Too many prisoners rejoin society with no education, stable housing or job prospects. No surprise that more than half reoffend within a year.
I was walking through Soho with a friend, an ex-con from south London now in his 40s. Suddenly what looked like a pile of old clothes rose up from the pavement and hailed us. My friend stepped back, shocked. “Bullface, is that you?” The tramp drew close. His expression lit up as he recalled the past—the gangs, gun battles and daring robberies of crack dens in the 1990s. Then, still smiling, he moved off, trailing a dirty duvet. My friend watched him disappear. “Back in the day,” he said, “Bullface was Top Boy. He had the fast whips and the girls. Us little youts, we all respected Bullface. He was the man. Now look at him.”
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Published 4 December 2019