Sunday, January 17, 2010

Leave it with me - I'll get back to you...

It will be remembered that on November 18th of last year I took part, reluctantly I might add, in a Sentence Planning meeting - me, a Governor, a supernumerary and someone taking the minutes. In fact I reported on the meeting and wrote a quite hopeful and enthused vignette for this blog. I was complimentary - nice in fact. I saw no reason to be otherwise. At the end of that meeting I was promised by the Governor who was in charge that I would receive a copy of the minutes as soon as they had been typed up and that if I had any problems doing so to contact her on the subject.

Since then I have made several applications for these minutes and sent each and every application to the Governor involved. Not once has she responded and, needless to say, I have never received the promised copy of the minutes.

Now, this didn't bother me over much - people are busy, computers break down, typists run off to sea with one-eyed Lascar sailors and all sorts of things go wrong, often as not nobody's fault. Trusting soul that I am I saw nothing sinister in my lack of success in obtaining those minutes - not until yesterday that is. Yesterday, Saturday 9th January, I received the "Summary" of the "recent Sentence Planning meeting" and, not to put too fine a point on it, and not wishing to be needlessly rude or crude, it is all a complete and utter bollix! There is not one single word of any sort of a positive nature. Everything in that summary is negative, everything.

However, that's not what is exercising my ire, as they say, oh no. What is attracting my animosity is the way that what I said to the board has been substituted for what they think I SHOULD have said. My words have been twisted and perverted and on a couple of points words have been attributed to me which were never said at all.

The sort of thing I mean is, during the "little chat" I said that the Lifer Manager at Whitemoor seemed to dislike me, although we had never met, and he seemed to have a problem with my obtaining three degrees. I said that he seemed to resent me for some strange and quite obscure reason.

The "Summary" states: 

Wilkinson said that the Lifer Manager was jealous of him.
There is a world of difference between resentment and jealousy. I have to say that I resent the way this "Summary" has been written, but that doesn't make me jealous! I'd have got my spelling right for a start.

There are several instances where such perversions have taken place and, in all fairness, it could be simply that the person who wrote the summary doesn't really understand the meaning of the words - though I doubt it. I think they knew exactly what they were up to, otherwise they would have given me a copy of the minutes of the original meeting! That seems logical to me.

Logic! HA! Logic and the Prison Service - never the twain shall meet. In fact I think it is against the rules to employ logic or to apply it in the prison system. It is certainly stupid to expect to find any applied logic being employed.

So, I have sent the "Summary" off to Mike Pemberton and of course he will send a copy back for me to send to the website. I have written an official complaint out about not getting a copy of the minutes of the meeting, and if that fails to produce the required result then I'll ask the Ombudsman to get involved. I can't see any reason why they can't supply me with a photocopy of the handwritten minutes. Whatever I get from them now will always have that odour of suspicion about it, much like Governors in general I suppose.

Finally, let me give a bit of advice to anyone out there who may be thinking of a career as a prison governor. You only need two skills:

1. You will need to learn how to say 'NO' in a thousand different ways and several languages.

2. You will have to learn how to repeat the following sentence with heartfelt sincerity:

Leave it with me. I'll look into it and get back to you.
The Voice In The Wilderness

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