"Fifty-nine months, to serve half. These were the last words that I remember before I reached my new home - prison. As I was being transported from the court, the world was flashing past me both outside the prison van and very much so inside my head. An emptiness bigger than any void was surrounding me.
After arriving at the prison, I was shown to the nurse who put me under hourly observation due to my depression and suicidal feelings.
After nearly two months of not wanting to leave the safety of my cell, I slowly formed a friendship with someone who understood my depression and anxiety. He would also be the person to introduce me to Fine Cell Work.
I applied to join the class, but was not expecting to be accepted due to my depression, so I was happy when I was told I was allowed to join.
I remember the first Fine Cell Work group that I attended as it was the first time that I felt safe with a group of people. This was mainly down to the Fine Cell Work volunteers. Even though I had virtually no knowledge or needlework skills, the volunteers encouraged me at every opportunity to keep stitching.
The first piece I completed was six small butterflies, and I had a feeling that I had not felt in a long time - pride. I was proud that I had achieved and learned something new. This feeling was repeated again when I received a photograph of my work with the word "excellent" written on the back. Receiving feedback is rewarding to me, it makes me feel human.
The volunteers do more than just turn up for the group. These amazing people treat us with such humanity that every time they are here, I feel as though I am not in prison. They understand when I am having a bad day or I am not well and still take time to check on me and make me feel like an important member of the group.
I can honestly say that if it wasn't for Fine Cell Work and the support of the volunteers, I very much doubt I would be here today.
Fine Cell Work is a lot more than a charity. It is a connection to the outside world, a new family member, a support group but most importantly, for me, a life saver. I hope upon my release next year that I can pay back all the time and support from Fine Cell Work by volunteering, and working with them to change other inmates lives."
Become a champion of second chances and support our work, so that we can help more people like Mark to lead independent, crime-free lives. You can help us by making a donation becoming a champion of Fine Cell Work by signing up to a regular donation, or by making a purchase from our shop.
- Tags: Prison Stories