Welcome to the latest news section of First Time Inside and the home of our popular Blog.
Our blog highlighting the experience of colliding with the Scottish Justice System has become increasingly popular seeing engagement across the world and being republished in Australia most recently.
Released reguarly via Social Media the blog has created a welcome role for First Time Inside in a Scottish Justice Context and aided the introduction of prehabilitation in a similar context

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Truth & Trust

Over the course of the past few weeks I have taken genuine interest in the video and written testimony of some of those choosing to share their personal anxieties arising directly from the current Covid19 crisis. Not at all from a voyeuristic vantage point but more from a virtual reach out perspective, perhaps even searching

Prison Visitor Centre Updates

Following a request from Tess Hamilton, Service Manager at Cyrenians we are delighted to share their visitor centre updates times and information for them at First Time Inside. Visitor Centre Updates: Prison Visitor Centre Contact details Opening Hours HMP Addiewell Cyrenians Tel: 07522907329 [email protected]  Tuesday – Sunday 12.30pm – 4.30pm HMP Barlinnie The Croft Tel:

Community Justice, Katie?

What makes a concept great? A worthy question for isolation Day Three. There are so many influential factors but the first and perhaps most obvious is does it or will it add value to a market or industry sector. That may seem a rather off piste way to start this particular conversation today, on a

Lived Experience

Lived experience – aside from being society’s dismally constructed and unimaginative label – is a discount code. It is the box – rather ironically – prior to clicking on pay now which when filled reduces the cost of your online purchase. It is the restricted view seat at a sporting or entertainment event. It is


I hear people refer to those in prison as being institutionalised and wonder if they ever pause to look in the mirror or reflect on their own attitude affirming surroundings whilst they offer opinions or attempt to influence outcomes. My own experience suggests to me that there tends to be two extremes of opinion relating

Hope and Aspiration

Kindness is contagious and the process of sharing that contagion is so intrinsically simple it’s sad that the world is not permanently aglow with unbridled humanity. At this time of year the idea of kindness seems easier to raise because many of us associate it with Christmas and the “season of goodwill”. I like the

Alexa play Mott

The reaction to last weeks blog was fantastic, if not a little overwhelming, in a positive sense and it is perhaps a good time to step back and focus on the diary excerpts of a First Time prisoner this week and return next week with some rather exciting developmental news. Both here on Twitter and

Trauma and Progress

Part of the beauty of being new to an area of work is the enthusiastic inquisitiveness that automatically engages in your brain when you are stimulated by the environment you find yourself in. That this same thirst for knowledge would engage when experiencing trauma within HMP Hotel & Spa was not a complete surprise to

Squaring the Circle

Squaring the circle or engaging with the unholy trinity? Today represents a small milestone on the journey of First Time Inside because today feels, in many ways, like we have indeed squared a specific circle and a route map is clear to assist this modern geometer – entwined in justice conundrums – to successfully construct

Prison Pack Scotland

As I press forward with the new development phase of Prison Pack Scotland I must stop and say a sincere thank you to all of the people who have welcomed not only me but my ideas into the justice arena here in Scotland, without their encouragement and engagement I would never have reached the point

Twas the night before Xmas

As we embark on the development of Prison Pack whilst also discussing Prehabilitation and we take great pride in the levels of support and encouragement we have received it seemed appropriate to share this particular diary excerpt for this weeks reading pleasure. It also seemed, given the doubts and concerns, displayed below to offer a

Life is a rollercoaster

When I started this First Time Inside journey I never for one second imagined the rollercoaster of inspiration and challenge it would present. When I reflect on the journey to date I feel privileged that I have been able to meet with so many wonderful people in such a short space of time and irrespective

She’s a Belter

In a week where we have started a small discussion around our complimentary concept of Prison Pack the diary excerpt below seemed an appropriate accompaniment to our positive week. With various law firms making a range of encouraging noises in regard to the future development of Prison Pack, not to mention the wonderful support received

Must do better!

For those that do not already know, First Time Inside was born out of one persons experience of the Scottish Justice system. In today’s blog diary excerpt a first time offender, whilst resident in a Scottish prison, reflects on elements of a prison experience that could be categorised as both intimidating and bullying in nature.

Meeting CJSW

Today’s blog is almost entirely taken up with a diary excerpt which focusses on one persons reflection on their own personal experience of meeting with a Criminal Justice Social Worker. It’s clear that the event was a stressful experience in the persons life and the tale is told to his diary from the discomfort of

Treehouses and Prehabilitation

A valued friend of mine recently commented that the idea or concept of Prehabilitation within the justice system could get lost – before even getting started –  in the bigger political drive for Rehabilitation and Reintegration, further suggesting that post-release support seems to be gathering the most support these days. In what I considered, at the

Moving forward

First Time Inside has always been viewed as or even dreamed of, by ourselves, as simply the first step on a road that would lead to a discussion not only on the compassion gap that exists in the Scottish Justice system but also about the creation of a prehabilitative pathway in Scottish Justice. These past

Summer Break Update

As I approach a summer break, two weeks away from Blogging, meetings and new connections, I can reflect on the development of First Time Inside (FTI) to date and the small challenges met along the way these past few months. It is also an opportunity to add a little personal flavour to the blog as

Isolation & Prehabilitation

Todays diary excerpt looks at Isolation and the mental challenge it presented to one first time prisoner and we have added a couple of updates on our wider activity. As mentioned last week we have taken the decision to seek advertising/sponsor support to help develop the project of First Time Inside and the additions of

A review with a bit of Abba

As we start another week here on Planet FTI we take a moment to pause and reflect on the previous seven days which represented a very positive week for us, particularly in our quest for sector awareness. We also reflect, in our diary excerpt below, on a first time prisoners experience of spending his first

Twas the night before Xmas

We have chosen to use this specific diary excerpt today, not because it is the final entry written within the prison walls but because it reflects, to a certain extent, where First Time Inside is now on the journey to making a positive contribution within the justice network. The concept has been widely and positively

A Day in the life of Ivan Depressovich

Todays diary excerpt shows the rollercoaster of emotions someone can experience in a single day in prison or as the author would tell us rather cheekily HMP Happy Days. The author also suggested todays headline just in case anyone felt it a little naughty. This is our second blog post this week and we have

It all started with A Wee Idea

Over the past two and a half  months or so First Time Inside has engaged with, what we rightly or wrongly refer to as the justice network in Scotland, at a variety of levels. The primary goal, if I am bluntly honest, was to ascertain whether or not there exists an opportunity for this project

Mind in a Spin

When First Time Inside was formed in my head it had fairly modest goals. The idea was to utilise the experience of myself and others to make the horror of going to prison a little less traumatic for others where possible through talking to them and sharing lived experience. In addition I thought it would

Unlike Bob, I love Mondays.

At times I question the sanity of what I am doing developing the project that is First Time Inside. I mean why would anyone in their right mind choose to relive or discuss the most abhorrent experience of their lives every day, wouldn’t it be better for them from a health perspective to simply move

Are visitors really inmates too?

The positive response to our Blog has been really encouraging and we are currently considering a number of ways to add to it’s impact and style of delivery. If the messages within the blog offer insight to anyone in the justice network provoking a positive reaction then we will have achieved a little part of

Let Emotion Fuel Your Actions.

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

Prehabilitation (amended)

Let’s start talking about Prehabilitation! At First Time Inside we have a vision based on our own concept of Prehabilitation. If you are on Twitter you will over time come across conversation and updates by utilising the hashtag. #ftiprehab The medical profession have long since identified the health benefits of prehabilitation for patients facing surgeries,

Nobody should be sent to prison on a Friday.

Today we have included an excerpt from a first time prisoners diary, below, which reflects on their early days in prison and the emotions surrounding them. As we engage on a greater level with legal representatives and third party partners we are becoming more determined than we were, even at the outset, to change things

Too lazy? (Part 4 – The End).

Is it laziness or have we just given up? Or is just that we need a right good shake? On todays blog we have reverted to including an excerpt from a first time prisoners diary which highlights a little of the mental battle presented to anyone who enters prison and also the effect that exposure

Too Lazy (Part 3) – Don’t Ignore the Red Flag

We are letting people down every day of every week and really there is no excuse for it. A little pre-Easter flashback to previous posts combined with a little opinion sharing. “My story, in terms of this element of First Time Inside, began when listening to a Sheriff tell me (without looking at me) that

Too lazy part 2 / The sales pitch

It’s funny how events conspire to produce an outcome which on first sight seems totally unexpected or at the very least not previously considered consciously. If I asked you, do know or have you heard of – Super Yes – what would be your reply? Not many have identified Super Yes – as a thing

Isolation is a lottery win

There are days in Prison when circumstances command a change in routine. Today, in the short excerpt from a prisoners diary, we see the surprising relief , even pleasure, taken in being locked up alone when those days occur. “There was staff training today and we were all confined to our cells alone for the

Happy Days in HMP Hotel & Spa

This is going to be a challenge but as it is the end of a positive week for First Time Inside I thought I’d share some of the more positive elements of an experience inside one of Her Majesty’s quaint little guest houses, perhaps in a slightly irreverent manner. Anyway here goes nothing. Friday has

Too lazy to change?

Or do we just not care? My story, in terms of this element of First Time Inside, began when listening to a Sheriff tell me (without looking at me) that I would be returning to court a month later for sentencing. She also added, although she directed it towards my solicitor, that he should be

The Erosion of Self-Respect

We accept that the prose may not be perfect but when writing stirs such a torrent of emotion in the author we respect their right to miss a punctuation mark or two here and there, we also admire the strength of character it takes to share any personal experience in this way. You’ll understand the

Hypervigiliance and Fine Balance

Vigilance – the action or state of keeping careful, watch for possible danger or difficulties. Hyper Vigilance – is an enhanced state of sensory sensitivity accompanied by an exaggerated intensity of behaviours whose purpose is to detect activity. Hypervigilance may bring about a state of increased anxiety which can cause exhaustion. “Hypervigilance is a state of

One to One

We have taken this opportunity to offer a fresh insight into some of the topics discussed during our initial One to One chats with clients facing the possibility of prison for the first time. Our aim is to try and remove elements of surprise or simple sources of stress at will be a highly stressful

Chaos or Tranquility?

We have included another extract from a First Time Prisoners diary today and we feel the content speaks for itself really. Prison can be a lonely, intimidating place with strength of will being your only friend. This extract was written approximately three months after being sent to prison for the first time. Operating on the

Sharing is Caring

Over the course of the past few weeks we have been taken by the amount of people with their own stories to tell about their experiences of being in contact with the prison system both from an incarceration perspective and also from a professional viewpoint. Through social media and in meetings we have also became

A Paper Bag in a Rainstorm

“When I was sentenced to go to prison I had no idea what lay in front of me other than I knew in my heart I was going to hate it. I asked my solicitors if they had any advice or guidance leading up to my appearing in court and they simply said “keep your

Second Class Citizen

  Another excerpt from the diary of a first time offender who reflects on his feelings about coming into contact with the justice system for the first time. “After appearing at the Sheriff Court and pleading guilty to the charges against me I was sent away to return for sentencing around a month or so

Seminar and Workshops

Seminar Preparations Taking Shape. FirstTimeInside.co.uk are delighted to confirm we are in the process of building a seminar aimed at delivering a dynamic service related message to those solicitors tasked with representing clients in criminal courts across Scotland. We will be in a position to confirm a date and an appropriate venue, for this initial

No Toilet Seat to Rest My Cheeks

This week has seen @FirstTimeInside reach out for the first time to the legal community to highlight primarily the existence of our new services aimed at assisting those offenders facing the possibility of prison for the first time. We are delighted by not only the level of engagement we have encountered but by the quality

Do you know why you are here?

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

Early days in Prison

Adjusting to prison life for the first time is quite an ordeal for anyone and as you can see from this brief extract from a fairly in-depth Q&A with an ex-offender below there are some dark moments along the way. What was the most difficult thing to deal with on your first few days in

Delivering a Stiffy

What is a Stiffy? Well, when you receive a “Stiffy” from your lawyer it usually costs you money. That said the message does normally arrive by post, on expensive letterhead and with legal prose included all of which help determine the value to some extent. The prison version of a “Stiffy” is usually transported from

Diary of a First Time Offender

Going to prison for the first time is overwhelming , through the process of losing control of your life to the language used in the environment all of it can be stressful not to mention downright intimidating. Below is an excerpt, taken (with permission) from a diarised account, of a first time offenders own experience


Within our Blog area we will share news items we feel are relevant to those who may be facing prison for the first time and share personal experiences or thoughts from those who have been through the system as a first-time offender. Prison unwittingly inspires people to explore themselves and to pass time in ways

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