Interview 26/05/2016 0:09.0 – 1:16.0 M: All right, well I think we met in 2014, it was quite early in 2014, so you know what’s happened since then? Er…2014. Let me think now. I was out on license then and it was a very long license which still hasn’t ended. The license ends in January 2017 and the license restrictions were very strict, and as a result I found eventually it was unbearable. My life didn’t feel……I was extremely socially isolated, I was being very harshly interrogated by the police and social workers all the time, weekly, more than once a week, and I clearly have no family so I had no friends, nobody to back me up so I felt very, very lonely. I told the social workers that and they were completely unsympathetic, and I said eventually that I just want to go back to prison and Barlinnie felt like a better environment than being outside. 1:16.0 – 3:00.0 M: Oh really. Yeah, it did, I was genuine about that and I still feel that way. So how it happened was, I got a computer which I knew was a breach of my license, I’d no intention of re-offending, I used it mainly for making music, I was a musician in the past and I did a lot of that, just on my own, just playing in the flat I was in, that kind of thing and eventually…how I was breached, it was in late 2014, so not that long after you saw me, so I’d been out 20 months? Somebody in the local council, still don’t know who it was, got hold of the list of registered sex offenders in the area and started leaking the names to the local paper. Mine was the first on the list, I found they’d got a picture, a photographer found me somehow when I was out for a walk, took a picture of me, just out there in the street and it was put on the front page of the paper and then it was on…the next day it was put in a national paper in Scotland, so there it was…all it was saying was that “We don’t want this kind of person living here…why…you know, I’ve got to live somewhere but they weren’t alleging that I’d done any more offending, they just didn’t want me there, so just ‘get me out’. So the…police had to take me out of the flat straight away and find me some emergency accommodation. 3:00.0 – 3:53.0 M: Right, that can’t be easy if you’ve just been on the front page of the national paper. No, no. They took me to Greenock which is up in the north and put me in a hostel and it was then during that process they found my computer and I was arrested and brought straight back to prison which wasn’t the end of the world at all, I didn’t feel that way, I just thought…”Okay, that’s fine…” And I’ve been there since/ here since [laughs]. M: And you’ll be here until January 2017? Yeah, January 2017 is my release date, so I’m just sitting around waiting for that to happen. Then I don’t quite know what’s going to happen, because like I say I have no family so I really don’t have anywhere in particular to go. When I was brought to prison, I lost everything I owned that was in the flat, all my lifelong possessions were in there and that was it, they’re all gone so everything I have is in here in prison, which is just the contents of a cell [laughs]. It makes it easy to move, you know? I don’t have anything. [laughing] 3:53.0 – 4:49.0 M: That’s what you said last time, that if it weren’t for your posessions, you’d probably rather be in prison, so that’s what happened. Yes. So in many respects I’m quite happy with the way things have turned out, certainly I’ve had a much better time inside here that I was having when I met you, a much better time. So not for a single moment have I regretted being put inside which…because I know full well that’s a terrible, terrible thing to say. I shouldn’t/ Barlinnie is not meant to be preferable to the outside. I am worried because they may put me back on the license again, another license, they’re allowed to do that, they’re allowed to do whatever they like really and it may be just as bad as before. It could be for a couple of years, they could do that so… I don’t know yet, we’ll have to wait and see. That won’t be easy if they do that, I’ll try and cope with it better, but we’ll see. So really that’s all that’s really happened since. It’s not been a lot because most of it’s been in here. 4:49.0 – 5:50.0 M: And last time you actually said that you didn’t like Barlinnie, that Barlinnie was the worst prison. It IS the worst prison. It definitely is. But it’s still better than being out on license. At the point I’d spoken to you, I’d already told the police and social workers that I wanted to be back in prison. I actually told them that in an interview. M: So was that not enough for them to take you back to prison? No, no. They can’t just take you to prison when you ask, you have to breach your license, so I did that deliberately, and at some point they would find out and I would go in, so I thought I might as well enjoy it while I’m doing it, so I made music, went online, that kind of thing, didn’t do any offending, but it was just purely to get myself…well, to get me back in here and also to do something constructive, like making music was such a lot of fun, I had a guitar, I learned to play the recorder, it was such fun! [laughing] Because I didn’t have much else to do. I joined a little ramblers group, managed to do that, and that was about the only social activity that I found that was acceptable. 5:50.0 – 6:35.0 M: You were talking about that at the time, [inaudible] and it was too expensive. Yes, there were some problems, but it did turn out to be OK, that was fine. M: So you went a few more times then? I did, I think I joined a different group, there was one that was further away, that was a bit expensive, but then the closer one, that was very close to home and I joined that one, so that was fine. Because the problem for all of us here, sex offenders, is disclosing to people that you make friends with. It’s difficult. They can just look me up on Google and find details about me, you know, what do I tell them? It’s not an easy one to solve and I’ve not met anyone yet who has an easy answer to that. It’s a challenge I’ve got to face. 6:35.0 – 7:11.0 M: Did you make any friends in that group? Kind of…just through the group, we didn’t do anything outside the group and it wasn’t really for very long anyway, just for two or three months before I was arrested, but it was good, because it was about once a week and that was about the only social activity I had, I valued it a lot. It was good. So I don’t have that much to report because nothing really astonishing has happened in my life because since I’ve come to Barlinnie, that’s what, eighteen months ago? Not a lot’s happened, sitting in my cell, going to education, and that’s it really, there’s nothing else to do in here, that’s it. 7:11.0 – 9:05.0 M: Have you met anyone in here? Oh yeah, I’ve met lots of nice people, I’ve met lots of very nice people. None of the staff [laughs], but lots of nice people who are offenders. There’s one man who was very friendly, he’d been a…like a choirmaster. He’d made recordings and won Grammys apparently, so he was internationally known and he was very well educated, gone to private school, all the rest, we became good friends, he was in for about six months and then he left, and he arranged to/ for someone to be my pen friend after it. It hasn’t worked out because I think the person who’s written to me was not really prepared to be writing to a sex offender, I think it was a bit shocking to her so she hasn’t written back [laughs]. But it was clearly good intentions on his part, and he kept/ he could have just forgotten me entirely. 9:05.0 – 9:19.0 M: Has he stayed in touch or is that not something… He’s not allowed to, not directly, not until his license finishes, I’m not even sure if it’s possible after that. His license doesn’t finish until, I think about September. M: So you can’t even be friends with the people you knew in here. Asolutely not, that’s utterly forbidden. But you meet nice people in here, I know some nice people right now. You know…they seem to be perfectly civilised, you know? [laughs] I have a good conversation with them, so it is…it’s nice. M: So you said you’d been to education… Yes, yeah. It keeps me reasonably busy, that’s five mornings a week and a couple of afternoons, I would have been there this afternoon. It’s all right, it’s not great, one of the projects I’m involved in is the prison magazine which they were supposedly getting together. This was a year ago, it started and it’s basically just run into the ground. Nothing seems to be happening. I don’t know what’s going…I mean this is Barlinnie, this kind of things generally don’t happen in Barlinnie, it’s not a place where innovation is fostered, it’s a place where they say “We’ve always done it this way, we’ll always do it this way”, that’s it really so don’t expect anything else. I don’t know if you’re aware but this week the prison is being inspected… 9:19.0 – 10:13.0 M: Really? Oh yeah, yeah. Big week for the prison, we can see things happening. For example in one of the lessons yesterday in which generally the tutor is pretty much….doesn’t pay much attention to the work and clearly doesn’t care a great deal, yesterday there was an inspector in and amazingly all the work was on the desks when we came in, everything ran perfectly, like clockwork. Wow. M: Different, yeah. Very, very different to how the normal lessons are because there’s an inspector in. So…things change this week and then… M: Go back to normal. Yeah, we’re all a bit cynical about that. That’s how it is, but it happens about every five or six years, one of the big, it’ll be published, it’ll be online, it’s a big thing, in the news I’m sure. Because I’m sure they’ll find things which are quite shocking, they’re bound to, they’ll uncover things so it’s interesting…so let’s see if anything changes. 10:13.0 – 11:09.0 M: So you’re doing classes then? Yeah, creative writing, I’m teaching myself different forms of poetry, I’ve never really done much of that at all, and we’ve got some good tutors here, the creative writing tutors are excellent, they really do push the various competitions, things like that, contests, so it’s good, that is good. There’s modern studies where we’ve got pretty…a very political teacher who’s quite left wing so he teaches us all about what the Trade Unions are doing, about European elections, he’s good, we have a very good discussion, we have quite heated discussions sometimes, that’s good. There’s maths as well, I was about to do a maths higher as an exam, but I changed my mind, I thought I’d do something else, I went through the text book so that was good, I can do Calculus now which I couldn’t do before so that was worthwhile. And what else is there…History. I did History before, that was good. 11:09.0 – 12:00.0 M: So there’s quite a few courses that aren’t about basic literacy. Oh yeah, it’s not too bad, they’ve upgraded it, it used to be very poor, especially for E-hall, the wing for protection… M: And it’s all separate so you don’t have any classes together. Never any contact with the mainstream but now there’s a special education, brand new wing…well, two years ago. M: [inaudible] Yes, there’s that so that’s good. M:[inaudible] Oh yes, that’s right, yes, yes, yes. It’s good, yeah. So I keep busy, I’ve got a nice cell mate, he’s friendly, can’t ask for anything else, he’s a nice man. It’s always a worry because there are very few single cells here so it’s always a worry about what kind of cellmate you get because they could be friendly or they could be a nightmare, they could be dreadful, they could be wanting to have the TV on all night. He doesn’t, it’s fine. I’m very happy with him. 12:00.0 – 13:00.0 M: And then he might move out and you might get someone else. Yeah, it looks like…I’m hoping that he’ll be there until I leave, because he’s out later so I hope that he’s…he’s the first cellmate for some reason that I’ve been able to be open and honest with about my actual offence. This is what [inaudible] is, that little…I mentioned this to that woman at Oxford University, that one of the surprising things in a protection wing which I found in other prisons as well actually, being inside, is that sex offenders do not talk about their own offences. It is just not a topic of conversation at all. And nobody ever admits to a contact offence. They’ll admit to downloading if you push them, really hard and you know them really well, they’ll admit to downloading but nobody ever admits to a contact offence, it’s always “It’s all rubbish, they’re lying, it never happened…” They’ll make every excuse…”Really? Everyone in here’s innocent apart from me?” You know? 13:00.0 – 14:19.0 M: But you also only admit downloading, so they are exactly like you then. Sorry? M: [inaudible] Yes, it’s my offence so I admit it openly. Actually people don’t like that, because I think it makes them feel a bit like…”How dare you break this code?” It’s like a prisoner code which isn’t…it’s completely unspoken, you just do not admit to a sex offence. I suspect if you go into the mainstream halls, they’ll be boasting about it, you know, “I burgled 150 houses in three weeks” or something, or you know, “I was a drug dealer for three years and I got away with it”…they’ll be boasting. There’s no boasting here. There’s no boasting at all. M: That topic just doesn’t come up. Well, you don’t admit to it. You might want to discuss it in general but it’s all kind of “Oh, people are always lying about it…I’ve got my appeal coming up…” Well, they often say that they have an appeal. It’s always somebody else’s fault and nobody ever admits it. It’s quite depressing actually, those kind of conversations and you think “Ooooh, come on. Just admit it. It would be better for everybody all round, I’d respect you more if you just admitted it.” But I think it’s because of the stigma that surrounds it so much, it permeates through to core of everybody here, that they do not want to admit that kind of offence. 14:19.0 – 15:11.0 M: So is it true that when you came back in…in November… November 2014, yes. M: That’s going be more than two years before you get out. Two years and two months. M: But it’s kind of longer that you’ll be in for owning a computer than for the actual first offence… Oh yes, I will be. M: How does that make you feel? Well, it doesn’t make any sense at all. That’s the way that Britain is at the moment, I think it’s absolutely crazy but what can I do about it, you know. There’s no real appeal against it… M: [inaudible] Yes, the Parole Board does allow annual reviews where you can have an oral hearing and asked to be released, and give all the reasons why you should, and first of all I don’t particularly want to because I’d just be back on license again, and secondly I know that there’s not the slightest chance that they would…no way at all that they would even entertain it for a second, to allow me out. 15:11.0 – 17:05.0 M: Why not? Well, I got an appalling report and this is my own stupid fault. When I was first brought back in, well about a month later, the social workers from outside with whom I’d had an appalingly bad relationship with, which was initially something which I’d found so hard, they came in to interview me, if I’d had the slightest sense and hadn’t been so arrogant, I would have just said “I don’t want to speak to you. I have nothing further to say to you. You’ve known me for…however long it was, eighteen months, that’s plenty of time to write your report, there’s nothing further to add.” Instead I tried to argue my case and explain why I couldn’t stand life outside and they were partly responsible, and that life was too tough out there and that’s why I’m inside but I gave all this and then they wrote this appallingly bad report and when I got…because it did end up in court and they tried to get what’s called an OLR, which is an order for life-long restriction. They tried to get me on that, they were SO down on me that my solicitor said that there wasn’t the slightest chance that this could succeed. None whatsoever, my offences are far too small to merit anything like that. I mean my solicitor thought they were out to get me, what’s going on here? The judge didn’t even talk about it. It was just dismissed and it didn’t come up. So thank goodness, I was pleased about that, but it was shocking, so I wrote a complaint against the social workers and there is no real complaint system, it only really goes to their manager, there is no independent appeal. So I got a letter back saying that the social workers behaved perfectly appropriately, as a result of your complaint, we are increasing your risk level. Your perceived risk level has now increased because you made a complaint. 17:05.0 – 18:13.0 M: So what risk level are you now then? Oh, quite high. I forget now, exactly. So that itself is an indictment of social work, when I think…it’s in all the news at the moment, about this one particular area of social work…because a child died or something and I thought “Well, yeah, the social workers aren’t accountable.” There’s nothing, there’s no higher authority saying you must be transparent and you have to abide by standards and people who are affected by your work can appeal, there isn’t anything. There’s nothing at all. You just have to abide by it, not just being in prison but people outside are affected by social work. Obviously not every decision they make is wrong but if they make a bad decision, there is nowhere to go, you just simply have to say “Yes, sir, no sir”. M: And what did this report say that they wrote? Well, it just said that I was completely unmanageable in the community, a very dangerous man…I couldn’t read the whole thing. It was so horrendous and therefore they would recommend an order for lifelong restriction. Ooh…it was shockingly horrible and there was nothing I could do. 18:13.0 – 19:04.0 M: What would they say, that you were on license for the rest of your life? Yes, it would do. So I escaped that, thank goodness. That would have been…I would have felt like staying in prison for the rest of my life. M: Then you don’t know whether you will be on license. It would be a short license, it wouldn’t be for many years, but I’m not sure yet. I’m hoping that if it is, it won’t be as bad as before. So I’ll wait and see. Even if it is, I’ll do my best to cope with it. I’ll try my best to manage it better than I did last time. M: When will you know? Not until a few weeks before I get out, so maybe December, early January. Sometimes your license conditions are finalised only about a day or two before your release. You’ve given a sheet of paper, an A4 sheet and there they are on the list saying “You can’t do this, you can’t do that, you can’t do the other” and that’s it, you have to sign the bottom. That’s how it works. 19:04.0 – 20:55.0 M: Last time I met you, you said you had quite a helpful social worker in the prison. Oh, the prison social worker. That was back in Edinburgh, she was excellent. And she made all these promises, saying “Yes, this list of conditions is terrible, it’s really, really restrictive, I know that. But if you stick to them, within a short time, a few months, they’ll start to ease off and they’ll let you do more things.” So I asked a social worker specifically that, because they were hostile to me, their attitude was hostile from the start, it was very difficult to have any kind of conversation, I could have nothing like this, not a conversation like this and when I asked them, they said “This is not going to happen and if you continue to ask this again, we will breach you, and put you back in prison.” M: [inaudible] Yeah, yeah. Exactly that. I’ve talked to other people and they’ve had similar experiences. M: So who is the person who decides if you have a license, that’s in the prison? No, it’s the parole board, it’s separate, you have no contact with them…they just issue the conditions, you have no…I think it would be far better if you could go and meet them and they could go through the conditions…”We want to put this in because…” And then you can say “Well actually…why? You need to justify this further. I need some evidence before you can put this in.” Because a lot of the conditions are fairly…only very loosely related to your original offending. They just put you in a category, in a box, they say “You’re a sex offender, therefore all of these conditions have to apply, even if they’ve got very little to do with the kind of offence that you committed.” It would be better if they were more targeted, rather than leave you feeling so in despair that you want to go back to prison. That shouldn’t be the aim of the conditions. That’s not going to happen, but I can only wish. 20:55.0 – 22:10.0 M: That’s not going to happen. No, I wish that they would do that, I wish it would change to that. M: And last time you said you wished you had said “I want to go back to my hometown.” Yes, I would have liked to have done that, gone back to England, the north-east but that couldn’t happen. The only way I could have gone there would have been to have got a council flat, because…and the council said they wouldn’t house me because of my offence, private renting would have been acceptable but there’s no way to do it because you need access to the internet to find somewhere when you’re living here and not over there, how else do you physically find one? The social workers were completely unwilling to help with that, they just said “We can’t, that’s it, go away.” So that was it. M: So that’s not going to happen this time? I don’t know. I’ll be having a meeting with somebody in the autumn and I’ll say “I really, really want to go back to north-east England. Is there any reason why I can’t?” I’ll put the ball in their court and ask them to give me a good reason why I can’t go to England because there’s no reason, there’s nothing keeping me in Scotland, I should be…you know, there’s nothing keeping me anywhere. I could go anywhere in Britain really, there’s nothing stopping me, so I’ll see if I can push them to make it happen. 22:10.0 – 23:15.0 M: Right. Make them do some work. M: Do you think that might happen? I don’t know. I know no more than you do, really. The prisoners are kept very much in the dark, as to what they’re allowed to do, what they’re able to do, what their rights are, very much…because you don’t have access to the internet, you don’t have access to a lawyer, you don’t have access to legal books…there’s a set of legal books in the library but they’re kept behind glass and it’s almost impossible to get access to them. Now what I know about U.S prisons, most U.S prisons have law libraries to which prisoners have access, they can go there and sit there all day. They become lawyers themselves, they can take qualifications. And here, it’s like…law? M: I’ve brought some biscuits, I thought we could get some tea. They’re Tunnock’s ones. [laughter] Oh, a big treat for me. Chocolate…I’ve kept away from chocolate for a while, but oh, lovely. That is very kind. Yes. 23:15.0 – 24:27.0 M: You didn’t re-offend under your license conditions, so what does it mean to you, being here now? Chew, chew. Well it just means it’s a place to meet people. It does feel like that. You meet all sorts of people from all sorts of backgrounds. M: Right. Probably more so than in the mainstream wing. Now this is very much the ‘intellectual’ part of the prison. You do meet some very highly educated people sometimes. You know, most of them aren’t but some of them are, you know, this man who I met before, he couldn’t have been more educated, really. You know? And we had all sorts of interesting discussions, so that’s great. You get that kind of thing, and then there’s the education department itself, there’s plenty of fulfilment there, I’ve had poems…not published but printed and I’m hoping eventually one of them will be accepted by Inside Time, I keep sending them, they have a poetry page, so I keep on sending them, I write letters to be published, nothing so far but hopefully…I’ve got one in for next month so… 24:27.0 – 25:53.0 M: Have you tried STIR as well? Yes, I’ve not yet succeeded in having anything in there, but I’m trying, I’m hoping at some point there’ll be something. I think I’ve got something for the next one so I’m hoping there might be something there. It’d be nice to see my name in print. That’d be something lovely. M: So would you rather have freedom or would you rather have this slightly more social life than nothing… Yes, well it’s not freedom. It felt like house arrest, I couldn’t go anywhere, I couldn’t join any kind of clubs apart from the ramblers, but you know, apart from that there was nothing I was allowed to do. I couldn’t join anything, I wasn’t allowed to join an exercise group in the leisure centre, not allowed to enter the leisure centre. I wasn’t allowed to enter the park, even to ride my bike or that kind of thing so…I was pretty much stuck in the flat or just wandered the streets. There was very little else I was allowed to do. So after a year of that it gets a bit wearing, so that’s when I started to feel that I’d rather be at Barlinnie, think about all the people I used to meet, education, all these things and activities, and it felt nostalgic, and that’s a terrible thing! I knew I was thinking…nostalgic? For the worst prison in Scotland? But yeah, I did and I just don’t understand it. I remember what my feelings were like, sat in the flat thinking “What shall I do today?” And I couldn’t think of anything much to do. 25:53.0 – 26:47.0 M: And did you meet anyone who was here when you were last here? Yes, I’ve met a couple people, yes, definitely. I’ve met a couple of people who were here last time. One of them…is he still here…yes, still here. And he was here four years ago when I was here, yes. He’s been out and come back, very similar to me, out on license, downloading offence, he was out on license and he’s come back again on recall. There are a number of people here on recall, I don’t know what the proportion is, but it seems to be a fair number that are here having breached, not reoffended, having breached their license. M: And is it all kinds of sex offending, also adult sex offending. Oh yes, everything. And you’ll find that the hierarchy is, again, I put that in the letter I sent to that lady in Oxford, there is a hierarchy here. The adult sex offenders look down on the child sex offenders which is utterly ridiculous when you think about it. 26:47.0 – 27:31.0 M: They do know about you though. Yes, yes. Because my details were in the paper, some people do know about me. They’ve had the front page sent into them, they’ve said “Oh look, this person is in here, look, here’s his picture as well” so I’ve had people try to bully me, unsuccessfully, but they’ve tried it, in the gym and things like that. They’ve said “You’re a beast, you’ve done this and you’ve done that and the other…” I’ve no idea what they’re in for, I don’t really care. I suspect it must be some adult offence, no idea. And then they try to bully me, but it’s daft really, it’s ridiculous to try and behave like that. I just think we’re all in here together really, we should just try to get along. What’s the point in bullying? What do you get out of it? 27:31.0 – 29:31.0 M: Them feeling superior, I guess. Yeah, self-righteousness, yes. M: So what do you think should have happened? Well if I were a social worker and my client said “I’m so miserable I want to go back to prison”. Alarm bells should have rung instantly. This man might re-offend. I can remember one of them said “Please don’t re-offend, Paul”. I think…”Yeah…is that all you’re going to say? Please don’t re-offend? I’ve told you why I feel miserable, it’s these conditions that you insist on enforcing to the letter” in fact they expanded them because…one of the conditions is you have to abide by any reasonable condition the social worker imposes on you. That means…that’s open-ended really, so they did. The kind of jobs I was allowed to apply for were not stipulated on my conditions but they were by the social workers. They restricted it purely to warehouse work or working as a kitchen porter. Work was actually very difficult to find because it’s unskilled and there’s a huge queue of people in front of me trying to get it. People who don’t have a criminal record so I had to apply for work whilst I was out there, through, it’s called the Work Programme, the government thing, so I had to do that every couple of weeks, which I was very happy to do, I’ve enjoyed the experience, I wanted a job but I didn’t get a single interview because I had to disclose my record and that’s all, it didn’t go anywhere, so I wasn’t allowed to work in anything that involved my skills or experience or qualifications, nothing involving a computer, nothing involving the general public, and I couldn’t set up a market stall, wouldn’t be allowed that, anything. Anything that involved contact with the general public. 29:31.0 – 31:30.0 M: Not even a call centre or something? Nope, computer. So…what I used to do was call centre, so anyway, what I would say is that if my client came to me, I’d think “Let’s work with the client, find out what’s really at heart here, what’s at stake, what’s going wrong here, let’s see if we can find a way to solve this problem” but it was all “Paul, you’re a bad man, stop this or you’re going to prison.” It was like the parent telling off the naughty child. The child has no means to respond. Like a parent telling off a baby, really. Because a baby has as much comeback as I did. I’m not really allowed to even speak to them. M: Throw a tantrum. Yeah, that’s right. There should have been some means of saying…we could try this, we could for example say “Let’s lift the restriction on…perhaps you can go into a park, we’ll try it out and see what happens” or “You can go to leisure centre, we’ll try it out and see what happens” or “You can try and go for a job in a call centre and see what happens” but none of it was that, it was just simply “We just don’t care, basically. Get on with it, like it or lump it, go back to prison, we don’t give a damn.” And that was…you can’t live like that, I would have been much more co-operative, let’s get round these conditions, let’s find a way to work together and everybody’s happy then, you don’t go back to prison, the country saves money because it’s expensive having me here, and then we can…you know, live better. Everybody’s happy. But they don’t seem to have those flexible minds. Maybe they’re not allowed to, I don’t know, but surely, they’re professionals, they’re not just…box-tickers. They’ve got degrees, they’ve got intelligence, supposedly. They claim to be professionals with a lot of discretion. 31:30.0 – 32:10.0 M: This is only the second time you’ve been recalled. Because the other time was when you used a computer and met M. Yes, briefly, exactly that, yeah, I was. I don’t regret that one, definitely because that’s how I met M, that was worthwhile. M: [inaudible] Yes. M: But in the end you’re serving a lot longer for not so many images than for your first offence, which was lots of images. Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. It doesn’t make any sense, but obviously I’m a repeat offender so I understand that. They think I’m not to be trusted. I can well understand their viewpoint, but it’s still not a solution, it’s just a punishment. 32:10.0 – 33:09.0 M: But it’s also interesting that you haven’t re-offended and then they apply for an order of lifelong restriction. That’s right, it wasn’t for reoffending, it was purely [inaudible] M: I guess they searched your computer, or? Oh yeah, they did, yeah. M: Because I guess [inaudible] new offence [inaudible] They were able to give me a new sentence on this long license because as well as being on license I was also…I still am under, or rather I still am, what’s called a Sexual Offences Prevention Order, a S.O.P.O. Most of the public don’t know about these, but they are quite notorious, a fairly recent invention. Have you heard of the A.S.B.O? M: Yes. They’re similar to an A.S.B.O but much more strict and they can be imposed on somebody whether or not they’ve committed an offence, they’re now called a Sexual Harm Preventional Order. M: OK. 33:09.0 – 34:11.0 It’s recently changed, I’ve got a S.O.P.O but this is the new one and it means that if somebody is suspected of doing something or even being predisposed to being sexually dangerous to children, always with children I think, I don’t know where the point is of the order, then the police can then apply to a court and the judge can impose the order which is very similar to my license. So I had an order which has some very strange…I can’t have a computer, that’s on the order, I think it is, I forget the exact details of it, and also one of it is I can’t possess a camera unless it’s inside a mobile phone. M: I think you said that last time. Don’t understand that. When I asked the social workers “Can you explain this?” He said “Stop being cheeky, ask again and you’re going back to prison.” It was a genuine question. I want to know! I still don’t know! M: So you can’t have a computer, you probably can’t have a mobile phone which has access to the internet. 34:11.0 – 35:06.0 Yep, it doesn’t make any sense at all. Most people these days, their cameras are in their phones. People don’t have separate cameras these days. I don’t know, anyway that’s that. Sorry, what was the question? M: So how long is your S.O.P.O meant to last for? I think it’s a ten year one, it’s got a few years left to run, I’m not sure exactly. M: Did you get it in England or in Scotland? England, that was. M: OK. Do they have them in Scotland? Oh yeah, they’ve changed them now to ‘sexual harm’. I’m not sure if there’s any difference though, why the change. M: So when the license is finished, you might still not be finished… When you breach that, you see, you get a new conviction so the judge gave me four years in total, they gave me a year in prison plus a year on license plus two years what they call they call ‘extended sentence’ which is like a license so it’s the remainder of that which I have to serve out in the community. 35:06.0 – 37:10.0 M: When did they give you that then, the S.O.P.O? When? I think that was 2010, I think it was. I get confused. Maybe I was in Scotland at that point. Was I? I think I might have been, I can’t remember. No, that was England. M: And so why did that happen that one time you got a S.O.P.O and not the other times, was it a new thing? Maybe it was, I think previously there wasn’t such a thing. M: So what’s stopping you from getting another S.O.P.O if you don’t have to offend? I could do. That’s what I’m concerned about, that if I don’t co-operate enough with social workers when I’m out, they can just apply to the court and say “We want another one of these things” and they could get one. M: So you could be on license forever. SO they’d still manage to do that, even without an Order of Lifelong Restriction. That’s right, you don’t have any comeback on it, there’s really little you can do. And in prison there’s no legal aid to fight these things, so you just have to sit there and take it. It is hard…I don’t want to make out that my life is one unending veil of misery, it’s not. At the moment I’m reading a book from the library. It’s set in India in the 20th Century and it was on the Booker Prize winning list, so it’s from about 20 years ago, and the things that went on in India and still go on, corruption amongst the police, all the things that go on, enforced sterilisation of the poor, you name it, horrendous things went on. My life is wonderfully privileged by comparison and I’ll never forget that. The staff here may be unfriendly but they’re not corrupt. Generally they’ll abide by the rules so we have to be grateful for that. They didn’t used to, I know, I’ve met people who’ve been…I’ve met one person who was here 20 years ago who says it’s transformed since then, then you could be beaten up by the staff or other inmates and you couldn’t do anything about it. Doesn’t happen now. 37:10.0 – 38:42.0 M: The building’s the same though. Yeah. Unfortunately. It looks the same but it’s not the same, thank goodness. M: And what do you think is the purpose of you being here now is? Well, the purpose, from the point of view of the social workers, as they put it in their report, they’re unable to manage me safely in the community. So they feel I’m too dangerous a risk to be allowed out in the community because they can’t manage me, because I’m too cantankerous and obstreperous, I think that’s what it is really. I think I got that from my mother. My mother was like this, quite spiky, and my father was a pacifist by comparison, like pouring oil on troubled waters but I haven’t really inherited much of that, I’m too “how dare you say that to me?” If somebody says something that I don’t agree with, I’ll tell them. No, I won’t be nasty or swear at them, you know. I’ll be courteous, I’ll use the system. But I won’t just sit down and take it. I have a complaint at the moment, I’m trying to see the prison monitors, the independent people that come in, because I was given a disciplinary, the only one in my whole prison career, they gave me a disciplinary thing…whatever you call it…adjudication against me around January because a prison officer said I swore at him. I didn’t. I said “I’m going to make another complaint against you” and for some reason he took that as me saying swear words to him. 38:42.0 – 39:27.0 M: Right. I was given…what they call ‘put on report’. I appealed immediately against it, had a meeting…or a hearing with the manager and the manager says “It happened. Don’t care. If the officer said it happened, it happened. End of the story.” And that was it. So I’m trying to…I’m pushing now because I don’t like it, the fact that they can behave like that, so I’m trying to get the prison monitor people to…in fact I asked them a month ago, I saw them a month ago and had an interview with them, briefly, in this room and I said, you know, “this has happened, I want you to look into it because the prison rules state specifically that it has to be proven beyond reasonable doubt. One person’s word is not proven beyond reasonable doubt. 39:27.0 – 40:26.0 M: And so what kind of punishment are… They didn’t, because of course the manager knew full well I hadn’t done it, another manager told me so. Because the punishment they gave me was three days, no recreation, suspended for three months. So effectively nothing at all. I barely go to recreation anyway, so it made no difference at all to my life, so obviously there was a bit of a nod and a wink here, “We know you didn’t do it, but we have to keep this officer happy.” That’s not good, that’s corrupt. M: Yeah. So I won’t take that lying down. Other prisoners would, I know other prisoners here say “Oh, just leave it Paul, you can’t do anything about it.” No, I’m going to push it, I don’t like that, because if they get away with it with me, they’ll do worse to others. So I won’t have that. That’s just the way I am, you see and that’s one of the reasons I’m back here, because I’m just not compliant enough in terms of my attitude, I ask questions and they don’t like questions. 40:26.0 – 41:26.0 M: So it’s not what you’re actually doing, just bad relationships. It was a bad relationship. Yes, I even told them, I said “I know we have a bad relationship. Let’s see if we can make this better.” And they said “We just don’t care, Paul, it’s up to you. We don’t care.” So they explicitly told me that. They just do not care. M: And how’s that being on license before then, so assuming you’ve been on license… Yes, I have but that was in England with probation and they have a very different attitude. Much more flexible, much more understand, more friendly, just human, basically. They don’t seem to be there just to tick some boxes and go home. Whilst here, they do. It was shocking. In fact I remember the first visit I had from the social worker when I came here to Scotland, they said to me “You won’t be allowed to get away with what probation allow you to get away with in England. We’re much tougher here.” They told me they were going to be. Oh yes, they were. Oh yes. 41:26.0 – 43:01.0 M: [inaudible] people in social work. Yes, that’s what I thought, but nope. Nope. You ask any prisoner here, they’ll tell you, they’ll back it up. I tell my story, and everyone says “Yep…” You get the whole circle of people, they all say exactly the same. M: All the same. Horrendous experience with the social work. M: And so do you think the sentence or this period in prison for you, will have achieved any purpose? Nothing positive, it’s simply waiting time, that’s all. Just sitting around waiting. When I get out, I’ll hopefully…try to do better, that’s all I can think of really. I’ve not done any programmes or rehabilitation, there is one here called ‘Moving Forward, Making Changes’. I looked into putting my name down for it, because I’ve been on similar programmes before and I didn’t like them because…well, some parts of them were pretty good. And the staff were certainly very idealistic. I found them better than the social work, definitely. They were easier to get on with so I’m not negative about the whole thing. It was definitely…but the problem for me as a life long minor-attracted man as I call myself or paedophile as the rest of society calls me, I’d say you’ve got to recognise this as a genuine…sexual orientation. It doesn’t have to mean you legalise it, you simply have to recognise it as that is the nature of the thing you’re dealing with and not say “It’s a choice.” Like what they used to say about gay people. “Oh, they choose to be gay.” You know, “They want to be attracted to men. They choose it.” 43:01.0 – 44:00.0 M: [inaudible] Yeah, exactly, that was the level that the programmes were at when I was last on them two or three years ago. They refused to recognise it and just said “No, it’s not.” But apparently…I know someone who was on it, the guy who came back on recall, also downloading “Yes, they do recognise it now.” Not legally, as an orientation but they do actually…de facto accept it, that it is life-long, you can’t change it and so you shouldn’t be punished simply because of that, but there aren’t any solutions, no easy solutions, there’s nothing.. even recognising it as such isn’t necessarily going to make our lives in society any better, but at least it’s a start. Because their view is you’ve got to basically repress it somehow and that is not easy, repressing any sexual orientation, it often results in unfortunate consequences, I don’t know. 44:00.0 – 44:58.0 M: Have you heard of Circles of support? Yes I have, yeah. They don’t run it in Scotland. Or there’s the Quakers are involved with that, or…I forget… M: It does exist in Scotland. Oh right, does it? Well I’ve never been anywhere that it actually existed. M: Because that sort of solves the isolation problem a little bit. I would have loved that. I would have loved that. I met somebody when I was last inside who’d been on one and he said it was excellent, but it’s very rare. I’ve never met anybody since. M: OK, so it’s not so generally available. Yes, I would go for it, because it’s like mentoring isn’t it? Yeah, and that would be really good. I would love that. M: You’d have other people around you to…who weren’t social workers. Yes, that’s right. They’re not trying to put you back in prison, they’ve not got boxes to tick, they’re not that kind of person, they’re not negative all the time. I respond very well to positive people. So I’d love that, if I could find something like that I could go back, they could take me when I get out of here, they could put me somewhere where there is one. 44:58.0 – 46:38.0 M: [inaudible] Yeah, I can suggest that. I did mention it, again this is one of the things I mentioned in my letter to Oxford, because she was asking me about are there any support groups, and that was the only one I can think of, is Circles. So yeah, that would be good. M: And I mean, some of this doesn’t really apply, becasuse you’re not in on a new sentence as such but what do you think the impact has been, even just about this bit or about this sentence or about all your sentences… The impact? M: The main impact was your arrest. Yeah, just catastrophic on my life, really. Just destroyed everything. I mean it wasn’t like I had a lot going really. I was a school teacher at the time I was first arrested way back in ’99, but I hated the job. I think I must have mentioned this, I hated it and I was constantly looking for a way out because I had a mortgage to pay and so I had to have a reasonably well-paid job. But I didn’t, so I really wish I’d been able to….apart from that I didn’t have anything particularly that was going, and looking back on it now I’ve changed one of my views, I now wish I’d never got married. I think it wasn’t the right thing to do. It put far too much pressure on my wife in terms of when I revealed my sexual orientation to her, and then the downloading as well, nobody should have to put up with that, it wasn’t right. And even now, I think about M, the woman I met later, I think…no…I was just looking for a friend and she was looking for a lover and the two were to meet, so I’ll not be doing that again. I’m not looking for anybody else. 46:38.0 – 47:49.0 M: You’re not looking for a relationship. A sexual relationship, no. Definitely not. No. Friends, definitely. Lots of friends, but not anything like that. M: When you were talking about your relationships the last time, they sounded a lot more positive. They were, they were positive for me but I think they had some negative consequences for them. M: Have you heard back from them now then? No, never heard back. I don’t expect to. I don’t blame them at all for not wanting any contact at all, I was a negative impact on them. I feel very bad about it, that’s one of the biggest regrets of my life, that I did take up these relationships knowing that my sexual orientation wasn’t really towards adult women and I wasn’t able to offer them anything. At the start, in fact in the very beginning when I was 22, 23? I had this hope, again like gay men used to, you get married, it cures you, you know? You change, miraculously! But of course it didn’t, but I should have thought more deeply about it at the time, I thought “This isn’t going to change, Paul. And you shouldn’t be getting married, it’s pointless and it’s going to be hard.” And indeed it was, you know. It was like that. Certainly for my wife, I’m sure if I’d had a chance to speak to her again now, I’m sure she’d say “Yes, there were some good parts but really we should have never got married.” 47:49.0 – 49:04.0 M: Right, and she didn’t know anything about it before. No, I mean I was struggling with it myself. I was thinking that it might change, I’ve met others, I’ve met a couple of other people, some of whom are quite young, 19, 20 years old and they think it’s going change and I say “Look, it isn’t, you’re going to have to deal with this until you die.” “No, no, no. It’s just a phase. I’ll grow out of it.” No more than gay people grow out of it. That’s what they used to say about gay people, “They’ll grow out of it.” If you’re a teenage boy, you’ll grow out of it, you’ll like women. It doesn’t happen. M: Maybe you get a gradation, like people who are bi-sexual. Yes, yes. I’d certainly see that. I do. Like any sexual thing, it’s not cut and dried, there’s not one category, black and white, there’s all sorts of grey areas, definitely, yeah. M: For the two years what would you say stands out as the best memory? Of the last two years? M; Well since I last saw you, so January 2014. Something like that. 49:04.0 – 50:53.0 Just over two years ago. Erm…mmm…best thing of the last two years. Well I wouldn’t say coming back to Barlinnie because it was a negative…it was simply cutting your losses or whatever you call it, it was simply being defeatist in some ways, giving up. And that’s not a good thing. Some of the friends that I’ve met here in prison, they’re good things. And…oh, in 2014 during the summer I went various places, I went to the coast, I stayed overnight in a hostel in Arran, the weather was horrible, the hostel was horrible because it was cheap, but it was fun, I really enjoyed it. I took my bike, it was great. I went to Cumbrae, I cycled there, I can remember I did that a couple of times, I took my bike over on the train, on the ferry, I don’t know if you know the island of Cumbrae, it has effectively a cycle trail around the whole island, it’s flat, it’s beautiful. Absolutely lovely. I was there thinking “This is almost Heaven.” I got an ice cream, I chatted to somebody, I went swimming in the sea, it was a gorgeous day, all that kind of thing and that was the probably the best day of the last two years was being on the Isle of Arran, height of summer, and doing that. I didn’t tell my social workers, they knew nothing about it, it was utterly harmless, it had nothing at all to do with my offending, just did it, came home, and it was a lovely day. That was fabulous. I’ve nothing negative to say about that day at all. In fact I did it twice over the summer, it was just wonderful. 50:53.0 – 52:20.0 M: And what would you say is worst memory? Well, even though I was expecting it, when I was arrested. In fact, no. Definitely not. My picture in the paper. That was definitely worse, and being hounded out of my house, I was told that somebody had rung the local housing office because it was a council flat and said “If you don’t get him out, we will.” So what else are they to do than get me out. That was just awful. M: And did you know that was happening when the guy took your picture? No, I was out just for a…I went out every now and then for a walk. I had no idea how they managed to find me, they must have been hanging about outside the house, somehow, so I would go out for a walk, it was very close to the countryside so I’d walk out, there’d be a cemetery on my left just as I left the town, and there was some bushes at the entrance and I was walking along, minding my own business, just walking along, I could see there’s somebody lurking in the bushes. And there’s a man with a long lens camera. He’s not surely after me is he? No. He looked very shifty, very shifty indeed. In fact, quite embarrassed. But yeah, next day, there was this picture of me looking…just looking at this man in the bushes. “Who are you?” And that was just awful, awful, awful. Utterly unjustified. There was no reason for me to be in the paper at all. None at all. 52:20.0 – 53:25.0 M: And you saw this yourself in the paper. Er…the next day I was due for my weekly meeting with the social worker, and I got there, walked through the town, got to the office and they said “Paul, sit down, you need to see this.” Very serious expressions on their faces, gave me the paper, there I was. Blanket colour picture, big colour front page, on the front page and this…I can’t remember what the headline was, it was just awful. There were no news in it, it was just “This person is living in your community. Do you want this kind of person living here? No you don’t. Get him out.” It was kind of like “Get your burning torches, get your pitchforks. Let’s go and march on his house.” It gave the approximate area or street, virtually, that I was living in, so it wouldn’t take them long to find out where I was, so I could have been…when I was first arrested, I’ve probably mentioned this before, when I was first arrested back in ’99, 2000, I was on bail, living in my own house and I was effectively…windows smashed, the whole bunch. They brought all that back and I suspect that would have happened again if I hadn’t been taken out. 53:25.0 – 54:20.0 M: So did you go back at all or did they take you somewhere else? Yeah, well it was the next day when it came out in the paper. They said “You’ve got to go now” so the police came, “Put your clothes in a bag, you’re off.” You know, that was it. I never went back and that was such a shame to lose it all but as I say. There was a guy who was helping me a little bit, I’ve probably mentioned him before, a guy called D from an organisation called Caring for Ex-Offenders, he comes to this prison occasionally and he managed to get hold of the key, I rang him up from here and he got hold of the key, went in and he got a box of my…I had a box of all my important documents, you know, certificates and that sort of thing, he got that and then another box of childhood mementos, two boxes he rescued, everything else went. Those are waiting for me when I get out. At least I’ve got that. At least I’ve got the most precious things. 54:20.0 – 55:43.0 M: You were also worried about instruments and… Well, they all went. I had a digital piano, whatever. Brand new guitar, I’d just bought. £300. [sighs] All went. I’d only just got it and it’s all gone. But you know, it’s only things. When I think about these refugees coming across from Africa and I think they lose everything. Every single thing they have. Syria and that. So I’m not complaining. As I said, it makes it easy to move.[laughs] M: You can go anywhere. I can, a rucksack and off I go. M: And what do you think the future holds, have you got a best case scenario, worst case scenario? Worst case scenario is that I just keep coming back to prison. The best case is that I go back to England, maybe go back to my hometown or somewhere round there and try and make some kind of life, maybe get a basic job of some kind, you know, make some friends, that would be OK. I’m not after much, a very simple life. I don’t need much. If I had my own choice, I’d move. I’d move country. I would love to live in Germany. I even tried to get on a German language course in here, because I can speak it a little bit, so I tried to get hold of an intermediate level course, but it’s just impossible to get hold of one. There’s no point doing a basic one, I already know that, but anyway, I would like to do that, if I had the choice I would go over to Germany and live there for the rest of my life, never come back. 55:43.0 – 56:41.0 M: And why Germany? I’ve been there a few times and I loved it, just loved the country. And I know it has a more enlightened attitude to sex offenders as well. It has a programme called Dunkelfeld, ‘Dark Field’ which certainly has a more progressive attitudes to the people on it. It’s a bit like Circles, I think. More mentoring kind of thing. I wouldn’t necessarily have anything to do with that, I just want to live as an ordinary person. But I just know that it has a more tolerant society in some ways. M: Are there restrictions on you moving abroad? None once my license is up. I can go anywhere I want. Anywhere that’ll accept me. Ex-offenders can’t go to America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and a few other places. M: But you can move within the EU. Yes, at least for the moment. [laughter] M: You’d better get through your license quick. 56:41.0 – 57:41.0 Before we get out of the EU. But yeah. M: And is there anything you’d like to…I mean that’s kind of all the questions I have, is there anything else that you think… I don’t know really… M: [inaudible] Yeah…you said I can take this with me? M: Mm-hmm. I’ll take a look at it later. I think that’s about it really, that’s all I’ve got to say. You know as much about it as I think anybody would ever want to know. M: So what’s the meaning to you of being in and out? It means that I’ve made a mess of things, really. I’ve made a real mess of things that I should have perhaps controlled myself more? The problem is of course, it’s my sexual orientation. I can’t do anything about that. And for most people, if you said to them “You’re going to have to live without any kind of sexual expression whatsoever…” I mean there’s not many people who could do that for any length of time. 57:41.0 – 59:02.0 M: You’ve lasted a couple of years now though. [inaudible] I’m assuming [inaudible] Yeah, to live your whole life without meeting anybody that you want to have sex with, without having any contact, you have to keep it all within yourself. You know, in terms of you cannot speak to anybody about it, you cannot have any kind of relationship, anything whatsoever. It all just has to be kept to yourself as a secret. That is really hard, and also the stigma attached to it that everybody’s always doing it down, saying it’s the worst thing that anyone can possibly do in the entire history of the world, that makes it hard. So on the continent apparently, in places like Germany and Holland and Denmark, places like that, with sex offenders, ex-sex offenders, convicted sex offenders, at the start of the thing, “Well, perhaps we could use computer-generated imagery”. That might be OK. Because there’s no victim involved, there’s no child involved, you know, maybe we could do that. I think they might even be doing that in Germany, so that might be something, that would be more progressive than a blanket “No” as they do in this country. So anyway, that’s all. I could have done things a lot…I could have controlled myself rather than just letting myself go like that. 59:02.0 – 1:00:09.0 M: [inaudible] recurring license properly. Which you probably didn’t have before your sentence. Yes, it just gets worse and worse as time goes on so I suppose in many ways it’s up to me to just say “OK. You either keep on with this and suffer the consequences or find a way to live like a eunuch.” You know, that’s what it is, really. Live like a eunuch or move abroad. M: One of my students wrote an essay about chemical castration. Oh yes. M: But I don’t know anything about it. I don’t either. M: Because you talked about Serotonin, you could actually use antidepressants as that [inaudible] you know [inaudible] No, no, it’s not. I think it’s regarded as too extreme, I think, really. It’s against your human rights. I wouldn’t want it, I wouldn’t want it really to take away all sexual feeling, even if it is directed in the wrong direction, I still think I’d still have that rather than none at all. 1:00:09.0 – 1:01:30.0 M: Right. Yeah, I think I’d rather… M: If you were a woman after the menopause [inaudible] anyway… Well a woman doesn’t have a menopause and lose her whole sexual feeling. M: Well, I’ve got a few friends who’ve had this happen because they have cancer, so they [inaudible] Awful, that would be nightmareish for me, that would be awful. Yeah, so I don’t know, I don’t know how that works, nobody’s spoken to me about it so I don’t know. I haven’t given it any thought at all. I don’t think I’d want that. M: There’s quite a few people on anti-depressants, obviously. I don’t know how it works. [inaudible] I don’t think it takes away all sexual desire as far as I know. I don’t know, I don’t know any more than you do, really. M:[inaudible] I mean I think that’s quite a long document so if there’s anything in here that is wrong or I’ve missed something, feel free to write to me or email…well email might not be easy so writing’s fine, or phone, I think my phone number’s on there… 1:01:30.0 – 1:02:56.2 I’d have to put you on my list, I can write to you. I might well do, if there’s anything extra I wanted to add but I’ve done this now twice in the same week, I’ve written all this stuff, that letter… M: Was that this week as well? Yeah, six sides of A4, writing up my life story. M: You could have sent her that! [Laughter] Too late now. So yeah, I just did that two days ago. So… M: [inaudible] over. It’s actually quite tiring to talk about yourself in detail, I don’t want to talk about me anymore! Talk about somebody else! So yeah… M: I think that’s interesting [inaudible] I don’t know the rules about [inaudible] Yeah, get fed up with talking about it, exactly. I’m just fed up with it. I can imagine what it’s like for somebody famous, like a musician or an actor who are constantly talking about themselves and their work, they might be talking about the same film over and over again on the same day, day after day, giving the same answer all the time. I can understand that.
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