Hi, I've seen one of your talks in one of my citizenship lessons at school about your experience in jail. I just wanted to ask you if American prisons are different to U.K prisons, and in what way, and ask how people cope in there. If prison actually is as daunting as it seems, and if people come out more violent or if they look at life differently. I've got to say I admire the way you've blogged your experience and stayed strong! It’s really nice how you've visited schools and shared your stories too.
Thanks for the questions. All prisons are different, but most are daunting. I have blogged the UK prison experience from the perspective of a young man, Chris:
And a woman, Andrea:
I'd say the major difference is that in the US the prisons are run by gangs like the Aryan Brotherhood and the Mexican Mafia divided by race. We are seeing some of that in the UK now, but not like in America. There seems to be more education and rehabilitation in the UK, whereas in America the emphasis is on punishment.
Some people come out of prison more violent. They join gangs. Violence and injecting drugs become a way of life. Some prisoners use the time wisely. They educate themselves and do good when they come out.
People have different ways of coping. For me, I read, did yoga, meditated, worked-out and wrote. Religion plays a big part for many people, such as T-Bone who turned to Christianity.