ANDY BURROWS: George Michael has said that he deserved to be sent to prison last year for crashing his car while under the influence of cannabis. It was his second conviction for driving while unfit through drugs. He pleaded guilty, and he was also banned for driving for five years. In an interview with the BBC, George Michael said he’d received letters from a number of people including Elton John. (TAPE)
GEORGE MICHAEL: He wrote to me in the nick, which was nice, and so did Boy George – wrote me a lovely letter – we spoke in the last couple of days. George got through to me on emailaprisoner.com, which I thought was fantastic. You pay five pounds a letter or something, and anyone that you know is in prison you can write to. (LIVE)
ANDY BURROWS: Well I was intrigued by that, and earlier I spoke to Derek Jones. He’s the Managing Director from that service, emailaprisoner.com, and I asked him, is the £5 a message claim that George Michael made there absolutely correct. (TAPE)
DEREK JONES: No. It’s only 25p a message, but people normally pay £5 top-up, as per with a mobile top-up phone.
ANDY BURROWS: So how does it work?
DEREK JONES: Basically, anybody that has got access to a computer can log on to our website, emailaprisoner.com, and create an account. Once they’ve filled in their details, and their prisoner details, they are then able to send an email, as opposed to writing a letter.
ANDY BURROWS: So do you need to know the prisoner’s name number, or anything like that, or even what prison they’re in?
DEREK JONES: Yes you would need to know the standard information, ie the prisoner’s name, number and the establishment they’re being held in. Yes.
ANDY BURROWS: And how long has this been going, and how succesful have you been so far?
DEREK JONES: We started operations at the beginning of 2007, with one establishment. Since then we’ve spread our wings, and we’re actually at over 100 establishments now, meaning that people who have access to computers can now maintain healthy family ties with prisoners.
ANDY BURROWS: Why did you start it? What prompted you?
DEREK JONES: It was actually self-experience. I spent a little time in custody, and realised that there has to be an alternative way to maintain contact. Letters, and relying on the postal service, wasn’t the best way or the most efficient way to maintain those strong family ties. So after being released from custody I set about getting the service off the ground. And after knocking on a few doors, and a few more doors, we finally got the OK. And as I say, our service proved so successful, the majority of the prisons in the UK and Ireland have taken up the service. (LIVE)
ANDY BURROWS: Derek Jones that was, from emailaprisoner.com.
Email a Prisoner