I read a fair number of blogs. I’m not much of a commenter unless I really have something worth adding, but I do read. I’m a typical blog lurker. I like all sorts of blogs. Blogs from Mexico. Blogs from England. Blogs from beaches. Blogs from cities. Blogs from a whole variety of interesting places. You wouldn’t want to read a blog from someone who sits in their room staring at the four walls all day, would you?
There’s an exception to every rule of course. I read a blog written by a guy not that much older than me. He’s an educated chap, thoughtful and provokes stimulating debate. He’s also a murderer. Which is why he sits in a room all day, staring at the four walls. He has been doing that for the last 30 years, since being locked up at just fourteen years of age. His blog is, apparently, the only one produced by a serving prisoner in Britain. He doesn’t have net access – he relies on an editor publishing his articles to the blog Prisoner Ben from letters he writes.
I dare say his blog could elicit a range of different reactions and emotions from the many different people that inhabit our planet. There’s no getting away from the crime, nor the justice that his victim deserves. But it’s hard, having read his blog for the last year or so, not to pity him, admire him and wish him well nonetheless. I have my own views on crime and justice which can swing to both the left wing and the right. Depends whether I’m talking about the carrot, or the stick. But both are needed.
I’ve no problem, in principle, with an individual being locked up for his whole life for a crime normally attracting just a couple of years prison time, if he simply refuses to participate in a rehabilitation scheme. But there has to be a sensible, realistic and worthwhile rehabilitation program in place. One that looks past retribution and guilt and instead looks toward a life outside in the real world. A program that caters for individuals, not robots. It’s a complicated issue, one that I can’t cover in a single post. It’s an issue at the heart of Mr Gunn’s continued imprisonment. I’m sure you, dear reader, have your own views. Feel free to share them here. It’s a debate I enjoy.
He’s in the block at the moment, having had an unfortunate incident with a contraband cell phone. His editor put out a request for postcards. I long ago stopped sending out postcards to blog readers, but seeing as there is a little shop next to where I work….well, one more card wouldn’t hurt. So I’ll send him one with greeting from Bournemouth. I’d encourage you to do the same, wherever you are in the world. I enjoy his little tussles with authority, even the petty ones. Especially the petty ones. Who hasn’t fought with authority before?It’s be rather cool to participate in one of these tussles. A few postcards coming in from foreign shores would give him a laugh and ‘them’ a raised eyebrow or two.
You can get the address from this post. If you’re too lazy to load a new web page then the address is Ben Gunn A8761AN, HMP Shepton Mallet, Cornhill, Shepton Mallet, Somerset BA4 5LU. But failing that, subscribe to his blog. It’s not entertaining as such. Prison life is rarely entertaining, I imagine. But it is worth the read. The card I bought is the one below. It’ll soon be in that small room. Maybe he’ll stick it up on one of those four walls. Something different to stare at.