Kevin Lane Surviving Recall - Will, I Ever Get/Stay out of Here?
'Recall' a license condition that agencies of the criminal justice system often abuse. The ever-growing numbers in prison are a result of being recalled. So indeed, this must act as a catalyst for home office review. I have found myself a victim of this abuse, with legal aid reduced to a skeleton budget, challenging a recall by way of a judicial review is almost non-existent these days. The police, in my case, received four separate requests for information relevant to my recall via the parole board and such without success over the last year.
Recall timelines are almost a figure of one's imagination; executive release means very little. I have witnessed my fellow interns languished helplessly, marooned in prison until the wheels of justice turn to their hopeful release. I am treading water aimlessly, staring at four concrete walls twenty-three hours a day, during this lengthy COVID-19 lockdown.
For some, this sends them stir crazy; prison assaults and nickings have risen. For others like myself, I experience years of 'bang up' and cope better than most, in that I refrain from having a television and utilise my time reading and studying. None the less were all made different, and each of us will handle being locked up in their own way befitting to them.
A significant factor in relation to recall rests with your probation officer. If you are fortunate enough to find a probation officer, whereby you form a working relationship, hopefully, you will be managed accordingly without recall, unless it is inevitable. However, if you have a probation officer, whom you are gridlocked with, you are doomed, as your fate is in their hands. I appreciate it is human nature that, in some instances, you can clash with people. If that person you clash with happens to be your parole officer, then misfeasance in a public office often occurs. License conditions are often abused with no recourse.
For example, my work takes me away a lot, the length and breadth of England. I needed to drive to Newcastle for a business meeting. I was told I had used up all my quota for overnighters with work. It was expected that I left for Newcastle at midnight to arrive on-site for my 7 am meeting, conduct a full day's site visit, and spend the rest of the day driving home in time for midnight. As a company owner, if I instructed one of my staff to do a day visit in the same draconian measures in which I was told, I would be sued and liable for a health and safety case against me. Nevertheless, why was my probation officer allowed to give me this ultimatum? BBC News recently highlighted how probation officers abuse their authority concerning recalling people on a license, and I strongly feel this needs to be examined in much more detail.
A lifer has the hangman's noose wrapped around their neck, and we navigate the everlasting threat of having it tightened daily. If a person/s are, for example, screaming in your face in a road rage, we must think, this is a 'red flag' situation, and I must use the tools that I have learnt to defuse this volatile situation. Regrettably, sometimes in life, no words or gestures of calmness will make absolutely no difference to a person/s if they have passed the moment of self-control. So, if this person or persons invade your comfort zone, you must decide what to do in that split second. Inevitably if you strike in self-defence, you have used instrumental violence, and the consequences of your actions will be deemed very badly for you. As a result, 99% of the time, you will be recalled to prison.
Real-life problems do not always marry up with offender behaviour courses, in many instances and not when you are threatened and in a fight to flight mode. I have been recalled for 'common assault', and as my Queens Counsel expressed in court, it is a non-custodial offence. However, because I am a lifer serving a 99-year sentence, I have been recalled; my recall facts are simple; the victim was drunk, and I was sober. The victim kicked, punched, and ran a car key up and down the side of my brand-new vehicle that I had recently purchased, causing £2000 worth of damage. I exited the vehicle and during the course of events threw the victim, this demonstrated a lack of control of my emotions, thus showing I did not use the tools I had learnt on the courses completed on the prison offender behaviour courses.
Recall for prisoners is incomprehensible to their imagination as I would never picture myself back here, after five years of a clean record. I challenged my frustrations of being back in prison through publishing my book "Fitted Up and Fighting Back", this has been featured within my parole representations, highlighting the fact that I have used my time in recall constructively. For those of you who are on recall, look for the peg to hang your coat on to get you through your time, whether it be reading, studying, exercising, or playing an instrument by way of example.
Kevin Lane, A5636AE, HMP Highdown, High Down Lane, Sutton, SM2 5PJ