A NORTHFIELD man is one of two inmates serving long sentences who have spoken about their miserable lives behind bars to warn schoolchildren about the dangers of getting into gun crime.
Daniel Mason, who is 36, has been in prison for almost ten years for his part in an drive-by shooting in Manchester in 2010.
He didn’t pull the trigger but, under ‘joint enterprise’ rules, he was deemed equally culpable having driven the gunman from the West Midlands on the night of the shooting. He was handed a 20-year stretch.
He was joined by another man – Daniel Martin, from Handsworth – who was handed an indefinite jail sentence in 2011 for gun possession, robbery and conspiracy to commit GBH. He doesn’t know if or when he will ever be released.
Both agreed to be videoed at Oakwood Prison near Wolverhampton and hope their gritty account of what jail life is like and the events that let to them being sent down will steer teenagers away from gang culture and crime.
The pair are remorseful for their crimes and want school children to make sure they do not make the same mistakes as they did.
In the videos both men dispel the myth that prison life is somehow ‘cushy’ and that inmates spend all day playing games consoles, shooting pool and having fun.
Mason said: “I was in a Cat A prison with guys who are dong 20, 30, even 40 years.
“They were the baddest boys but they’d appear in the morning with red eyes.
“They’d been crying.
“They knew it (their life) was finished.
“I was getting distracted in school, being jack the lad, I didn’t get a good education and was kicked out of college after getting into a fight.
“I started to hang around with gangs, friends who were making money. I was loyal to the wrong people.
“Those people I thought were friends don’t come to see me in prison . You need to drop people like that. These people don’t care, I’m forgotten about. It’s all fake with gangs.”
His video can be viewed here –
Both Daniels are remorseful for their crimes and are trying to turn their lives around.
They are part of a mentoring scheme that sees them visit detainees in Young Offenders Institutes to offer support and guidance − and also play lead roles in a conflict management project designed to diffuse tensions behind bars.
Click below to see Daniel Martin’s video –
Birmingham Police Sgt Helen Carver thanked both men for taking part in the project.
She said: “The videos will be shown in schools across Birmingham from this month – they will be shown in small workshops, alongside mentoring, with the aim being to encourage children to make good life choices.
“These are really powerful messages from people who know what it’s like to get drawn into gangs and crime… and the shocking, life-changing consequences.”
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson, who funded the project, said: “It’s so important we find new and innovative ways to reach out to young people to prevent them from being drawn into violence.
“This initiative sees two inmates, convicted for some of the most serious crimes, actually work with the police to get the right message across.
“I’m delighted the two men agreed to tell their story from behind the prison walls, in order to deter other young people from committing similar crimes.
“There’s a real problem with violence in the West Midlands, and across many other parts of the country, and I hope this video can play its part in helping to keep our young people out of harm’s way.”