Why was that?
It might have helped that I was mentally prepared for it. I knew the consequences of dealing drugs, I knew what might happen and I had plenty of friends in prison, so I was aware of the risks. On that first morning at High Down, I took two steps out of my cell, looked to my left and saw a mate of mine from school. He showed me the ropes and introduced me to everyone, which made the first week pretty easy. Cans of tuna and shower gel are valuable commodities in jail, and he made sure I had plenty of each.
For the first 14 days I was on ‘basic’, which means you have no access to the radio, no TV time. You’re given the most basic of prison food – it’s literally just you, the toilet and your thoughts. It was probably the first time I’d ever been completely alone to think and the only time I’d ever properly evaluated my life and where it was headed. For the first time, I had a completely clear mind so, in a way, those first couple of weeks were like a reset button. After that, an average day would consist of eating, sleeping and maybe going to the gym. I read an amazing book called Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki. I used to ration myself to 20 pages a day so I had something to look forward to. Otherwise, it was just hanging out with the other inmates.
And how were the other inmates?
There are a lot of egos in prison. Some people might have found that hard to handle, but I had grown up and seen violence first hand, so I knew how to deal with that sort of character. I’d spent time with other dealers, with users and junkies, people from all walks of life so I applied the same mentality and tactics to the inmates. You have to know when to assert yourself and when to stand back.