I saw him today, he seems well but obviously is depressed and while he looks forward to his release, he knows that, as usual, upon his release he will be given £47 and a ticket back to Brighton where he will once again be homeless. A pound for every street he cannot walk on.
Whenever he is released from prison there is no 'plan' in place for him to be housed. It is bizarre - surreal even - going to visit someone imprisoned for walking on the wrong street in Brighton. I mean that with the best will in the world, with abortion 'doctors' walking free and easy, even financially rewarded, that someone who will be forever tagged as a 'social menace' can be banged up in prison for walking on the wrong street - or, even - the wrong 'side' of the street.
"I could understand it," he said, "if when I was spotted on the wrong street, I was harassing someone or asking someone for money or something, but I wasn't. I was just trying to find a quicker way of getting to where I needed to go."
For the grievous crime of finding a quicker way of getting to where he needed to go, he is now inside. Tolerance is a word banded around everywhere nowadays, but really, it is only tolerance for some in certain 'communities'. There is no tolerance for poor men who have nothing to do, nowhere to go (nowhere they can go), who have had ASBOs slapped on them which are then extended into perpetuity beyond reason or justice - only through expediency. My friend keeps saying how much he wants to be baptised - he certainly desires Baptism and desires Salvation. If God takes mercy on me and I one day after purgation enter into Heaven, I really hope and pray my friend will be there since it is very likely that only in Heaven will this man be objectively free in any sense of the word.
He looked around at the other prisoners who had social visits.
"More or less everyone else is here for shoplifting and stuff," he said. "They're all here because they're poor and have a drug habit or alcohol habit so they've nicked something from a shop to 'get well'. That's it. That's why they are here - because they broke the law in order to feed a drug addiction. It's insane, isn't it?"
It is quite insane, I agreed, but it isn't quite as insane as talking to a man in prison for walking on the wrong street in a world in which politicians launch attacks, legally, against little human beings in the womb with total impunity.
Say a prayer for him, poor man.