Transfer

Harry was moved this week. I had a phone call at the beginning of the week when Harry said he had been told he was moving but he didn't know when or where to. He said he therefore wasn't sure when he was going to be able to ring again. The uncertainty and lack of control you have as a family member plays havoc with your emotions. I sat for 3 days watching my phone, wishing it to ring so at least I knew where he was and that he was safe.

The barrister had explained that he would be transferred to a category C prison after 4-6 weeks of initial assessment in a category A or B prison and therefore it was expected. To be honest, after researching the programme for a standard day in a cat C prison I was pleased that he might actually get let out of his cell in this new prison for more than one hour a day and there might be less people trying to committ suicide or set fire to the place and hopefully people won't be screaming and banging through the night every night. Harry's description of the current prison was more of a substitute for the now demolished mental institutions but with the remit of 'lock them up for as long as we can and ignore them'.

Harry was a little bit worried about how his cell mate was going to cope without him. He was sharing with an elderly man who had had a stroke in the last 6 months which had put him in a wheelchair. He was unable to get onto the toilet or return to bed without Harry's help. I think they had become quite close in only a few days together. As Harry explained his concern for this stranger, tears fell down my face as I was reminded what a kind selfless man he is. Even this injustice and prison life hadn't hardened him.

Harry's phone card was eventually transferred to the new prison and he was able to call. The relief to hear his voice was immense. He was ok. He was now at a cat C prison over 100 miles from home but thankfully I can drive and therefore my next priority was to get another visit organised. Harry began telling me that he was transferred with 3 other men who were 72, 78 and 83 years old. He found the journey incredibly uncomfortable so he dreaded to think how these frail men felt. He said they hardly spoke for what felt like hours in the back of the van but found himself looking at them wondering if they were another victim of a false accusation. Interesting how he didn't wonder what crime they were in for!


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