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Issue 5 - May 1972
Ashford Remand Centre
Following your account in the last issue about remand rules here's an account of what I experienced in Ashford Remand Centre in Middlesex.

I was not allowed to read what I liked.

I was given notepaper and an envelope, but I was not given a pen although I pointed out to an officer this face. So I was unable to write a letter.

I was not given a copy of the rules and I never saw such a thing while I was there.

All my possessions were taken away from me and I was made to wear a prison uniform. (I was allowed my tobacco tin, an officer having pinched a packet of cig papers presumably for his own use.)

I was given about 60 seconds to select a book to read, from a shelf consisting almost entirely of crime novels.

I can honestly say that I have seen better quality food in a pig trough.

I was interviewed by someone on Saturday morning (the day after I arrived). He asked me if I wanted to work - I said no. I asked him how I could contact my friends to see about getting myself bailed out. He told me that I was not allowed to contact anyone. He told me that he'd make arrangements for me to see the welfare officer the following Tuesday. I would have had a nervous breakdown long before Tuesday. Luckily for me a friend got me bailed out that afternoon.

I had been taken there from the court with no idea where I was going, how long I'd be there or why I was in fact going there (I thought I had been bailed out at the court). I had no idea what had happened to my friend who had been charged with me. It was months before I recovered and I still have nightmares about the place. None of the other 20 points were mentioned to me. It's amazing. I was innocent of any charge and, indeed I had not been found guilty of any, and yet I could have remained there with no rights for a week, a fortnight, or even longer. Punished for being suspected of a crime.

Here's a quote from 0Z35, page 13. 'Four weeks or four days in Ashford is like a year in a pigsty, to coin an appropriate phrase. You eat shit, you get treated like shit, and you feel like it when you finally get out." I still thank Jesus that I was only in there 23½ hours.

I could write about it all day but I'll just say that I was not compelled to have a haircut. But that's probably because I had short hair.