With the courtesy of The Prison Phoenix Trust I'm sharing this letter from a prisoner . I found very inspiring and all the more reason this government needs to invest in the prison service.
"From HMYOI Polmont I ’m 14 months into my first ever sentence and I’m finding it really, really hard. Three weeks ago the guys from chaplaincy told me about the Friday afternoon yoga classes so I put my name down. To my surprise I actually enjoyed it.
I have been every week since and do ways of coping with prison life. It is definitely working for me. From HMP Greenock I really look forward to the meditation and yoga part of your newsletter; also the controlled breathing practices. I have always had trouble sleeping in prison, and am serving a three and a half year sentence with 14 months left to go. I have been following the yoga and meditation and I have found I sleep more easier and longer than before. I also feel as if it has been benefiting me as in the mornings I feel more alert and rested since doing various combinations of these exercises.
From HMP Sudbury I am now two thirds of the way through my sentence, but my life isn’t on pause. I continue to rise just before six and begin my day with yoga and meditation before going for a three km run around the grounds. It means that I start the day in a positive way and that helps me carry it through; able to help others when they need support, which in turn makes me feel better that I’ve made a difference, no matter how small.
I have learned new skills in plastering and horticulture, written a book and quit smoking. I have read lots of books that have taken me to other worlds and increased my knowledge, and am currently learning to play guitar. Soon I will begin a TEFL course provided by P.E.T. In years gone by I travelled through India and most of South East Asia. Once my licence has expired I might have the opportunity to use it to teach English which will help to supplement my travels.
My father passed in January. I have nurtured a spider plant from a small shoot to a thing that now fills my window. On the morning my father died, little white flowers came out on it for the very first time! I’m grateful to the prison for giving me the opportunity to attend the funeral. I’m serving three years for a crime I didn’t commit. The first part of my appeal was granted last year. The panel heard the final stage in January and have not yet reached a conclusion so I wait to see if Prisoners’ some of the meditating moves I learned while I’m sitting in this room.
I never thought I would come into prison and start enjoying reading books and doing yoga, but I do. It’s something I would like to take up when I’m eventually out. It is very de-stressing, calming, relaxing and takes my mind away from being in here. I forgot who I was and what I stood for, what my hobbies were for a long time out there. I’m hoping I’ve found my feet again."