These pages concern my involvement with vulnerable and hurting people. Casualties of a damaged society. Proof there are none as blind as those who do not want to see. It is a totality of experience, observation, thought and feeling. The feeling has moved between rage, anguish and at times great sorrow yet, I say now and will repeat, the time has come for thinking and concerned people to declare “no..” This is not a denial and walk away. It is the revolutionary cry of “enough is enough”.
These words have been difficult yet a declaration of concern must be made. We face a proliferation of vital questions. How may we understand justice? What is the meaning and purpose of the state, as we know it? What could be the nature of social reconstruction? What is the reality before us?
Not only this but how can the system controlling society lead to equality, no repression and a safe, free way of life? I tell my story and consider the circumstances leading to my own fitting up, ill treatment and abuse by the system. I look at the question of justice itself. We will also consider the circumstances of my good friend and comrade John Bowden as well as the need for and meaning of protest within the justice system and society as a whole where we have to say “No! Enough is enough”
Throughout many long and brutal years in prison John has clung tenaciously to his integrity and “all that makes me a man.” Rather than compromise he has declared in a recent letter “..fuck it, they can have my bones.”It is essential to maintain one’s integrity. There is much in the system that attacks this vital element of the human person. My integrity is a key element in forming me into the person I am. It informs each element of my interactions with my social setting. It is my statement to others as to who I am.
There is also an account of my time on community service. A period when, among other things I became aware of the oppressed, disadvantaged and pained background of so many “offenders” and how true it is that society is responsible for creating the criminals it so richly deserves. There are also essays that will link with our main themes.
These include my boyhood memory of the execution of Ruth Ellis. I lived through this as a boy. For me it was unbelievable horror. How could they do this and call it justice? I have come to see Ruth and her judicial murder as a formative event in my life. I was looking at the so called justice system with questioning eyes. Even while a young boy I had questions needing answers.
There is also a section concerning my contact with America’s death row and a contact of mine in Texas who was killed by the state in its disgusting ritual of lethal injection.
Writing the book, living the issues and the pain has been a very real challenge. At times the work took on a life of its own as issues arise that I know must be included. I will not join those walking by on the other side.
A significant, yet not solitary element is my personal conflict with the system. I have known the cruelty and brutality of state sponsored bullies hiding behind police uniforms. I have been abused by those able to lie and distort for their own corrupt ends. Those who police and others manipulate to cover their own corruption and mental and physically brutality. Liars are too easily believed. Yes, it does happen and I say here and will repeat that we are subjugated by a system where results matter more than truth. Results achieved by the total prostitution of fairness, impartiality and credible search for truth.
I have experienced the sinister charade of the court system. The perverted concern for results rather than truth. The acceptance of falsehood and confession obtained under duress. This conflict has enhanced my own interest in questions linked with justice. I was too ill and stressed by ill treatment to help myself. I made a serious attempt on my life that almost worked.
As I have become stronger, I have vowed to stand with others and this conflict has been one of the driving forces my urge to help and supporting people in prison, or hurt by the system, in any way I can. I believe many know deep pain and sorrow through the system. I believe that the seriousness of this situation and its potential implications and responses cannot be overstated. The so called justice system demonstrates a partiality, brutality, corruption, indifference and arrogance which is its own eventual grave digger.
Many who know me are and will be astonished that there has been this tension in my life. They may well also be concerned and even critical of me for asking the questions that I am. People will be surprised that I should wish to help and stand beside people in prison or damaged by the system. They should not be. Instead, they should make the journey through these waiting pages with all their shadows and depths. This requires a willingness to stop and think and this all I ask of them.
During my encounters with the agencies of “justice”, through contact with those also hurt by it and during my researches, I have come to see and feel how much is badly wrong. My contacts were firstly as a tutor helping people in prison to study. From time to time these students shared regarding themselves and their circumstances. I am still involved in this way yet I also began corresponding with people in prison wishing to help in any way I could. My initial response was not “Well, they’re prisoners they would say that wouldn’t they?” My problems with the “justice” system infact have a long history. My M.A. Dissertation was entitled ‘In Search of Justice.’ Then, there the personal conflict which showed me all the more just how sick and wrong the system is and the depths to which it will stoop to attack those who question its functioning.
I believe and submit that any credible sense of justice will only be located by working together to ensure the harmony of the whole rather than the interest of the stronger. This must be harmony of the whole by the whole rather than the vindictive oppression of an unelected control crazy, elitist caucus from the privileged classes.
We will return to an idea of justice holding society and people together. The idea is fine yet how will it be achieved? Well, is it not worth thinking about? To achieve we must rediscover our ability to really think rather than tick over like mindless automatons merely doing as we are told.
What does ‘justice’ convey to you? When you hear the word consider not only what you think but what do you feel? Is it a description, a definition, or perhaps an understanding of justice will contain both these elements?
Perhaps there is a feeling of safety as you link justice with your idea of fairness and the right way of doing things. On the other hand, do you feel anxiety being unsure why the question is being asked at all. Do you connect it with ideas about wrong doers being punished feeling this is getting one’s just deserts? Does crime equal punishment if so exactly why? One should, I suggest, think and be careful with this one before screaming back “Yes George, of course it does!”
Is justice the same as revenge? Is ‘retributive justice’ actually commensurate with revenge and one could go on and on.
Often enquiries of this kind find many vacant looks together with a certain apprehension, as one has perhaps never given these matters much if any thought. The expectation to do so now may be uncomfortable or even threatening. One may be thinking “As long as I’m alright its none of my business” and yet, if they come for me today will they come for you tomorrow?
There is often a wish to change the subject. Frequently there is a deafening silence. In the ensuing pages we enter that silence and explore its real meaning. Perhaps we will disturb that silence? It is likely we will. We will allow ourselves not only to think but to feel.
I will be sharing with you something of how and why I came to be involved and concerned regarding the plight of those ensnared by the “justice” system and will remain so involved for the rest of my life. That is certainly my wish and personal dedication.
Yes, I have been in conflict with the system and been fitted up by local police acting in concert with others; I refer to H.B. she knows who she is as do others including her pernicious associates . There are those who have suggested to me that my concerns and the writing a book of this kind amount to little more than ‘sour grapes. ‘
As well as being extremely offensive this is the functioning of a very shallow and limited mind. What I find sour is the expectation that I should accept without question victimisation, lies, fitting up and awareness of the pain of others all in the name of the State and the blind who do not want see. In an interesting and thought provoking letter Mr. Sean Higgins reminds us all that “Ignorance is not bliss – its just ignorance” Sean who has suffered greatly during his time in prison. This includies several serious assaults by prison officers which have seen him winning court cases against them on twelve different occasions.
At the time I write this Sean (now released) is incarcerated in H.M.P. Cardiff on the segregation unit just 109 days before his scheduled release, Sean observes “It brings a whole new meaning to the policy of ‘resettlement’ huh? Ha! I must laugh or I’d cry George”
I also find “sour” the slightest implication that I would turn a short sighted unthinking eye to the ongoing cruelty I am aware of regarding vulnerable others. Cruelty I have actually experienced myself. Where there is oppression, deceit bullying and evil there will be resistance and an urge to fight back in one way or another. I would see this as a natural law and its frequent absence in modern Britain is profoundly disturbing. Sean has also told me and I quote with his permission –
“I am outraged though I must admit unsurprised reading of your own (i.e. my
experience) at the hand of state sponsored bullies.....For you or I to unfold
our experiences of a brutal, corrupt and ultimately racist system of authority
to, say, Joe Bloggs 9-5 puppet indoctrinated bred to consume, reproduce and
die remains the most difficult of battles if one is to be believed. The irony
being that it is Joe Bloggs who finances and empowers the very same corrupt
the very same corrupt system that would not hesitate to destroy him at a mere
One of the objects of everything I write is to ask people to think. Please consider this.
For me the fight I certainly never started has begun. It will go on. The very nature of the conflict means, as you will see that nothing can stop it. There is too much muck staining the corridors of power. All the while people suffer and are wounded under the heel of a corrupt and vicious system and my prisoners are not free then neither am I free.
Please consider as you read that my feeling is that prisons do not need reforming they need closing. This is not the right way and it never has been. We must tear down many walls.
Between the conception of justice and its expression, there is a shadow Between punishment for doing it and not doing it again there is a shadow. Before seeing light we must acknowledge darkness.