I was a sentenced prisoner – for the ‘crime’ of carrying the national flag – but there were also internees over in D Wing. I knew and was known to many of them and had illicit communications with them. As a result I was able to obtain supplies that other Juveniles could not.
I had sweets, butter and jam and especially cigarettes, the staple exchange-commodity of prison.
I was generous with these supplies and I treated all Juveniles as equal.
This link meant that I could escape the prison’s tobacco barons. These were people who would approach new prisoners with the offer of free cigarettes. The only problem was that they were not free: the debt would have to be paid back double on Sundays, when supplies would come in hopefully via family visits. One could end up forever in the grip of these tobacco barons. Not me.
The screw in charge of our tier was called Dickie Dawe and with my supplies, I formed an exchange relationship with him too. Dickie knew what I was doing of course and participated. Any time I was due for a cell search – and they were frequent – Dickie would come in before it with an empty cardboard box. I placed all my supplies in it and he secreted it in his prison warden’s locker. Then nothing would be found in my cell search. Later my property was returned.
My generosity was paid back in time. A few years later when I was back in prison I was met in the exercise yard by a number of prisoners who had been Juveniles with me. At once a whip-around was organised for my benefit.
Again I had no need to worry about shortage of cigarettes.
…….. more later ……