Failed By The System

by Prison Widow

First of all, I would like to say hi to all the readers of The Other Side Of The Glass.
I'm known as, Prison Widow UK, and write monthly columns for a British Prison newspaper called, Inside Time. I'm also known for my humor, but trust me, I have a serious side, but enjoy bringing a little light hearted smile to those who are in this situation. Sometimes, it helps to smile even in the most difficult circumstances. As people so often say - laughter is the best medicine - but prisoners families and their loved ones in prison get small doses due to the situation as a whole.
In 2008, a close friend of mine took his own life. From the age of 3, he was in children's homes and slowly 'progressed' through the system spending most of his life in prison. Having suffered trauma in the children's homes, his mental health needed some attention. But the prison medical staff, along with his probation officer, failed to detect it. He preferred prison to the outside world. Prison was his comfort blanket because he knew no different. He was accustomed to being told what to do and how to do it on a daily basis in prison. So when he was released, he simply could not cope in the free world. If you hand rear a beautiful lion and then set it free in to the wild - chances are it will not survive. I offered a roof to my friend on his release from prison. I knew something wasn't quite right with his mental state, so why didn't the professionals see what was in front of their eyes? Or was it because he was another wandering soul in prison? A product of the system who no one wants to take responsibility for and rather than treat his mental health, it's easier for the system to provide him with a cell and lock him up. Less paperwork, less hassle and less money.

( To Be Continued )