portsmouth. A place for geriatric old duffers like me. A place where they feed the ducks and call it sport.

All of the arguments, in the High Court and elsewhere, are all academic now - redundant, finito, over. I have no idea why they should choose this particular time to downgrade me, and I'm not going to look any gift horses in the mouth, but I will wonder about it.

Whatever the reason, and some would say it should have happened fifteen years ago, I am now a Category 'B' prisoner, one of the lesser creatures in the pond, and, as such, I am now allowed to make some sort of progress.

I just thought you'd like to know.

The Voice In The Wilderness