Criminal Classes

A complicated poem in some ways that I’ve been working on for weeks. It is firstly berating those who, having spent time in disgusting conditions in prison, merely seek to forget the experience and make no effort to work for prison or justice reform despite their shocking but rare experiences. Finally, however, it berates those who, though they have no such experience, act as if they knew all about prison and have developed the insane idea that it’s too soft! They are actually supporting the philosophy of the criminal classes who view imprisonment as an occupational hazard and pride theselves on the amount of filth they have put up with, as if they have been doing their National Service!

Criminal Classes


Every month of freedom that peacefully passes

Gives me new means to express some word

Lest I become the bane of the criminal classes

The social media and the completely absurd

One would think ex-prisoners would have an open mind

Or consider the system as objectively unkind

And bring new ideas upon justice and prison

But for many, though free, their minds they close

Perhaps through stress they lack any vision

To themselves, it seems, no questions they pose


As we struggle to be heard above the deafening din

Of those who clamour for ever more vengeance

We wonder when real reflection will begin

On the utility of the ever-lengthening sentence

But, of course, we forget that the system’s not made

For the near-innocent or merely in need of aid

And the legal world is manifestly not built

To render service to the ill-accused

Or those who refuse to acknowledge their guilt

They are mere fodder that may be freely abused


Let me end this ridiculous, raucous rant

Without knowing, really, whom to castigate

From amongst the thousands who puff and pant

Who care not a jot for the prisoners’ fate

And read of riots in the gutter press with glee

Who cannot the futility of incarceration see

And feed hypocrisy through their erroneous prattling

They are not just issue of the uneducated masses

Of deficits of democracy or sabre rattling

They are clear contributors to the criminal classes