Download The Book That Saved My Life PDF

TitleThe Book That Saved My Life
TagsPsychology & Cognitive Science Prison
File Size4.9 MB
Total Pages52
Document Text Contents
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Page 26

An English PEN book / Readers & Writers

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One of the more positive things about all this is that I finally found love.

Yes, it can be found in the strangest and harshest of places. The interesting thing

about this for me was the level of acceptance of our relationship. Even though

prison staff cannot condone relationships between prisoners, they certainly did

nothing to hinder ours, even making sure that I was emotionally supported when my

partner transferred to another location. And my fellow inmates were all the more

supportive. During the whole of the time my partner and I were in the same prison

I cannot remember a single homophobic comment or remark coming from anyone.

Those who did not agree with homosexuality were able to keep their opinions to

themselves while still recognising our value as individual human beings.

Some two and a half years of distance has quelled our relationship, but I feel

we are still being supported by fellow prisoners and prison staff (the latter

offer their support by simply not making things like letter writing between us

difficult). I have now faced my family with my sexuality, thanks largely to the

confidence I built up on the landings and I am happy to report that there were

no negative repercussions, though they struggled to understand why I felt that

I couldn’t have told them sooner.

It is a huge testament to the staff and the prisoners that I have met along

my journey that I was able to finally find some self-acceptance and to begin

to live the life that I have wanted so many years – I have finally found my

freedom. With the level of homophobic hate crime on the rise in society,

it would be interesting to collect some figures from the prison service about

the levels of hate crime in our small individual prison communities. I’m willing

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WHAT IS FREEDOM? HAVE I EVER BEEN

FREE? THE ANSWERS TO THESE TWO SIMPLE

QUESTIONS ARE OBVIOUS, RIGHT?

Ian H., HMP Wakefield

The Book That Saved My Life

to bet that they will be smaller in comparison, which is no small feat given

the way that different personalities and characters and forced to share such

close quarters in prison. Perhaps if society as a whole were encouraged to be

as aware of the diversity of their communities as prisoners are, the levels of

crime in general may fall?

Freedom, for me, came in the form of releasing myself from my self-imposed

mental chains. The next step is physical freedom and I am now looking forward

to being released and not just experiencing a whole new life, but doing so with

acceptance that I would have had all along if I’d opened up in the first place.

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