“Morning Red” Steve the shift manager waved to me with his caring brown eyes wide. I chuckled, they called me red because of my ruby red curly hair. It wasn’t natural obviously but I loved it and the nickname.
“Morning Steve!” I smiled back at him going into the corridor that held my office.
“Ahhh Fleur you're in early” Lilian my assistant spoke as I met her in the corridor. She huffed her blonde fringe out of her eyes as she looked into a stack of papers.
“Morning Lilian, you good?” She followed me into my office and smiled.
“Yep. I’m just looking through your diary for today it’s pretty packed.” I threw my jacket off and turned my computer on.
“Really? How many appointments?” I had sat down now and was staring at her.
“Ten we have today, the first lot are guys you’ve seen before and have a week left.” She paused looking at the list. “Last is, new guy, three months,” I nodded at her.
“Thank you my love. I better get a coffee then hey? Want one?” She shook her head.
“No I’m good thank you” she scattered away. I huffed as I picked up my mug and went into the small staff kitchen, leaving my office. Why was Lilian so worried all the time? She gave me really nervous energy and I wanted us to get along. I had worked here for five years straight from university and had only just been given the luxury of an assistant recently but I wanted us to be friends. She just seemed terrified, maybe this place wasn’t the best environment for her. I would have to write in my diary time to chat to her one on one. This wasn’t the job or place for everyone. I smelled my coffee as I sat down and logged into my emails. Nothing super pressing, some good news stories and a report about my last appointment today. I scanned it, drinking my coffee. All new clients I received had to have a report sent by their case worker. They usually were pretty boring and this one didn’t seem much different.
“Joshua Campbell” I said aloud while taking another sip. “Wow you’ve done some time Joshua” I mumbled to myself, finishing my coffee.
“Sorry Fleur, your first appointment is here” I looked up at Lilian.
“Thanks Lilian, I’ll go and grab him.” She started to walk out the door. “Lilian” she turned back around. “Are you okay?” I said standing up, she just nodded. “Are you sure? You don’t seem very happy here. Have I done something?” Her face dropped. “No, god no Fleur I just” she paused looking down. “I didn’t see myself working in a Prison. I’m just getting used to it all.” I nodded in agreement,
“It takes some time to get used to for sure. You will get there. Then it becomes just a normal office.” I chuckled.
“Yeah I suppose. At least I’m not like you, I don’t actually have to talk to them” she exited my office and I felt my face screw up. Them? Wow Lillian. Maybe don’t apply for a job in a category A prison if you can’t handle it. I shook my head as I walked into the corridor.
“Michael come in!” An older man looked up and smiled at me.
“Not long to go now Fleur” he said coming into my office. I chuckled.
“Not long at all. Sit, tell me have you sorted out living arrangements?” I listened to Michael talk and took notes. I had only ever worked at HMP Suffolk and to be honest I loved it. After completing a counselling degree this was the first place that would take me. My family and friends panicked but I saw these men as normal clients, dare I say some even friends. I counselled men who were within three months of release to help them integrate back into society. Eighty percent of my clients were long time prisoners or individuals that had been in and out of prison most of their lives. They just needed that second or third chance. I was able to help them with that journey. Don’t get me wrong, I saw many prisoners come back after months of counselling. There were a few that made it and that is what made my job worth it.
My meeting with Michael was short, he was due out in only a few days and now we had helped him with his living arrangements. He was sorted and ready to go. As he left my office I smiled, I definitely believed he would be one of the ones to make it. The rest of my diary and my day were of prisoners who had less then a week before release. Most of these men had finished the end of their sentence, very few would be given early release due to the nature of their crimes. Michael for example was a murderer. I had many stories to tell at dinner parties and always got a shocked response but I didn’t let it bother me, I wasn’t there to judge them.