GET THE LOOK
Hat: Primark, cant find online. Alternative one here.
Jacket: River Island, similar one here.
Boots: Depop, similar one here.
I make it sound like a class trip or something…but there is no other way to put it. Today (Friday 12th) marks my first trip to a Prison. It was nerve racking and intimidating as fuck.
I actually had my mind set on writing about a completely different topic. I had the layout all set in my mind and I even had a beginning, middle and ending planned out.
Which is unusual for me. I tend to just write by ear. But I am a big believer in writing about whats happening in the moment so hence the change in topic.
But today I had to go to a Prison to see A.R. A.R has been a long friend of mine, since my Aberdeen days. When A.R called me from Prison to say they were in the city and wondered if I could visit I couldn’t say no.
Well I could’ve. But I didn’t want too. Friends are through thick and thin.
I may not be a good friend; I am terrible at keeping in contact, my memory is awful, I am randomly awkward in certain social situations yet perfectly comfortable in others and when I am drunk I get really angry.
I am not good with daily contact from friends. It isn’t because I don’t love them, but its because I am a creature of habit. I like my own space. I am quite fortunate that Caz is similar to me in that respect and we like to have our own ‘me’ time.
Anyways I digress.
I was super scared about going into the Prison. As I walked towards the entrance with the rain pouring down I got the sense of being watched and studied. I know we all are to a certain extend but because I was aware of the level of CCTV involved (there were quite a few signs in the reception area informing everyone of the level of Big Brother is watching feels.) it seemed magnified.
I got to the desk, they asked who I was in here to see. I told them A.R’s name and they asked me to spell it … which was hard cause not only could I pronounce it I couldn’t even remember how to spell it. (I’m dyslexic so even on the best of days I’m not the best speller.)
I felt flustered, embarrassed. I know they were looking at me like I was some kind of moron that couldn’t spell… which to be frank I am. Ahaha.
But another reason behind the worry was because of the stigma I felt for going to the prison in the first place. Which I am annoyed at myself about. I wanted to go because I had never been to a prison before… and I was more curious than anything. Until I got into the building then I felt scared. Why was I scared though? Why was I nervous?
Because it was a Prison? Or because I was in a building full of dangerous criminals? Are they even dangerous? Should I have felt scared? Or was it because I was trapped in a building?
All these things were running through my mind. I know logically speaking people are in jail for a reason, some utterly evil and some not so, but should that mean this prejudice from me should be warranted?
What am I trying to say?
I have no idea ahaha. What I am basically trying to put across was my fear of being in place because of folk I have never met before is narrow-minded and prejudice of me. And I did not like it, being prejudice that is.
I don’t like being a hypocrite and I find my confusing feelings make me one which is frustrating.
Sometimes you can’t help how you feel through how you were raised, or experiences you’ve had that can push your judgement into the negative bit but you can choose how you RE-act and broaden yourself.
Thats how I feel anyways.
A.R is a lovely person. A.R has never treated me wrong, and has always been a honest and good friend to me. I won’t speak to A.R everyday (one because I can’t now, and before I just didn’t through life.) but I do want A.R to be ok.
My confused feelings aside. The experience of my first trip to a prison was quite regimented and an eye opener.
GET THE LOOK
So I’ll take yous back to the beginning, when I stepped into the reception.
After I gave the reception guy A.R’s name I had to show them two forms of identifications – one of which had to have picture ID. They then gave me a locker key with a number on it.
Which I was confused about…I just looked at him with a question mark. He then pointed to one of the many signs in the area and said I wasn’t allowed to take anything in with me, no mobile phones, jacket, hat or anything. Apart from loose change.
I wondered why loose change was allowed.
Anyways after I shoved all my stuff into one of the small lockers I was then lead into a waiting room that had what looked like a metal detecter in them.
I wasn’t sure whether I had to walk through that when I got in or on the way out? So to save embarrassment I just sat down on a metal bench far away from folk.
Not because I wanted to be rude, but because I had no idea what to say or where to go.
I saw a few families come in and I began to wonder if bringing your kids to a Prison is a good thing or not. But then as soon as that thought came into my head it was met with a balancing argument. There is a belief that your dad is your dad, for good or for worse he is what he is and he has a right to keep in contact with his kids.
Which I am big believer in. Initially I was a taken aback seeing kids in a Prison but then I was like well makes sense. He can’t go out to see them so they have to go to him. And I thought it was nice the mothers/aunties/grannies or whoever took them, enabled them to see their dads.
Who am I to judge? I haven’t been in this situation so I have no clue how I would react or act. Frankly after my own quite negative experience with having a dad if my future baby-daddy did end up in prison I probably would take our kids to see him because I would be genuinely happy he wanted to see them at all.
Through talking to A.R I understand how hard it can be to get out of that cycle of crime and punishment. If no one gives you a chance to improve yourself or get a stable job how are you able to survive? People have done it and I applaud them, for those that haven’t?
I can’t speak for everyone but for A.R I just feel worried and slightly hopeful. I am worried for A.R but I also know that A.R is a good person. And when you are good person you do eventually get good things.
Not right away, and not when you feel like you need it.
But I hope it’ll happen. Do I know it? No sadly I can’t say I know it. But I can hope.
After being in the waiting room, a man came to the other door and called out numbers. At first I was confused… when did we get allocated numbers!? how do people know their number? I soon realised that our numbers being called out was connected to our locker keys!
My locker was called out, I went to a stairway. Waited in the stairway until everyone was called in order. We were then lead across a small corridor to another door where we were searched and asked to open our mouths so they could look under our tongues.
I then realised why we were allowed to bring loose change… there were vending machines there and you could get coffees and teas!
I wished I realised is sooner cause then I could’ve gotten A.R something extra for him. The room had vending machines and tables with one seat and across the table there was three seats attached together. Even our tables were allocated!
Aside from being in Prison A.R and I chatted like we used to when we’d meet up for coffees.
It was a nice catch up and I look forward to the day A.R is out of Prison.
Have you guys ever been to a Prison to visit someone? How have you felt?