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


Anonymous said...

Progress indeed. Let`s hope your release is not too far away and you will be reunited with your family.

Fingers crossed, Frank.

Jim T

Hayley said...

It's Hayley,
Slain Mo Chara