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PRISON BRUTALITY

Written by Charlie on the 10th February 2007


I’ve experienced and suffered prison brutality at its very worst. Here are five I’ll never be able to forget. I could give you dozens … scores of incidents, but these five will give you some idea of what violence is all about!

You need to ask yourselves "Who guards the guards?" It’s been happening for all time and it never goes away. Only last year in Full Sutton it happened. It happened because I am the target.

Now days it is the young screws who are after a "name". "I DID BRONSON!" but it’s never "TWENTY of us did Bronson!"

Even some of the screws are disgusted with the brutality and some Governors will do their utmost to stop it. But for guys like me, with a history of rebelling and being a prison activist, it’s never far away. I’m forever walking on egg shells.

Bare in mind that I may have upset a screw thirty years ago and he is now a Governor or a big-shot in prison HQ. It’s only common sense that he’s out to make sure that I never get on … or get out. It’s called "get-back time." But one thing is for sure; that I also never forget. The only difference with me and them is that I do it alone. I don’t need a gang behind me. I’ve never been a coward and I don’t know what it is like to be one.

After all is said and done I still respect screws. I have no problem with any screw who does his job properly and most are just people doing a job. But it’s time the cowards and bullies were booted out once and for all and men like me are left to serve their time in peace.

Accept facts … I’m ready to go home.

Just read "The Loose Screw" by Jim Dawkins and then wake up to the reality of brutality in everyday prison life.

WANDSWORTH 1976

I had just arrived from Wakefield. I was naked and in a body belt. The van pulled up outside the Seg Block and I was carried into the a gauntlet of screws. The governor read me the riot act and told me what to expect if I started anything in his jail. Just days later it kicked off.

It was at my cell door with a hospital screw and half a dozen block screws (not one of them under six foot) and all of them had steel toe-capped boots on having a go at me. It was pure intimidation at its worse (or best) and I just steamed into them. I got as many punches in as I could before they done me. By the time the alarm bell went it was just like a cowboy brawl that you see in those old films. But the alarm brings scores more. In Wandsworth it’s known as "The Locomotive". Boots on boys! The very sound of those boots running, getting closer, is a crazy feeling. You know that you’re bang in trouble.

I was a human football. I was kicked and punched into oblivion. I awoke in a pool of blood and couldn’t move. My entire body was numb … black and blue. I had toe nails and finger nails ripped off and my head felt (and looked) like a balloon. I was pissing blood for a week after.

It was while I was in that state in Wandsworth strong box that a large brown envelope was slung into me with the words "EVEN YOUR WIFE HATES YOUR GUTS!" It was my divorce papers.

PARKHURST 1978

It was just one of those days. You wake up and you just know that you have a bad day ahead of you.

Taffy Davies was a loud mouthed screw who nobody liked. Even the other screws hated him. To me he was a typical bully boy … a total coward if he was on his own, but always first to kick you in the nuts when you were down. Him and me were never gonna see eye to eye coz I can’t stomach cowardly bullies. It was only a matter of time before I was gonna punch his lights out.

Well, he was digging me out and getting right up my nose. We had had words and I had warned him off, but he just kept it up, prodding me, pushing me. I was starting to see him in my dreams and it was only a matter of time before it blew up.

It happened on a Sunday. How I remember that after all this time is simple: it was Corn Flakes day. In them days we only had Corn Flakes on a Sunday … and it started over them. It was also a day when I didn’t want any trouble, as my sister and auntie were coming to visit me. But Taffy wanted it and I gave it to him.

He was serving the milk into my bowl and deliberately poured it all over my hand. Accident? Impossible unless he was pissed. That was it for me. Whack! That whack ended up with a few dozen whacks and more. But every whack I gave him cost me a hundred back. Boots, sticks, fists all reined in on me. Even after I was in the strong box it still kept coming at me. Dozens of them queuing up outside the cell to give it to me.

They finally left me unconscious in a body belt and ankle straps. I felt like I was dying, my heart was pounding so much in my head. I just felt myself slipping away.

But it did not stop at this beating. They then began their psychological torture on me. That drove me mad, kicking the door every 15 minutes, keeping the light on, spitting on my food, putting scouring powder in my water. Dirty clothes … smelly blankets. No books. No papers. TOTAL ISOLATION.

TEN to open my door. TEN to watch over me to the yard. More intimidation. Jumping me for the sake of it. Stopping my visits and my letters. Everything was getting very paranoid. Everything was on alert. Until I finally went mad and lost control totally. They certified me insane and sent me to Broadmoor.

That’s what can and does happen, believe me.

RAMPTON DECEMBER 1978

Until I landed in this nuthouse I never knew the real meaning of madness. On my first day there I got smashed to bits and felt their "liquid cosh".

In the 1970’s in both prisons and asylums drug control was a way of telling you who was boss and I had more injections in my butt than most. To me it was torture and totally illegal. Nobody should have drugs forced on them against their will. The prisons banned the Liquid Cosh in the 1980’s but the asylums kept it going. Places like Broadmoor and Rampton experimented with drug control and I was a guinea pig. To me it was and always will be immoral, illegal, brutal and inhumane. It was even more diabolical to me as I was totally anti-drugs and there they were shooting me full of these psychotropic chemicals.

My first day in Rampton was one never to forget! I was jumped on by half a dozen "nurses" … screws there are called nurses but they are in the POA (Prison Officers Association) and they wear boots. So, to me, they are screws NOT nurses. Anyway, they jumped me, bent me up and put me in a bath of freezing cold water and proceeded to beat me with wet towels. What sort of nurses do that? Sicko screws whipping me with wet towels? Fucking pervs! They punched and kicked me all the way to my cell. That was my first day in sunny Rampton.

Then I was drugged up with their psychotropic tranquilisers! This is ENGLAND 1978! MY COUNTRY! What a nightmare come true!

Over the next year at Rampton I was constantly abused with the Liquid Cosh. My weight ballooned up and I suffered with serious side-effects from the injections. But I had no say in it. I had to take whatever drugs the prescribed for me.

SYMPTOMS: Blurry vision. Dryness of mouth. Endless bouts of the shakes. Constipation. Constant tiredness. Muscle spasm attacks. Sleepiness. Memory loss. Trying to stay awake at ANY time was a huge effort for me.

Believe me, you NEVER forget it. What they did to me is no less than what the SS doctors in Nazi Germany subjected many of the Jews to. They used me as a human guinea pig … an experiment … and it made me into what I am today: a survivor.

SCRUBBS 1994

This was probably the most cowardly of all the attacks on me by psycho screws.

Around this time the Scrubbs Seg Block was extremely brutal. It was run by a team of brain dead screws who had too much power and were seriously out of control. It can’t be denied, as it all blew up many years later and the truth cam out. Some of them were convicted for their brutality.

With me it was a case of "Show Bronson who is boss!" and it was a totally unprovoked attack.

My Dad had just died and I was in a state of shock. I felt that my whole world had just fallen in on me … buried me ... and I just went right into my shell. I couldn’t speak and I couldn’t accept that he was gone out of my life for ever. The screws got very edgy and paranoid about me.

The morning they set about me I was busy slopping out and was about to walk back to the strong box under my own will. I was in no state for a confrontation or any violence. All I wanted was some space and time to myself to reflect. But all I got was violence. They jumped all over me and bashed me to pulp. They smashed me with sticks, ripped out my 'tash and kicked me senseless. All the time screaming and shouting abuse at me. They were totally out of control, like a pack of wild animals.

Days later they slung me in a van and moved me to Wandsworth. An old PO there, Mr. Wells, was so disgusted at my injuries that he had me photographed. My lawyer at the time, Maggie Morrisey, also noted my injuries: toe nails off, finger nails off, black and blue bruises all over my body, cuts, black eyes. Just the normal injuries sustained after a very sound beating.

But they had done something a lot worse than smash me up … they slipped a letter under my door from my Dad, a letter he had written weeks before he died but they had withheld from me. That letter gave me so much grief. No beating could have hurt me as that single act of cruelty. And every screw that beat me that day is still in my mind. I will never forget you and what you did to me. "Pray to your God that you never bump into me on a normal prison landing or outside" was all I could think, "because I will repay you for what you have done to me. You are all just SCUM!"



RISLEY 1984

I arrived there drugged up from Ashwater Asylum. I was in a right mess. In reception I could barely stand. A lot of what I’m recounting at this point is a bit blurry, but I was later told by fellow inmates exactly what happened.

I was carried into reception and slung on the floor. Water was thrown in my face and I was grabbed by the legs and dragged through the corridors on my back to the Hospital Wing. I awoke the next day covered in bruises, laying in sick and blood and I could hardly move.

Apparently I was given oxygen that night to revive me (I was told all this by inmates the next day). It seems I was drugged and beaten and lost consciousness. They panicked and put the oxygen on me. That’s how close I was to my end.

Days, weeks later I was still walking around in a daze. It seemed like a dream and I suffered a total loss of memory. But my body told the story for me. I was just a mass of cuts and bruises, every one a testimony to their brutality. Even one of my testicles was four times the size of the other one. I had also bitten my tongue (how and why I still don’t know).

I learned a lot about The System over that episode. Fear causes paranoia and The System feared me. I knew from that day on that I could easily be found dead at any time. A "mystery death". I wouldn’t be the first … or the last. But one thing is for sure: every one who knows the real Charlie Bronson would know that it was murder!




© This story is copyright Charles Bronson & Mal 2005-2007. All rights reserved.


If you wish to use any of the material contained on this page then write to Mal for permission.


Please visit: www.freebronson.co.uk

 

Let's start with some of the facts about Charles Bronson:

Born Michael Peterson, his name was changed by his fight promoter in 1987. It had nothing to do with the actor Charles Bronson's film "Death Wish" as is usually reported in the newspapers.
He is now 54 years of age.
He has NEVER killed anyone!
He has now spent 32 years in prison, 28 of those years have been spent in solitary confinement.
He has been subject to both physical and psychological brutality throughout his incarceration.
He was originally sentenced to 7 years in 1974 for armed robbery - a robbery in which no one was hurt.
He was released on 30 October 1988 and spent 68 days as a free man.
Released again on 9 November 1992 and spent 53 days as a free man.
He has not been allowed to mix with other prisoners since 1999 (HMP Hull CSC unit with 5 others).
In 2000 he was sentenced to LIFE with a three year tariff for holding a teacher hostage for 44 hours - a teacher who was not physically harmed by Charlie.
He has shown no sign of violence for the past five years.
He has been certified as clinically SANE.
His art has occupied him for the past ten years and is now his life.
His artwork is unique and is sent to all corners of the world.
He has published TEN books.
He has received numerous prizes for his poetry.

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF LIFE

Written on the 27th January 2007


A couple of weeks ago I asked Charlie to write down his daily routine and send it to me for the website. The following is the result:


Rise 6.30 a.m.
Bury head in cold water
10 sets of 50 press-ups
10 sets of 50 sit-ups
Walk up and down cell till breakfast at 8 a.m.
Shave head and face
From 9 a.m. till 10.30 a.m. I create art
Read, write, walk up and down till lunchtime 12 noon
Listen to Radio 5, relax, read my letters, answer some
2 p.m. to 3 p.m. 1 hour exercise: press-ups, sit-ups, stretching
3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Yard, I jog then shower
5 p.m. Tea
6 p.m. I make phone call
6.15 p.m. A pint of tea
7 p.m. to 8 p.m. More press-ups, more walking up and down
8 p.m. t 10 p.m. Lots of creating art and poetry
10 p.m. strip wash
Lights out for James
Life in solitary is normally 23 hours behind the door, apart from if you're on visits, etc.  I can go months without seeing another con, and that's how it is. Peaceful, free of prison politics and totally your own space. Years of this become a way of life. I know little else. But you must be very determined and actually work out your routine and stick to it, as it's so easy to let go and become lazy. If you allow that to happen then it's all over. Depression and anxiety will creep in, followed by hopelessness.

A solitary existence can and will bury you if you allow it to ... it's caused the death of a lot of poor souls. I've learned to ride it and use it to my own advantage. You could say I have become "The King of Isolation".

I'm the guy who could be on a desert island and be free and happy and survive and finally die of old age. I must do a book on "Solitary Survival" and how to beat the loneliness.

Once you overcome the boredom and claustrophobic conditions of a cell the you're over the worse.

My cell is actually a cage. It has two doors: the outer door is solid steel and the inner door is an iron bar door ... like a zoo! It's 14 feet long and 8 feet wide and 12 feet high. It's my house, my life and, at times, I feel like I'm a tortoise ... like I'm in a shell. And I've made it my domain, my little house. I never put photos or pictures on the wall and my reason is simple: I don't believe in comfy home comforts or it brings on institutionalised feelings! I prefer to keep it as a cell and myself a prisoner after almost three and a half decades of living behind a locked door, with 28 years of them in solitary conditions.

I still hate prison and all it represents, but my dreams are freedom and my soul is alive, so I must be alive and kicking


© All material on this website is copyright Charles Bronson & Mal 2005-2007. All rights reserved.
If you wish to use any of the material contained on this page then write to Mal for permission.

 

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