Tuesday, October 04, 2011


Well, I knew IF I waited long enough I would, sooner or later, have something to tell anyone not nimble enough to get out of the door quickly enough.

I've got news!

Yesterday they came to see me bearing an envelope, for which they wanted me to sign. On examination of the accompanying document, I saw that it wasn't me who had to sign that I had received it, not at all - it was for the kangaroo to sign to prove he had given it to me. A case of covering themselves I suppose.

Anyway, when they had gone off about their business, I opened the envelope and it was a letter from the Ministry of Justice to inform me officially that my solicitor's request to have  my parole review period reduced by four months had succeeded.  My parole hearing is to be in May of next year. It's October  now - so that is October, November, December, January, February, March, April, May! Eight months IF you count October. The  fact is that it's seven months - you either count the first month or the last month, not both.

So, seven months to the hearing. There is a twenty-six week period set for report-writing - six months in anyone's money - and that leaves a month for me to get to open prison before I begin the reports. IF I begin them in this prison then I am not allowed to leave this place until all reports are done and I've had the hearing!  IF that should happen, imagine the Prison Service going before the Parole Board and saying, "We haven't even complied with your  last instructions yet!"

So, the next few weeks could be interesting.

However, that's not all, I have even MORE news - IF it can be called news and is of any interest to anyone other than myself. I entered the Koestler Awards again this year and I have just been informed that I have won Platinum this year. That's my fourth literary win, my fourth award!  Now, I'm not being clever here, I'm not that egotistical (I hope), but four awards for writing isn't bad for a poor white  boy from the ghetto. I'm still a poor white boy but I no longer belong to any ghetto - no self-respecting ghetto would have me  for a start.

It got me to thinking about things in a reflective way. Over the years in jail I have studied hard and worked hard on my writings, often and usually in the face of great opposition and obstruction from the Prison Service. Despite all of that opposition, I have still managed three degrees, several certificates of excellence for computer studies, I've mentored several youngsters and helped to turn their lives around, I've turned my own life around and written lots of stuff, winning four literary awards along the way. Imagine how far I might have gone IF the Prison Service had encouraged and assisted just a little bit!

Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem entitled 'IF'. I think the last verse covers it all admirably:

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son! 
The Voice In The Wilderness

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