First Month at Her Majesty's Pleasure

Following the first month inside, pleasure is not a word muted by Harry! Harry was taken to a Category B prison following sentencing. He basically spent the whole month in the cell, only being allowed out for 1-2 hours a day. Previously being an active man, he found the adjustment of day after day confinement in the cell, difficult to cope with. Naturally the shock of being convicted was taking a lot of adjusting but being confined to a small space was increasing the misery. He wasn't permitted to have a shower until a further 2 days following the sentencing and after nearly a week of not having a shower, he was grateful for some hot water, even if it was only 3 pushes of a 2 minute per push spray. He threw his underwear away, later regretting this as he was only provided with one pair of itchy boxers with the legs wide enough to drive a coach through.

In the first month and 22-23 hours a day in the cell, Harry experienced:

  • Screaming and shouting at a decibel even he didn't realise was possible (he now accepts this is daily life inside)

  • Just how itchy an orange scratchy blanket can really be, particularly when you have to choose whether to have it over you or double it up for a pillow.

  • 2 weeks with a foreign cell mate who didn't speak a word of English

  • Every day with no television, books or other distraction

  • The fire alarms going off at least 4 times a day, generally at least once through the night

  • A prisoner ripping the water pipes off the wall, flooding the wing and cutting the power. The water was over 2 foot deep for hours, wetting mattresses and bedding. No replacements provided even when water cleaned up.

  • Asked to babysit a young inmate who had witnessed his cellmate commit suicide with his bed sheets. Apparently he had been pressing for attention for hours, but nobody responded, by the time they responded the prisoner was dead and the young lad traumatised. The young lad was put in with Harry because 'you can calm him down and be a father figure'.

  • Had another cellmate who was elderly and had recently had a stroke and was now in a wheelchair. Harry had to help him get into bed and onto the toilet.

  • A man fall off the top floor of the wing. He wasn't sure if he was also trying to commit suicide. It took over 3 hours to remove him from the netting that had broken his fall.

  • How to maximise the drying of your clothes on the frame of the bunk bed.

Harry started receiving letters from family and friends, expressing their support, belief and love. I honestly believe it was these letters that kept Harry going through the first few weeks. The letters were the only connection he had to the outside world and the only way he knew what people were thinking about what had happened. People put paper and stamped address envelopes in with their letters which allowed Harry to reply and put his emotions on paper. This was a life line for Harry. Thank you to everyone who took the time to write to him and continue to write to him x

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