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Media matters with Paul Blanchard
welcome to media Masters series of one-to-one interviews with people at the top of the media game today my Owen Jones guardian columnist and editor in chief of inside time the UK's national newspaper for prisoners and detainees is turbulent childhood lead into a Life of Crime after being sentenced to life in prison for two murders.
He fled to the French Foreign Legion for two years and then had himself in he dedicated his 20 years behind bars to furthering his education and discovered a love of writing is anonymous guardian column a life inside was the first of its kind in the history of British journalism since his release in 2004.
He has been a vocal prison reform advocate and his patron of several ex-offenders and Arts charities and is an honorary master of the Open University Owen thank you for joining me pull my pleasure you inside 20 years when you are languishing in a cell.
You must have never imagined that one day that you've been national newspaper journalist and the editor of a paper pool.
I never languished when you took me away initially.
Now is brass finish has broken you know Big Bill Bailey since Me To Life imprisonment and I was glad we will leave my old life was over as a painful life painful for me and other people because of me and I was glad it was finished, so I guess I did say language in the beginning.
I was locked up in Wandsworth prison with a bucket for a toilet and obey the chair table 3 sets of bars and cell wall Bloom struggle to get in that sell bow in hours finish and anyway.
I never imagined another life.
You know it's for me.
It was all over tell us briefly how you got that long as I don't want to dwell on the past but I listened as will be interested.
I want to focus on you know what you did from that moment.
We're just briefly could you just got talent listeners how you you got to that point to to my conviction for murder contour Long Nose story about it was it was.
First come out conviction when I was just gone 11 years old my first crime was it in and I was I was in the magistrates court, E11 and convicted of burglary, so so I became a criminal when it was a long downhill slope from there.
Never have ever came out.
I was in a children's home for a while to go to school.
I mean in fairness the first time I saw your school regularly was when I was 11 years old in the home and he was a good school.
I was good English first get my hands up in the spelling lessons in composition and that's telling you a great writer.
That's that's beyond dispute that bit out because absolutely not a huge fan of your writing.
I'm not receiving compliments.
No, I'm not I know I don't want to come as well.
I'm sharing this journey with you about 15 and bracelet for the next few years.
You're not one of the children's home.
He's a funny.
Thing we were there lots kid's scooped up from the system.
I guess kids like me or dolphins kids are broken into shops shoplifted like me broken sweet shops near Munich cars and stuff a mishmash of the talking the Calling out a working day.
Did they did well done for you well done, but he studied law that was my degree calculator you say I was remember that Lily the theft is a two-stage doing is not any interest in taking without owners consent and permanent intention to deprive them of them lazy prosecutors.
Just charge you with the 7:40 thing.
I was just talking to steal something intention to permanently deprive that it was if it if you just a joyrider you know teenagers taking the can you don't intend to keep the car.
Let's be honest.
It was wondered why I was.
Ks1 and why what you never wanted Walkways with fastest to so is it lazy prosecutors were facing the same sentence as a drunk groove and drunk and I became a bit like him and it was no big deal for me when I got out of the home.
You're in the tools.
I will throw myself as potential criminals.
You know we we we we don't aspire to be astronauts on train drivers or psychologist of teachers.
We wanted to be criminals because we do something reinforcing about what we didn't think positive things about myself.
You know what we sort of thought of each other is who is the toughest guy who is the hardest who is the most criminal here now, so we we want to be gangsters The Killers and Robbers in there anywhere I left it a lift there at 15 in the home.
I left school because in those he could leave school at 15 and I've received 4 years and I was sort of.
Worked on building sites in fact reason tarmacing roads washing the restaurant had no real intellectual skills have no confidence source of abilities that I knew of other than those strong but I become a drunk when I was young by my dad, and it was no big deal for me to get drunk have a fight smash a window Stewart car and it was the pattern of my life for years now.
I've spent time in drunk tanks and young offender prisons 6914 gladiator school.
I came out there.
I know I came out worse than I was when I went in.
I just know I do because I was stronger.
It is all weightlifting and bloodied gymnasium hot stuff and I mostly chiasmus young people that I was with we we were supposed to be who's the toughest with the strongest with the hardest was the most violent who's the most dangerous ridiculous when you think about it now.
You got it.
The state took me in hopefully to try and make me better than I was or rectify my issues, but they didn't they make worse than a second one was 13 months that was pretty much the same stuff now.
Just sank after that and ended up.
I need a person drifting comuni more and more frustration mobile and small drinking problems.
I met my co-accused in a squat in London actually and we we we came to criminals together wee-wee in smash and grab them off licences.
Still cars burgled premises and instead of making people that's I'm leaving to what what have I told by the details exactly as it is contentious still having said that I was there.
I was involved over 3 months.
Me and my coworkers.
We left you people dead.
I felt that I was a coward all my life America
Fled the country join the French Foreign Legion and halving joint venture or of fun.
I was desperate to myself how where do I go from here? You know but you hanged himself in after a couple of years didn't you are 2 years later but by then.
I don't need to hand experience of possibilities.
You know I was given a receiving a structured and disciplined life.
I was giving reward for hard work in a decent moves amazing experience.
I wasn't I was basing course ago did the most amazing basic training course in castelnaudary in south of France who went to Corsica based ever ended up in the wrap with the measured approach this but the elite Regiment in France went to Africa was in charge and your two years later.
My Michael accused was arrested for something in in in England and then was traced to the murders committed and casino you name me to policeman.
I was like yeah.
I don't blame him at all because there's a cloud going to get the more weight on your mind.
It was unbelievable I can't tell you how that felt yeah.
I didn't get away with it.
It was 2 years.
I did not get away with anything but anyway to how is Ashley of relief when I was captured by myself into the British consulate niece out.
That's how you know I got extracted from France back to back to London and face trial Old Bailey and you know I got life I lighten my teeth in my trial shame to say and be listening.
I'm so ashamed you know if Katie Price this is why no no no, I'm sorry about it or not sure if it will pay that price that that's the thing.
How do I can't make a mince pie my sleep will never be clean you have made a men's you've said 20 is imprisoned.
I think you will write you a fresh start to support support.
Thank you for that.
You've also needed put that time in prison to incredible you say things are going to talk about in a minute.
So who's the thing I went to jail for life never expected to live again didn't languish evening my Wandsworth prison selling did exercise discipline to prison from a drunken crime Trumps love that being I'm not sure I would have prisoners were there.
I did but I went in as a control discipline soldier and you know I don't want to hurt anybody other again and so I so I am I selling one exercises books.
I could think I couldn't read in a most people in prison 60% of our prison population in this country today.
Can't read or write.
You have such a high recidivism really that was lucky.
I had this is the Daily Mail gender burglars and criminals is actually counterproductive to the the cohesiveness of society because I forgot we had a lot people up for the rest of their lives and Warehouse them or if we're going to put you out or anyone in prison for 10 20 30 years you gonna get let out and therefore we need to have a productive Red-Nosed places.
You can be released if you're not one of the 52 things never to be released the majority will get out and we been up my agenda is why I am still writing and talking about this issue.
Is I want people to be safe safer from people like I was when I went it cos I wasn't that was a dangerous crying price at 54 convictions 180 present for Life went into what I would have called bolster lizard Capers it came out as you just said came out worse then I did after 20.
Yeah, I came out with some.
Hope you know they release me they decided not because I Was a God it does I will be coming down in commerce in prison over the top eyeliner second.
I'm fascinated by her that they didn't let me out because I was going, Custard Factory nothing but the main thing is I managed to become I think who I think I should have been if all the other stuff you know if if my early years hadn't have been his son of dysfunctional and chaotic as they may not I'm not seeing any excuse for crime.
There's no excuse for crime but how we become who will become is a complicated process nature and nurture course.
It is really hurts and trying to blame one of them in our portion does nobly the causation on one side of the others is a ridiculous question that might might ask then so you know yes.
Down for life I meant that the catley many last seen that I imagine you weren't just how long does it take you to can't get over the shock of that before you then decide well.
I'm going to do something useful what what was the first can a chink of light as you were serving at time of you thought I'm gonna educate myself and I learn I'm gonna do something constructive and productive how long tells about how that and it was a long process Hanover Nike match in a week or so, you know you're in there.
Must have been shell-shocked.
I was like most people to prison life comes to an end life is anew even though mine was so chaotic anything in the Foreign Legion who is discipline, but it's still a bit of a fake act because I knew eventually I'm gonna have to face this someone something jail had to face up to the truth of my of my feelings and it was a long could read the read books to read a great book by David Levering Lewis called Prisoners of honour but the Dreyfus
That brought an understanding of the importance of truth and integrity which I never really hard in my life.
I've been a liar he Nassif all my life and then I met you I met through through this book.
I might Drive SS0 Christ what a great guy and man of integrity Honor courage.
That would love to be like him out now that sounds I just I was with a survivor and Legion experience gave me a robustness that I'd never had before and I kept myself clean by 18 months in amateur psychologists to persuading her job was to assess my dangerous and my risk to the public but if but the way she does her job with so considerate to me the human.
They responded well to her another 80 months you said you going to get an education as shown in image on bright and I can join up too thick for education 31 years old no.
None of the thick were all born Liverpool were all born with the potential to be to achieve what we meant to be in life.
I said you can make sure even you and I thought price so I tentatively join the English class in Cribbs Causeway I was in the home.
I was good English and sure enough it was still there and I've took the class in the prison of the high security prison so hard to be took the class in German I tell you any subject but I was good at English and they are so how did you end up right in a column in the Guardian I've been a fan of that comes up with you later.
Ok? I found this occasion.
It said to me.
I showed it to my victims to be to achieve as much as I could with the life of got left by that was the key for me that made me feel able to live.
English class that you want to the classes I couldn't wait to get back to Johns office on the wing and left wing this is a maximum-security dispersal prison the 85 make of a murder.
They were terrorists serial killers child abductors it we were the worst of the worst but I couldn't what's called category A we work as I was a cat over 5 years and we couldn't get back to her office quick enough to show a mites to forget that passed something I was little boys blue so weird.
I was not know, but having pride in your achievements to hurt.
You know when people believe in it whoever you are.
We only champion sports and she had never had a champion before 1 so I just to say I told you we all broadband level will have the potential to be the best weekend away from the area that passed exams to go through degree.
To me six years he wasn't all exams and education and I was on a major rioting long lartin prison the most then when the most dangerous prisoners in the country 1990 another Barricades went out the Sparks are flying if the claims of burning my next door neighbour was in for killing five people got a mask on his got a species, So I so I am I've got I've got my friends in prison were my books so I've got my six books sophocles.
I got to see disease and got my thesaurus Bertrand Russell history man with the spirit you say let's go and kill than answers.
Yeah, but still want to put the case and I got a table like to guard my cell that skillet leaders leaders with flippin eck.
We're going to go on landing.
Is not killing everything I will not done enough give me the IRA prisoners in Britain are present at the time and the highest ranking Army officer Brian Keenan was on my landing and he fair play to him kept all tokuda wants of the IRA wood and then they're only she's going on cos they were criminals of agenda.
You know anywhere so six months later my next door neighbour killed himself and full Sutton Prison he will never going to do with used only 35 years.
It was going to do it you know better, but those challenges of part of long-term prison life and I am thankful I was robust enough to have to whether those sort of thing that I became known as the guy that could write a good letter so I supposed to be somebody at my door asked me to write a letter home right April application write a complaint to the governor over a lot of IKEA
Displeasure writing complaint to the governor, but I just became you got writing groups and start because I mean I already come in the garden for many many years but I mean clearly the column itself was groundbreaking the fact that you were serving prisoner, but that the writing was incredible hours used to look forward to reading it because it really gave you to state the obvious that a sense of what it was like to be in prison because most people just have prison movies and TV and no one really knows what it's like to be in prison in terms of the emotional tone.
It would taken you really captured the Colour and the new ones are of what it was actually like that and I'm quite rightly worrying against the frustration of what I usually missed opportunity for rehabilitation of prison system is for you.
You look too young to have been somebody who read my console Radiohead
You know the years pass and write a newspaper the look for Christ sake we did most of his deserve to be here.
We understand the why we here but please newspaper writer tell the truth about Prison you know Christmas the role of these stories about the pension as a starving why the prisoners having great slap-up lunches slab of Christmas dinners you tell the public that we will live in holiday.
Camps you till the public so many you know so much miss information, so I should write silly till the truth about Prison we deserve to be a most of us, will you go to prison as punishment not for whenever even though whoever it is on that you asked me about how do I get into journalism writing a news presenter them look tell the truth of Christ sake or else and eventually a lovely lady called Ruth Picardy roof me just right for the shift Dan accounts of issues are out of The Independent and their motorbikes.
Tell us what prison is like outside.
Nautical prison life in a published in independent, who is amazing to see my byline headline.
I never gave them.
I didn't realise that they do I thought I'd write the headlines.
Who do they do.
It's great headline rough Justice in the jail birds pecking order Google it is still there an outline wow rough Justice at that made me console image of David jessel back in the day that TV show was great the great Justice planner colour is associated with my newspaper now call Louise shorter than shoes producer on that programme.
She now works.
She's got a thing called inside.
Yes, it's a charity and they pursue exactly in cases of miscarriages of justice for the pleasure of working with their Richard Ferguson QC gym, Nicola work for the Bridgewater for I don't know I knew what I knew to the big bridge waterfall in prison while Nicholls solicitor.
I didn't know I was about 12 years old.
Out of time arena in prison, they had a tough time and Michael hickey my god what he went through in jail was unbelievable.
I mean his you want is on the roof in Gumtree for 61 days in the worst winter without for years and his his experience actually noted by psychologist and and people who are interested in you know how how people enjoy your difficult circumstances.
He's a case study in how do you how do you enjoy that and he managed to Amber hours in Loughton with him and he was so damn I hope if he's listening all of them being nosey.
I hope his money in will now because he was such a young victim.
He'd been a bit of a Crook beforehand, but that was not there crime you know but anyway as I say I wrote to his papers and got a reply from with Picardy wrote Of Peace got it probably thought maybe could do this.
I was the guy that you're writing.
Better now by the national newspaper independent firing off then articles left right and centre and getting rejection after rejection after rejection events of the Guardian says they publish your PC 1998 four years later.
I've been in jail 14 years then.
I think this isn't this Can't Be fluke.
Maybe I can do this and then two years after that I get a new probation officer green chemist and visit me and says what are you doing? Yes alright.
I'm the guy that can write a letter articles published look at this my next door.
Neighbour's a writer.
Who is that Ronan Bennett Lorenzo a top-class? You know even there is top left now.
He was Top Class then novelist and it writes essays read his books so Richard went dropping my now and you know I say so.
I never in a final ik my route to run a card saying look at me Richard your next door neighbour.
I read your books fantastic six months later.
He wrote back and said im writing up a film about Prison can I come and see you so I am I clever Ronan Bennett didn't know then he was married to oil the partner of Georgina Henry who's the deputy of the Guardian this fantastic friendship.
I helped him with this film where a great correspondence and then I got a call to the prison about there being 15 years and got a call to say Cool Runnings Bennett urgently so I find obrona WhatsApp and he's a conversation with a litre at the Guardian Nyan Cat they wanted to serving prisoner to write about prison life for the Guardian is it you want to be a guardian columnist? Yeah? Well, I did say yes, but then I thought be careful what you wish for.
How do you do how do you do? How do you become a national account, from national baby? I just got the same problem every columnist as about playing with his wife you write Riley Ryan original fresh the week in Week Out the prison governor said never going to happen because I'm alright.
I said get another hobby.
No prisoners like to know about me know so I thought you were you might record repetition home office rusbridge are almost Bridgend in case they petitioned the office anyway.
I was given permission to write this thing by the prisoners minister, Pulborough sign because then after I look at myself in overnight 360 balls in the windows still rain falling prison unduly choir.
I thought what the flipping heck.
Am I ever going to write About Nothing Ever Happens it's the same day over and over who am I to write about prison life prison life all human interaction happens in a prison landing and artist.
Islamic thoughts and figure out how to do this our only three columns 800 words each and you know every column by with a pencil in longhand and they were exactly 100 words because that's what I thought the editor wanted.
I didn't realise I could dream of you if I made a mistake.
I could it all out and in writing exactly words could discipline you when you're on WhatsApp infinity.
What's the symptoms of sepsis well now.
There's no sub editors in a newspaper regarding still interesting words into my call me eventually at one of my favourite word is preternatural.
It took me about 6 years to get that into an ugly and paste the kids.
I write this column.
I don't blame them because I'm not in his if I know what it means but the river truth is I don't know what the best writers the right word.
Right car as an editor.
I would never let anybody say that unless they knew exactly what it meant and it should be there a modern again.
I still don't know what it means but I'm going to tell you because you after they're Hussain very is quite straightforward when I got my fellow prisoner at the first atomic me the first, Sandhurst newspaper the first commerce we had in prison in a magazine was piece of wine in Prospect magazine hear a record called The Prisoner anniversary writer still is so I got it from him.
If you would like to be like him, so I actually use those words better.
It's funny because once the minister gave me permission to write that column the governor brought the local deputy mayor of Evie of the local town into the prison is going to hurt myself.
This is Owen James rights regarding effective credit for something you was blocking.
But you like most people work in a prison Steve's a decent man.
I really was decent my baby's you know it's confounded and confined by what is my role with this prison do I give these people rehabilitation do I keep them in so they punished and I thought somebody someone like me convicted of murder doing 99 years plus when I sent you not writing a national newspaper.
How can I justify that to the public? How can I say that was his dilemma, but once the prisoner says it's ok, but there's a managerial element to be a governors or because again people just want you to save your life in prison as cheaply as possible to the taxpayer because through the bit you know nothing stupid you pay too much in the long run as a society that's true, and that's that I found in jail that you did doesn't need a lot of money.
What it means his attitudes.
Hope they don't cost money.
What cost money is in decent food doesn't cost a lot of money you know when I was in jail think it was like most muscley, as I was in it about 75p for that before my daily food intake so just for the record.
I'm not a holiday camp is the daily mails me to the nozzle awful man who first thing you said was no more holiday camps imprisoned no more books.
He didn't it was a mistake wasn't any tried to cover it up your night books because he wanted to come with me Sparky then pulled this repetition to say you know what do cats having another planet.
That's why I would have thought a little Mr and Mrs information for the public we deserve as a society where we think about me and my crimes and might you might think I should be in prison still going maybe you should think I should been hanged maybe I should have been but we give people a second chance in this country.
We let people out.
Now she can let us outlets out with a chance with some hope with it with with skills and abilities to function well, so that we don't people like I was don't cause more not more victims from people like I was in that's the crux of it and Bradley's presents holiday camps then especially for years ago the hell is places, but however hard you make our prisons I say this to the politicians some of his lung make it regardless of how differently to make it happen.
I'm not proud of much in my life, but I'm proud I am I made it through all that with the help of it as an army of people working at prisoners in a good decent teachers and psychologist.
There are some good prison officers and good giving us without them.
I never made it up and it will even that good governor who said no get another hobby.
You say goodbye Emmanuelle payment well, but it wasn't sure how to deal with this and that that alright.
Look for I can call the way in a hole and rotted like some a long-term prisoners do and so many people outside wouldn't have given us if I did that mean glad all is no one yellow down the hole, but no I want to make something that might now.
That's I call you said I liked my victims do the best I couldn't best I could receive whatever I couldn't live very mind was that a complete fail wifey for prison my big empty head was letting out with a light bulb about information and knowledge and skills and abilities and they became something I never imagined.
I would be in a duality door to the weather.
We think about people who commit crimes because like if I think of burglars.
I think yes, of course there's quite a few Rollins around but there's a lot of people that addicted to you know heroin and always my things we need to tackle those causes because they they they lead to in a substance abuse leads directly to acquisitive crime, but then my friend gets burgled or someone steal something from.
My car even though I can think about burger in the abstract and how we need to let you know improve recidivism and always, things that particular burger of me or my friend.
He wants horse whipping hanging punching in the face.
I want to kill him with my bare hands.
So you know when it's when other people have them victims of acquisitive crime.
I am prepared to think about things in the abstract, but not when it's me on my friends are my family I want Vengeance and and and is that that's what that the Daily Mail and that kind of genre is into doesn't anybody wants the same look look is that how we live that we the people who do these things barely rape murder kidnapping.
Do we hang them flop them and destroy them or do we use the prison system that we have to try and rectify the issues that driven them to be the harm causes of leg pain.
Is is the Y objective it is the other ring of people who have been convicted of a crime that you're
Mr murdering you know sunset and I hope you rot in prison.
I mean that is that actually do means me to think that not that I do think I've got it and I don't think as a society with really truly address that yet.
You know why because with a new leadership from politician has died are thinking about this in no way they don't they don't like murderers rapists paedophiles burglars drug.
Didn't like those people who cause harm and distress, but the toilet system that give us those who love people who commit the result of fences a facility and Environment where they can rectify those issues and be guided towards not living in a home causing way and they got the lowest reoffending rate in Europe always we've got the highest.
We've got a month of the highest when in fact having is the highest we we we don't really focused on rehabilitation.
We want to punish people who I'm with victims on this.
You know me for a victim of someone like I was it you want me to suffer your picture is not going to win votes.
Being supportive quotes soft order it's been tough is going to the truth is such a long time we going to make sure one day.
We want him to be a good neighbour will ever happens, so we're going to do this so that he won't do that again.
She won't do that again.
We're going to help them.
It's a challenge to help people Verges what are your kid something somebody's nicked your phone I punched in the jaw with your right.
You know what young adult or your your your purse somebody hurt you cause you stress cause you pain, how can you justify helping that that is the Challenge for it and individual a community or Society I can we justify helping that person but if we don't help that person to resolve the issues that drove the pain causing behaviour the impunity of come out of prison ill do that again? I mean I look at me 53 convictions before each other.
Wi-Fi signal help with 9 years old when I was 10 you should resolve those things I'm not blaming Society of blame anybody but objective I think please help these young people who are going down that path because I'm in so many people in prison who started like me relatively minor crimes and then dysfunctional behaviour and then violence and then is not check on that baby.
I am an activist and is supposed to have been for many years of the Howard League for penal Reform and then of course and their strapline is fewer prisoners less crime safer Communities all three feeding tweet.
This is not leftist you know she's totally practical is not about compassion assembly for prisoners wrongdoers is about how we use the resources.
We have tell us about inside time.
They did prisoners magazine of which are editor-in-chief.
World incredible in the world in alright, I never expected to become a newspaper columnist for the Guardian UK newspaper editor.
Yeah, going out of prison the freelance 4 years.
You're not making a decent living art of writing and commenting but prisoners and then inside time I was an avid reader of inside time as a prisoner and then when I got out.
I still not a subscriber like yourself poop.
So good paper.
There's 5 quid here inside town.co.uk you get an amazing bundle of information for the 3rd of October anyway.
I am I become the editor and my mission with Eric McGraw was a guy at start of the paper after Strangeways riot.
She thought prisoners don't have a voice so what you did he have to prison service, put a newspaper together and they're basically put 46 pages together cutting in placing order.
Interesting things for prisoners got them printed and sent to prison riseley crew and now we have 50 generic retire there 3 years ago having a 3 years 25 years and there wouldn't be at Worsley a mainstream national publication aimed at giving prisoners information and hope Anna and entertainment but also any because we are paper anybody is is this is prison eccentric, but it's not completely present century.
We are pay the ghost do MPs Jessie select committee moj every reason paper.
I want people to read I newspaper and understand more about Prison that's outside want people in prison to read it and think there's not been forgotten about yes, I was trying to find out if not been forgotten you know that they can't they can't I don't get wire in prison.
You can't and that's what I newspaper.
You know as we tried it without paper 60000 copies every month into all prisons in the UK if we get back 500 letters a week from prisoners with a grave really lively letters pages colour male bike with somebody who is best selling author nowell-smith, who are commissioning editors in prison? We've got a researcher Paul Sullivan who was in prison who does Allah reports and things are publisher John Roberts is somebody who is run businesses for years and it is always employed former prisoners got great admin team and making a fantastic little organisation here.
I'm on we do what we work as a team deliver the best.
We can for people in prison is not just they deserve to be connected to feel connected there.
She won't beans for going to say choir in prison or not and of course.
There are many people that deserve to be in prison and and should be there for a long time but must be there but that doesn't mean it will just forget that you have given them as human beings and and again that brutalising and that ordering is the thing that means that they are recidivism rates are so horrendous Ireland just got the miles off the coast of Southern Norway and I went there for the Guardian and for the BBC and for an Australian documentary team and I went over there not not knowing what to expect interview the with the governor is Amazon honey Nilsson what a fantastic guy psychotherapist who's in charge of the prison and he said that we do here we respect the dignity of our prisons are human beings without Christ why can't you do that in this? Why can't we do that? Don't worry about what you've done are there?
People if we don't respect them their dignity as human beings.
Why would they feel obliged or incline to get out of prison in be good neighbours be people who want want to do good in life if we if we treat them if we Crush them the ability of them grow them.
They come out of prison crushed debilitated corroded.
They're not people that you want to have as your neighbour.
You know they become angry bitter.
Even more angry could say more angry.
Why did as a kid and I came out much much more thing would say they're not to be criminal.
I'm in January I don't wanna see them again.
If I can help it.
I want to make friends with the most later on I see them again by them this the majority of people always enjoys is gonna be the same now.
At the desire to be changed me people jumping up and down with happiness and joy reducing being criminals murderers rapists beautifies burgers drug dealers, but it's up for some people.
They are the problems they have a so deep rooted attic.
They can't quite make that change that they need to make a course resources in prison so limited that you know the hard to help get left behind and someone like me who is fairly easy to help you know I get helped I had blossomed in jail in against the odds.
I did it was like goody goody about was that buddy buddy, and I was just somebody trying to find a better way to live how far fly you as a society that we're going to start to be more constructive about these things cuz in 1 cents.
You know you can't blame Teresa May because 95% of her brain time now in a thoughts must be completely dominated by brexit comes hasn't even got any time to think about you know I mean even if she did have time to think about non brexit things it's going to be the NHS Frontline policing all these can I things you?
You can almost sense the fact that you know prisoner rehabilitation is going to be 8710 her list prisoner prisoners constructively, it's not it's not a prisoner prisoner punishments by using our prisons effectively, how do I do that? There's a big open question for you? Will you do super fun with putting a prison officers in the prison to run a decent regime we make sure there's education facilities that people can access that moment we have we have some of that of prisoners.
We have an education department teachers their wedding teach.
There's not enough prison officers to get the prisoners from their cells with education department.
I just seems utterly ridiculous ridiculous.
I mean it's not not all like that one of my pages in inside time is good prison news.
You know the prisons in in Hull prison in Britain notorious if they don't know what they made it award-winning Gardens vegetable beds.
You know another prison Parc Prison in the Wales private.
No, they didn't amazing murals the young people than mules in the world.
There is good prison news, but as a society politicians have got to stop using prisoners as whipping boys for all the ills of society.
We have to just let prison governors prison manager that the prison service get on with it.
Stop interfering politicians night sweats when you just stop with the Swedish Intu the head of the Swedish prison service again about 3 3 4 years ago amazing.
I now joburg.
He gets a man that you get survey construction from the government had to get on with it.
There's no home secretary poker news headlines of prisoners.
How did it reach box stuff? You have the most unbelievably unique perspective on this don't you times of you've interviewed all of the top people in in the penal systems across the world you've done.
Prison yourself, I mean what an incredibly unique set of circumstances and and a platform upon which for you two to campaign on compare nipple, but one of them, please to come and speak to you about this by these issues and promote inside time because we are a great newspaper inside town.co.uk 45 buddy.
Yeah, it is such a situation to be in for myself.
I'm not going to lie to you challenging you know who wants to be a well-known somebody has been prison for murder.
You know I don't I don't want to be that person.
I don't be the public face of the rehabilitated.
Can't write about how I found my phone my thing to do in jail as a writer and it is taking me here but I've got about 10 15 years left.
I'm just going to try and do the best I can do the challenges are did just try and keep the same to society mysociety if you don't mind it is my Society you know try and use prisoners more effectively.
So that we with it with safer from people like I was as I do this not because I want to be like famous.
I will need a well-known an ex-convict.
That's the last thing I want to be a good writer as you know that takes a bit of work and I want to promote you know my newspaper inside time which is the most amazing newspaper.
You've ever comes about when you got have you got into some hot water didn't you over an untruth human being told her I just 20 years.
I think I could just little lever long enough to experience one sunny day outside but I didn't just do that.
I gonna on the sunniest August a measurable and I wasn't use an ex-convict.
I was a guardian columnist add contacts at people who liked Erwin James very mind Erwin James Monahan was my full name but been writing is Owen James to try and
A little bit distance between Monaghan the criminal Milngavie I was trying to put a bit I don't want to hurt anybody buy me suddenly appearing as some Media figure and his last thing I wanted but he want to hide completely so you doing James sounded good as an author name here now, so use that and I started to enjoy being somebody welcomed into conference keynote speaker at United chair a conference in Westminster but two years I have to go out and I had two MPs is my is my sort of speak out of chair.
They will speakers or something from Germany on a video link like an important person in Germany and I was conducting this whole conference about 200 people in there in Westminster and I liked it.
I don't want to be Erwin James Monahan the murderer convicted criminal I actually and so I could write this little bubble build up because I was doing getting invited you this out for the radio Times Are Over
All sorts of national press and then the news blogger started to find out with research me who is Owen James who did Owen James kill and that was William when I start your hard even more I have no upfront in jail but I was out in them in in the public.
Ire I struggle with that so I'd say thanks Lee Lewis store in the Guardian roundabout, turn it did the British the Foreign Legion do I take a more Brits because I do flabby so one of the other to settle you write a piece about you in for a leisure south of Christ if I do that that the blogger it going to I'm going to be exposed that was the Foreign Legion is him as him he's been so I did I I wrote a piece about a foreign legion and I lied about my when I joined it, so I joined in H2O Emma Preece I said I join 81.
I put it all back of year.
Was it a deliberately deliberately.
To TN22 small paragraphs but the extra mile home, but it's all true holiness.
Why did you backdate it when I was trying to put people off who would my crimes are committed I can bury my crimes in 1982 so I thought of ourselves and leisure 981.
I can't be me those who have a committee those crime scene is totally distorted thinking utterly totally naive and there's no need to talk to you to ask somebody the garden.
Just thought me as a valued colour missing journalist.
They didn't realise I was actually going through flipping heck with with all these thoughts about me in the public eye and a new boiler service in Beirut my unit when I joined the rep II foreign parachute regiment in Corsica my unit just come.
United you're just come back.
So I knew all about the the operation so I go I can I wrote about it with some detail not usually by anyway so embarrassing and what happened.
Well then somebody in Australia at some blogger went into the Times archive paid money to find out who a Leeds University from France from double money cos I turn up and they expose me on the internet and so I went straight to the Garden of so embarrassed do all the Editors Hood rainforest is I'm so sorry I said earlier to deal with racing you know most of them for gave me if is a genuine maricopa.
You've learnt your lesson idea about in a wonderful earning in journalism, and then you before if I'm honest and you before then the only way I was getting away with getting away with accepting being a journalist because I had integrity and I took them their mind that without pity trying to hide.
But it's funny thing is want to expose.
I thought I'm finished now finished the writer thinks the German this but no I wasn't I still still accepted you know that you just said people thought well, Christ you know I don't know I'm listen listen to the garden afterwards who were pretty vindictive.
You know one guy one wrote City should be still in prison at 18 years because you could have kept me for another 10 years and then what you know.
What do you mean get out and have nothing to offer even executed me I interviewed somebody for the Guardian but not 8 years ago.
Who is on death row in Ohio it didn't get over 22 years and then executed in 2 hours after I didn't viewed him.
I thought it's not what you want from a prison system.
Do you want people to come out of their functioning to make a contribution and try make amends? I mean cos I can never make amends, but I've been on death row itself.
Is it is it a cruel and unusual punishment fancy having that hanging over you for 22 years.
Developed if I recognised resonances were interviewed him.
He's gone in a ledger catered inarticulate just like me and then they read books give the lethal injection video camera helpful person 22 years later.
They killed him if he said to me and you said hey.
How's your spirit is not too good care about you are don't worry about me listen to be happy.
If so me and then they killed him.
How could he do that but anyway that's that's the way it was and it could happen to me didn't lots of people think it should I'm sorry about that.
You know I got sent to life I decided to live and do the best I could what's a typical week for you.
What does the editor of inside time do don't realise that you're not always just because you're not sitting at a screen.
You're still writing in here in your head.
You know damn.
I'm writing editing in my head all the time at my my week is bracelet.
Get up in the morning sometime before and they're more.
3 cm x 5 cm x 8 and I get suntan through my screen and I check the emails I look at contributors a look at pieces will be you know because we said it was still smoke weed out of a load of subs, so we all said together in it, so I check what the something's been and mutual Southern Cooperative designer designer Colin Matthews fantastic.
He made him work together quite closely publisher Paul John Roberts we still collaborate.
You know where I don't even message me if I don't I don't make the decisions that probably a lot of it is a national presence may you not we have an editorial team we work together and then you ain't works really well, you know we we we took our editorial meeting once a month reset round wicker wash down what we gonna do with plan ahead.
All the time we thinking I newspaper is the voice of the prisoner, but it can't be just prison voices it has to have yesterday capsule8 the wider world and we got to try and figure out how we put that balance together.
So when a prisoner in a prison cell receives a newspaper from the library you owe me that.
I was so pleased I got paper god you know I felt like shit, but now I'm feeling good cover got a bit inside time.
I mean that's really what about Paul unit we what we want prisoners to experience.
Hope my newspaper my mission when I took this job on three years ago was this end in hope to those places Owen it's been a hugely interesting and enjoyable conversation.
You've got an absolutely fascinating life story what you doing is incredible.
Thank you view time.
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