Another edited excerpt from the diary of a first-time offender confronted with prison, written approx. 24 hours after being sentenced.
You’ll see in future extracts that the author jumps back and forward in time dealing with different subjects but you’ll also hopefully get a feel for the mindset at any given time.
I’ve just been sentenced and looked back into the gallery to see the shock and sadness on my family’s face as I’m led to the holding cells below the courtroom. To say life changed dramatically at that point is massively understating the impact of being found guilty. The pain etched on their faces will live with me until the day I die, the fact that they are now suffering pain as a result of my actions and knowing that I am now at that moment unable to help them in any way is devastating for us all.
30 seconds later I am beneath the court, being asked “Do you know what’s just happened?” and being placed in a cell. I no longer have control of any aspect of my life. I awoke in my own bed this morning my mobile phone, my wallet and my car keys all lying on the bedside table. I no longer have any of those personal items and that feels strangely debilitating.
I’m going to prison, a place I have driven by a thousand times before without contemplating this turn of events, and I know that I am a 15 minute drive away from the most daunting experience of my life. It’s worth referencing the 15 minutes because from being sat on a bus, in a tiny cubicle, to disembarking at prison took almost two hours. I have no idea why, maybe we arrived at staff lunchtime or maybe that’s just the way it is but it sure doesn’t help the heart rate at all. Watching the world go by out that little bus window was surreal and then sitting stationary for what seemed like forever with only a grey wall to look at was overwhelming.
Left the bus and sat in a room with 7 other convicted people for an hour or so all of whom want to know who you are and why you are here. Received a sandwich and a bottle of water. They process people one by one and as luck would have it, I was last. I was escorted to a desk and asked “Do you know why you’re are here?” “Do you need protection?” “Do you have any enemies in here?” In a blur I am moved to be another area to be strip searched, medically examined, drug tested and then placed in another room for a period of time, it seemed like ages but by now the feelings of isolation are too intense to focus. I feel like I’ve signed a million forms but can’t remember why.
Then I’m escorted to my wing, my cell and my life for the duration of my time here. My door is locked, I’m alone and the feelings of desolation wash over me like a tsunami. I have no feelings of feeling sorry for myself, I have reconciled myself that this is my own fault, but for this evening darkness and disorientation are breath taking. I’m hoping this is the worst day of my life.
Sharing experiences and feelings require great personal courage and the motivation of all submissions here is to help someone else further down the road.
We hope that these extracts and our service provision make experiences like these a little less traumatic.
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