Last week a had a throwback moment. I decided to get a taxi from the station to the prison for my mentoring session (I did this a lot ten years ago).
Conversations with taxi drivers always offer vignettes on worlds I don’t often encounter and it felt worthy of note due to the contrasts.
I’m familiar with the ‘throw away the key’ brigade and have learnt tolerance and the art of listening and respecting other’s views. So it was with interest that my third generation south Asian taxi driver shared his feelings. He felt frustrated that people couldn’t make the best of their lot and turn their lives around. Punishment featured quite heavily.
On further probing he felt that prisons should probably offer more holistic support, education, mental health support and confidence building. It was extraordinary – in the space of a 25 minute journey he totally changed his position to one of frustrated and empathic tax-payer.
On the way back, a woman told me about a mother she transported to the prison a week ago. From Newcastle, she’s had to find £300 to travel, stay over and visit her son on a Saturday at a remote prison in a part of the country she had never been too. As another mother, the taxi driver was visibly upset by how this must feel.
I love travelling by taxi and train!