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  • Writer's pictureTheVoicesOfEndure

The company you keep

Endure has recently launched its Project X knife crime prevention program. Callum a young person who was one of our very first mentees inspired our Joint Enterprise awareness element of program. Although Callum is currently serving prison time it did not stop him from wanting to be involved. From his prison cell in HMP Swaleside he wrote us this letter to educate and inspire other young people to make the right decisions.

This is Callums story.

At night this prison gets really quiet and the only thing to keep you company are the memories that play in your mind over and over again. I remember hearing someone say “men lie, women lie. Numbers Don’t” I never understood what they meant. Women have lied to me my whole life. I know my Dad definitely lied to me when he said he’d always be there.... But numbers? Hearing the amount of years I’ve got on my sentence I’ll be long gone before I get a chance to lie to anyone again. I didn’t choose to stab him but I carried a knife when everything has been taken away from you, your prides the only thing you have so I needed to protect it. I tell you now that’s not what life is like inside , nothing you see gang banging for postcodes will ever amount to the type of crap you see in here. You have to protect your neck.The closest thing I ever had to prison was a few hour detentions for smacking up some idiots in maths, and even when you get deep trouble you get excluded, and then your back in school, mister big man boasting getting respect from your boys. That don’t happen once the feds start sniffing around everyone you thought had your back goes really quiet.

My advice to you, is watch the company you keep.

I remember word for word what the judge said “It is agreed that we do not all share the same norms and values but in society every individual should know right from wrong. A law was clearly broken when James was lured to a quiet alleyway by Louise Sommers on the pretext of an arranged meeting with her cousin. You Kristian Murray, you Callum Bailey and you Travis Denter all engaged in a vicious attack upon James Anderson and confronted him once he was there. You Kristian, based on the evidence were armed with a Stanley knife. Evidence has proved that that was the weapon that eventually killed him. Although you, Callum, and you, Travis were not the assailants, in my judgement that does not matter. You are both convicted of murder on the basis that you knew perfectly well that one of your number was armed with a knife, which might be used to attack James with murderous intent. It was in those circumstances and with that knowledge that you all took part in the pursuit which ended in the needless loss of yet another young life. Whether or not you were all members of a gang is unimportant. What is undoubtedly the case is that you were all part of the gang culture. I have to set the minimum term which you must each serve before you may be considered for release on license. The starting point on each of your cases is agreed to be 12 years. You Callum and you Louise are of previous good character, You Travis as you Kristian are not of good character. Despite the disparity in your ages I intend to treat you Louise, you Kriss and you Travis equally. The minimum term in each of your cases is 12 years. However you Callum have been sentenced to 15 years.

Once you’re behind them bars, you start to think, who’s to blame for me being here? Whose fault is it? Is it mine for being there ? That dirty snitch, for telling on me? Me and Travis shouting Kriss , “do your ting Kris” pushing him one word at a time?

Life... I guess I’ve got all the time in the world to think about that now. When you've always had something, you don't appreciate it as much.

The judge did say something that made sense; he said we all had a part to play, even Louise. I mean, when a fight pops off, before you know it, you’re the first one there, it’s just a bit of entertainment. But you got to be careful; you don’t know where it can end up. You think the person getting bruised up will walk out of their house with a bruised up lip and you and the boys can crack up, but know this one ended up dead. If only I could go back, I do anything to change it, what I said, what I did, what I didn’t do. But no, now I’m stuck here looking at four walls asking myself everyday if I’m a murderer what does my mum think? Before I got caught up in this, I wanted to be something, make my mum proud, I wanted the world to know who Callum Bailey was... but not like this. You don’t have to have the knife in your hand to be convicted of murder. If you are with the knife man you too could be found guilty of the killing. This is referred to in the law of ‘joint enterprise’

Joint enterprise in English criminal law refers to the situation where two or more people are involved in a crime and are jointly liable for that crime. It enables entire groups of people to be prosecuted for murder. Just like me!

Think about who you are with and what they are planning to do. The advice is simple. Don’t carry weapons, know who your friends are and make positive decisions. Watch the company you keep. It’s up to you to make the right choice.

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