Archive for the ‘Prisons’ Category

Facing the Killers

Posted: 19 March 2017 in Prisons
Tags: , ,
Chris Donovan cake.jpg

Chris Donovan

Chris Donovan was murdered on a suburban street one evening by people he did not know.  Not an attack by a hysterical lover.  Not a robbery gone wrong.  Not hit be crossfire in gang warfare.  Not a spiteful but unintentionally forceful punch.  This death is in the premier league of pointless killings.

Keep him alive
The parents keep him alive in the eyes of others who needed to meet the memory of him.  They told the tragic story to prisoners in HMP Millbank*.  I was there, helping lead a victim awareness course there (Sycamore Tree).

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The Crime Makes The Man?

Posted: 12 March 2017 in Prisons
Tags: , ,
Chris Donovan

The late Chris Donovan

Like an Ian McEwan novel, one single event changes lives, utterly, forever.  But this is not fiction.  Two young men, brothers Chris and Phil go out to see their sister after a hard day at work.  They don’t come home that night.  One never comes back.

Chris and Phil were walking along a main road on their way, when they came face to face with a group of around fourteen youngsters, male and female. With no prior warning, no conversation, the boys started to punch, pushing the brothers to the ground.  Kicking, stamping on their heads. Phil was unconscious with a broken nose.  Chris unconscious was left deliberately in the main road. Cars swerved to avoid, but not all could.  Chris was hit by car and his mangled body dragged 40 feet down the road.  Chris died in hospital. Phil’s injuries still impact his life, even after all this time.  Chris’s body was so badly damaged that the mortician had to strap the body like an Egyptian mummy. (more…)

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Old girl Liz in old nick Newgate

I was handed a bag of cocaine this week.  Stuff that was being smuggled into prison, and in this case caught before sale. (I didn’t keep it). Cocaine, spice, mobile phones, even fast food.  Thrown over prison walls.  Smuggled it.  Or brought in by a few corrupt staff.  Prisoners – crooked and unredeemable?  And today an acquaintance piled it on.

Bill, aren’t your prisoners pulling the wool over your eyes when you go in?  Don’t you feel that they are conning you? Aren’t they just seeking to get “a good report” back to the prison authorities?

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prison-christmas

As the prisoners come in, they wish me “Happy Christmas”.  Many of them anyway, and with cheery grins.  I was surprised.  They were glad to see us doing music for the Christmas Eve service.  Glad that there was something on for Christmas, glad to be glad-handed.

Trouble over Christmas period in prisons?  Perhaps in HMP Cardiff yesterday.  Not where I’ve been.  I’ve been inside twice this month, including Christmas Eve.  There was more natter than normal, and it had an “edge”.  Yet, no more than that.

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prayers-bannerI
Those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shined, for unto us a child is born, a son is given.”
We are in darkness here, oh God
miserable being here this Christmas.
Want to be home at this time.
We are not home. Yet…. we are not alone.

May we be the light that shined on:
.     mates on the Wings – encouragement
.          wife on the phone – a truly listening ear
.               kids in the Visitors Centre – sweet words.
O Come, O Come Emmanuel
and ransom your captive people (more…)

daniel-sm

Daniel is dead.  Jerry is now quaking for his son.  Daniel was 16.  Jerry is a drug dealer and in prison.

Dan Spargo-Mabbs lived in Croydon. The family are regular members of their church, Emmanuel South Croydon. Dan used to run free errands for the elderly people to whom he delivered papers. He also helped out church members with gardening and odd jobs.  You’d be happy to have the family round for dinner.  Fathers – you’d be happy for your 16 year old daughters to date him.

On Friday 17th January 2014, Dan persuaded his mum to let him go to a local party with friends. As Dan was usually responsible, mum agreed. But they went to an illegal rave instead. It was the first time he’d been to a rave. At the rave Dan (more…)

serge-levyc2013-prayerLord, we all have serious health problems

Our eyesight is poor
Silver and gold seem the brightest colours,
Followed by the green of greed, and
The blues of thwarted desires.

Our hearing is poor too
We can’t hear the cries of the weak,
Nor your warnings of judgement.

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