I was brought into the world of Vox almost entirely by accident. I’m very lucky to have some wonderful neighbours, and live in a tenement property with an amazing sense of community. The neighbours were invited to a gig that Alison was running, and we all popped along to the Briggait en masse to support our friends. I had no real idea what I was about to experience, but what happened was the beginning of something quite significant for me.
I’d grown up with what I’d considered the standard, good old-fashioned values drilled into me as a child, that prison is for ‘baddies’ being locked up to pay for their crimes. I had experiences in my career as a trainee doctor that did little to dispel this view point, as most of the of them involved people brought in under arrest to A+E, and causing no end of hassle. Criminals were different from me, they didn’t share my values, and I couldn’t understand them.
My first Vox gig was the beginning of the shift in my stand point. Suddenly I was shown that people who are in prison are not ‘baddies’, they’re people just like me, who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, in perhaps an unfortunate frame of mind, and circumstances aligned that sparked an ‘event’, that authority would consider an ‘offence’.
Vox over the years, having attended more gigs, and joining conversations, has opened my mind and made me question whether the criminal justice system really works at all. It seems very draconian, unforgiving, merciless, and very much lacking in humanity. I hope that my professional interactions with prisoners and ex-prisoners have now been more focused on compassion and support, and I thank Vox very much for challenging this posh, cloistered, private school boy into the quiet revolutionary for rehabilitation and reform.
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