The Man In Prison for Walking on the 'Wrong Road'

A friend of mine is back in the slammer. His crime? Well, he was discovered walking on a street from which he is banned. This is one of the 47 streets in Brighton and Hove from which he is banned. He got six months for walking on the wrong road, but he will be let out after three months if he is good in prison.

I saw him today, he seems well but obviously is depressed and while he looks forward to his release, he knows that, as usual, upon his release he will be given £47 and a ticket back to Brighton where he will once again be homeless. A pound for every street he cannot walk on.

Whenever he is released from prison there is no 'plan' in place for him to be housed. It is bizarre - surreal even - going to visit someone imprisoned for walking on the wrong street in Brighton. I mean that with the best will in the world, with abortion 'doctors' walking free and easy, even financially rewarded, that someone who will be forever tagged as a 'social menace' can be banged up in prison for walking on the wrong street - or, even - the wrong 'side' of the street.

"I could understand it," he said, "if when I was spotted on the wrong street, I was harassing someone or asking someone for money or something, but I wasn't. I was just trying to find a quicker way of getting to where I needed to go."

For the grievous crime of finding a quicker way of getting to where he needed to go, he is now inside. Tolerance is a word banded around everywhere nowadays, but really, it is only tolerance for some in certain 'communities'. There is no tolerance for poor men who have nothing to do, nowhere to go (nowhere they can go), who have had ASBOs slapped on them which are then extended into perpetuity beyond reason or justice - only through expediency. My friend keeps saying how much he wants to be baptised - he certainly desires Baptism and desires Salvation. If God takes mercy on me and I one day after purgation enter into Heaven, I really hope and pray my friend will be there since it is very likely that only in Heaven will this man be objectively free in any sense of the word.

He looked around at the other prisoners who had social visits.

"More or less everyone else is here for shoplifting and stuff," he said. "They're all here because they're poor and have a drug habit or alcohol habit so they've nicked something from a shop to 'get well'. That's it. That's why they are here - because they broke the law in order to feed a drug addiction. It's insane, isn't it?"

It is quite insane, I agreed, but it isn't quite as insane as talking to a man in prison for walking on the wrong street in a world in which politicians launch attacks, legally, against little human beings in the womb and soverign nations with total impunity. Obviously it costs the 'great British taxpayer' money everytime my friend is brought before a judge for walking on the wrong street and it costs the same taxpayer money to put him in the slammer and keep him there for a few months to 'teach him a lesson', but hey, its all worth it to keep the social menance of 'intolerable' poor people off the streets, isn't it? 

Say a prayer for him, poor man. If you would like to send him anything, like well wishes, something devotional (he cannot read well), a ten pound postal order for tobacco or some new trainers (he tells me he is size eight) contact me and I'll give you his address and details.

Comments

Pétrus said…
Why is your friend banned from 47 streets in Brighton?
The Bones said…
Begging and drinking. His ASBO was meant to end last year but they just continue it forever.
Pétrus said…
Laurence I find it hard to believe that your friend would be banned from 47 streets just for begging or drinking.

Was he banned for breaching the Vagrancy Act (1824) or the Public Order Act (1986)? The Public Order Act only applies to begging that causes harassment, alarm or distress?

If this is Jason I have personally seen him harassing people on the streets in what would be perceived as an aggressive manner. As Catholics we have a duty to love all especially those in most need.

What we mustn't forget is that we also have a duty to protect people from those who would do them harm.

Has your friend (Jason or not) done anything that might cause upset or distress to innocent people?

There is no ban on public drinking in Brighton. There is however a ban on drinking that is anti-social.

I really agree with the majority of your posts however I think on this you are being unfair to the police. Your friend isn't in prison for walking on the wrong side of the road. He is in prison for repeated breach of his ASBO.

I know plenty of homeless people who do not have ASBOs because they don't engage in aggressive or antisocial behaviour.