My First Night in Jail by Andy Thornton #PrisonsWeek

My First Night in Jail by Andy Thornton #PrisonsWeek

I will never forget the first time we drove through that gate,

Pulled off the bus to a world full of hate.

So much fear and panic I felt inside,

I knew I couldn’t show it, but I could’ve cried.

Pushed in to a room full of lads I’d never met before,

All laughing and joking, they already knew the score.

“What are you in for? Where are you from?”

If that door hadn’t been locked, I’d have been gone.

Before I could answer, a screw shouts my name,

I’m questioned and photographed; it felt like I’d been hit by a train.

Stripped naked and then told to squat,

That’s an experience I never forgot.

Still naked I had to go and collect my kit,

I’d been given a T-Shirt and trackies, not of which fit.

My bedding is ripped and my towel is full of stains,

In fact this whole place stinks of the drains.

Shoved back into a room with more lads I don’t know,

I fight to hide this fear I cannot show.

“Got any baccy or are you backing for drugs?”

Now I’m being quizzed by a room full of thugs.

My name is shouted again and I’m off to a wing,

When will this nightmare end, how did it begin?

We go through so many gates that bang and lock behind me,

Concrete bars and razor wires is all I can see.

We arrive at the wing and the open up the gate, I walked straight through

To be greeted by what I can only be described as a zoo.

The noise is so loud it can drive you insane,

I’m asked for my prison number, but can’t even remember my name.

Now I’m shown to a cell I share with a gorilla,

“You’re on the top bunk, don’t make a mess” he growls like Godzilla.

I climb up as quiet as a mouse onto my bed,

I’m scared to make it, so I pull a blanket over me instead.

As I lie in the dark, too frightened to exhale,

I realise this is just the start, just my first night in jail.

Andy Thornton

You an listen to Andy reading his poem

Andy is one of the founder members of our ACE project’s MAP Group (Men After Prison) and volunteers his time to support other ex-offenders leaving prison. To find out more about their work click here

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