For the first ‘Real lives, real people’ feature, we spoke to *Jessica from Liverpool, who’s partner is currently in prison throughout the Coronavirus crisis.
Below *Jessica tells us a little about her story, as well as some prejudice and challenges she has had to overcome.
Although her name has been changed, please remember her story is real.
Can you tell me a little about your connection with prisons? Is it yourself, a partner, friend, or other relative? Can you tell me a little about what happened?
Partner, Unfortunately wrong time wrong place wrong people. He has realised who is and isn’t his friends after this and will hopefully learn from his mistakes. Was the situation a shock? Or did you know it was going to happen? A bit of a shock yes, as it’s hard knowing the one you love is so close, yet so far away.
What is the main prejudice you had to deal with? How has this made you feel?
People try put me off him, saying he’s going to do it again etc. but he isn’t a bad person. Deep down I know this was a mistake and we will come out stronger for it, but it does make you feel hurt knowing everyone around you is doubting it.
What is the biggest, or most difficult thing you have had to deal with as part of your journey?
This pandemic, the other person involved was due to have their trial in April which would affect his sentencing, and it’s now all been pushed back so much more, and he’s been in since late last year. Due to circumstances, this won’t be taken off his sentence so we’re doing almost a whole year for no reason which breaks my heart.
What has surprised you the most about this experience?
I’ve learnt a lot, that I’m stronger than I thought as I didn’t think I’d last a week with him in prison, but it gets easier. I’ve also learnt that no matter what you shouldn’t give up on someone because of a mistake they have made, whether it is big or small. It’s made me realise people deserve second chances. It has also made me a lot more patient with people. I am selfless now as I put him first everyday but yeah, it’s made me a better person.
If you could send a message to those who have judged you, what would you say?
There’s a lot people don’t see, but if they did see it all they wouldn’t say half the things they do say. Don’t judge until you have been in the same situation with the one you love.
If you could say something to someone who was starting a similar journey to yours, what would you say?
Visits, phone calls, photos and letters, every single form of communication you can, do it because they’re not likely to tell you if they’re having a bad day, and sometimes a random letter in the post or a photo of you smiling happy etc., will being them joy even if they don’t reply to it will mean a lot to them.
Stay strong, keep anything between you two just to prove to them whilst they’re alone in prison, you are the only they can 100% trust and depend on.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Just don’t give up no matter how hard it gets.