Over the coming weeks we will develop our concept of Prehabilitation in conversation with those we feel may be in a position to support our vision.
It’s reading short diary excerpts like the one below which fuel our desire to see changes take place. Many of those changes need to be in attitude initially but also in practical and compassionate terms moving forward otherwise we all accept defeat is inevitable.
First Time Inside is in reality only a staging post on the road to a greater level of impact through our concept of prehabilitation and we look forward to sharing that positive vision in the coming weeks. Collectively, working together, developing strategies based on partnership and sharing ownership of a myriad of issues we can make a difference to peoples lives. In the meantime read the short diary excerpt below and try to accept, however far away your own circumstances are currently are, that there but for the grace of your belief system goes each and every one of us. That acceptance and realisation, borne out of humility and sense of selflessness, can create a genuine platform for improvement.
“Returned to my cell earlier today to find an envelope had been slipped under my door which contained paperwork to apply for Home Detention Curfew (HDC). I couldn’t have filled it any quicker. In my head I was writing so fast I could hear a crazy Benny Hill type tune in my head where the world was moving at a 100mph. This day has been at the core of my survival strategy in here for the past few months and the wait for a decision I suspect will now prove to be another form of torture in this god forsaken place.
I had a strange thought process earlier when I was alone and contemplating the possible outcomes of my HDC application. My desperation for a successful application is overwhelming but today I actually allowed myself to contemplate a failed application for the first time and my reaction shocked me. You see I have adopted a strategy (in many ways like my life outside of here) of compliance, of courtesy and well mannered civility up until now in this factory of human soul destruction. Kindness to others, even in here, cannot be a strategy of failure surely but today I felt something else for the first time, I entertained the thought of a failed application and saw my mindset evaporate almost like I was watching a movie about myself on TV.
Failure to be granted HDC would be shattering. My mind took me on a journey this afternoon of what non compliance would cause, of what failing to show courtesy would look like and what being obtuse or rude to staff would result in. The answer scared me because in reality nothing significant would really change. My survival strategy is simply that a survival technique. A way of tricking my mind into believing that I am in some way in control of my life in here, that I have options and that life can still be good. Black thoughts invaded my mind today and the potential for a rejection of HDC opened my eyes to the possibility that this place could break me in a way I never imagined. I could actually imagine, for however short a time, an environment where my behaviour would degenerate to the levels I’m surrounded by everyday and work so tirelessly to avoid each and every day.
In some way I can’t describe I felt myself on the verge of surrender.
I could feel my motivation for moving forward, of accepting my current situation for what it is and my survival strategies give way to a sense of desolate sadness where light was extinguished and reasons for fighting on where impossible to recognise. Tears stung my eyes making it almost impossible to focus on the paperwork in front of me.
This place doesn’t feel to be about rehabilitation or reintegration it doesn’t seem to offer substantive help it’s just about housing some people for varying lengths of time and throwing them back to the world from where they came. In what world does fattening someone up, giving them a dry bed and failing to deal with their core issues benefit society? As I said it’s been a dark day but tonight I was reminded why I will get through this when my family walked into the visitor centre to see me. Their pain is etched on their faces, even though they all make a remarkably brave effort to hide it, but their willing to come here at every opportunity for me is all I need to carry on. And of course they were lifted by the news of the HDC application and I shared, in conversation, their optimism however desperately difficult for that short period but as I sit here staring at their photographs another day drawing to an end I’m reminded that unlike so many in here I have so much to live for. In reality I don’t think I really forgot that but for a couple of hours I encountered something I’d rather not experience again.
It did make me think though how easy it would be to kneel and accept life doesn’t get better, I see it all around me everyday and it breaks my heart knowing that others will not find opportunities to change their lives whilst here or when they leave here.
I’ll revert to what I know again in the hope that it continues to give me the strength to carry on as it always has. For now I’ll repeat this in my head until it sticks again…God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
So for the time being, it’s back to killing with kindness and wearing a cloak of optimism. It’s back to letting my emotions fuel my actions, not control them and it’s back to the treehouse for some sleep.”
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