Many of you that read my blogs will know that I have been in prison and have been a resident at the Approved Premises in Norfolk. Since May 2018 I have been living in accommodation provided by the charity House of Genesis, and this has afforded me many opportunities to sit and continue my writing career and the other work that I get up to.
In this short blog I want to share something exciting that happened to me on Tuesday 5th February 2019. I was invited to attend and speak at an event at the House of Lords to celebrate the work of Wayout TV, part of the PeoplePlus Justice Division. I had worked for Wayout TV when I was in prison, I was part of the production hub, and worked mainly on compliance -ensuring that the programmes we made and broadcast met set standards (nothing got passed my eyes and ears).
The event was well attended with representatives from the prison education company and their partners; there were people from government departments and from both houses of parliament. Baroness Pidding CBE introduced the evening, and handed over to Simon Rouse, Managing Director of PeoplePlus UK. Simon introduced the work of Wayout TV, and shared how the television channel now broadcasts to 25,000 prisoners every day. He introduced my boss, the man that I worked for in the prison; Jezz Wright, the creator of this amazing television channel.
Then Simon showed a promotional video that I appeared in (and did an awful amount of talking), and after the video he discussed my work when I was in the prison. Then as he introduced me to give my talk on why Wayout TV is important, Simon told the gathered audience that PeoplePlus were going to offer me employment with them.
How was I meant to talk after a shock like that?
It has to be said here, even though I might be 18 stone and 6 feet 2 inches tall I did cry. Obviously it didn’t come as a complete shock, but it still had caused me to get emotional. I also get emotional when I talk about prison education because it is important for a full rehabilitation process to begin. So there I was discussing why in-cell learning is important and the tears trying to escape down my face. I did want to go on a few moment more to discuss the team that I worked with, but the tears got the better of me.
Life dose not end with a prison sentence. If you are (un)fortunate enough to end up behind the high walls and razor-like topped fences then take the opportunities that are offered to you. If none are offered your way make your own. Since leaving custody in February 2018 I and a friend (colleague and mentor), (Areformedman) have been working hard to change how the prison system operates.
In a year I have gone from being locked up in prison, finding accommodation with the House of Genesis to speaking at the House of Lords and now about to start work with a prison education company.
The future is what YOU make it.