Extract From Kevin's ' Remaining Human '
H.M.P.WORMWOOD SCRUBS JUNE 1987- JANUARY 1989
So there stood I, twenty-one years old, caged for life. Never will I accept this crime against my name, surely when they realize the truth they will set me free? How naive my mind was then as I stood in a cell within the hospital wing on suicidal watch, for it would not do if one newly sentenced were to dispose of oneself, thus cheating the cutthroats of justice and their retribution.
Then I had a real problem with the mere sight of authority, I thought them offensive to my sight, thus acted as such, I thought it an offense to acknowledge my name in case they thought me familiar. I totally and utterly went against this authority, I should not be here to be oppressed nor addressed by figures of suspicion. I was lost in a wail of protest lamenting my tale of grief to letters and letters, and more letters. Authority then began punishing me by placing me on charges, or G.O.A.D.: Good order and discipline:
I would not and still do not to this day take any interest in the conditions of the cells I am entombed within. To me a cell is a shell, cold and bleak, not somewhere one makes comfortable, others did, but not I, I could not, thus my cell started to breed contention and for me became a statement of my innocence. "I will endure," that was freedom alight with warmth and joy. But then I was far from comfortable, lost was I in a mist of isolation, but content and secure in the strength of my protestation.
I would take great comfort in attending mass on a Sunday and eventually with the help of a great man, Father Hugh Sinclair, began to take a more stable approach in my protestations. I started attending the chapel a few times a week and started playing in the choir, no, I was not perceiving myself as an angel. It was just silent warmth that comforted me in many ways that was needed at that time. This man with the help of one of the Birmingham 6 sort of took me under their wing and began changing my approach, trying to scale my wildness down a bit, for I fully admit I was wild in my insistence of innocence, but I knew no other way. I told them I was innocent, but they listened not, rather they used it against me, thus authority was blaming me, labeling me a liar.
I began to delve deeper into art as for me it was an experience of enlightening, a means to express myself in ways words or speech could not do. I used mostly prison sheets as canvas. To me it was a symbolic thing that strengthened my resolve to fight on.
Bang the door would bust open, letting in a black mist of uniforms with their rubber boots and plastic helmets, down the segregation I would be dragged and rolled then restrained in a cell awaiting the Governors adjudication, more punishment. Often then I would write out my explanation on the back of the charge sheet with a bit of watered down jobby. I never told them at first, rather must confess it a wee victory watching the Governor holding the charge sheet with my filth between his fingers. I know it was an abnormal thing to do, but then I thought it perfectly acceptable. I just made sure I never put my self in a position where I would have to shake his or her hand, which never occurred being the rascal I was our hands were off limit to civility.
Poor Father Hugh would always come down and see me, regardless of what I may have done; he was a great strength to me, a true man of God.
About this time I was told that I would have to serve at least 30 years and not to think I will ever be released. This I really found hard to come to terms with, in reality it blew my mind and sent me into a spin that lasted so many years. 30 years, I just could not comprehend such a length of time. A few months later I was made a Category A prisoner. I think looking back it was this more than anything that set the path that I traveled. I was never given a chance whatsoever. As far as I could see I was being buried alive for this crime I stand Innocent off. It is hard to actually put into words just how this effected me, only that it did, very deeply at that.
The system then was more intent in breaking my will than trying to listen to what I was trying to get across. I really do not think they knew how to deal with a person who was persistently protesting his innocence. I would not shut up about it and voiced my concerns from the moment of waking up to falling into slumber at the death of night.
I began to hear authority tell me that I will never be released. This has been something that has for so long been an infringement of my human rights. I will never be released? What is the reason behind this statement I wonder? I want to know why this became the standard response every time I said I was an Innocent man. Is this the official line of the Home Office? That a person claiming innocence can not be released? Or was this introduced to try and scare me into accepting this conviction in the hope that if I conform I could one day be released?
It was at this time that I first set eyes upon the face that was to become the woman of my life, a person who was to become my wife. We met at the church, even thought nothing but silent vibes surrounded us it wasn't until a while later while I was at another establishment that we finally became one. The first I saw her my heart knew the potential that was apparent to our hearts as she felt it also. True love in the midst of such deprivation. Who says God does not have a sense of humour?
My ways were still deemed wild and indeed they were, for it was not long after that I exhausted the patience of authority one night when I went a wee bit more wild than I usually was, resulting in a disturbance that was long after remembered.
"go on, do your bird you fenian bastard, "echoed around my head as I was frogged marched through a gauntlet of authority. Into a van I was put, off on another adventure to a destination I knew not, one being a "Cat A' prisoner one is not informed of when or where one is being moved too. I lobbed a grog of spit through the air to land upon the person behind the voice that scorned me; I could not do anything else as I was double handcuffed. That was my departure from the Scrubs, we never did see eye to eye there, authority and I. Journey to Albany under deck