Books for Prisoners by Angela Caldin

I’ve been thinking a lot about prisoners today, in particular about the fact that they can no longer be sent books (among other things) by family and friends. I’ve been wondering whether, if I was a prisoner, I would care about being deprived of books or whether I’d be just as happy passing the hours of incarceration watching TV and vegetating. The Ministry of Justice announced changes last year which prohibited prisoners receiving parcels (except in certain specific circumstances), including those from family and friends. One reason given was the danger of… Read More

Teeth: Neglect and Guilt; an Offender Confesses, by Angela Caldin

Funny, isn’t it, how we take our bodies for granted until certain bits stop working for us, at which point we are swamped with regret for not looking after them better. This truism applies particularly strongly to teeth, which react to persistent neglect by crumbling away and eventually falling out. I am guilty of having neglected my teeth on and off over the years and it was therefore with great trepidation that I screwed up my courage to go to the hygienist the other day. As I sidled sheepishly round the door… Read More

My kingdom for a moral compass or Will I ever stop being naughty? By Emily Smart

Crime and punishment My six year old son Rudy came home last night with a letter he had written at school that I had to sign. I didn’t know what he was talking about until he broke (it didn’t take much persuasion), confessing that he had been naughty in class and his teacher had made him write a letter as his punishment. I read the letter, the gist of which was that he had put pen on his friend Roman’s ‘teeshert’ and that he was sorry. The letter ended with, ‘Roman can… Read More

For God’s Sake by Trevor Plumbly

My schooling was pretty basic really: the three Rs, with a bit of Geography and History chucked in to break things up, took care of the basics. But there were, of course, oddities: PE for example seemed to be a futile attempt to transform a mob of unwashed and undernourished slum kids into pre-teen Greek Gods, but the real zinger was Religious Instruction; what this hour long yawn was supposed to achieve is still beyond me, it was quite clear to me at an early age that there was no way Jesus… Read More

On Being a Parent by Angela Caldin

A young mum said to me the other day, talking about her children, ‘I can’t wait until they’re 18 and then I won’t have to worry about them any more.’ She said this in all seriousness and first of all I thought that perhaps I hadn’t heard right. But then I realised that her children were small and that her worries were those associated with small children. She had no idea that as time went on and her children grew up, the issues would change and become more and more intractable. I’m… Read More