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Page last updated at 11:16 GMT, Monday, 14 July 2008 12:16 UK
Knife crime: One inmate's story
As part of a special extended programme, Newsbeat is looking at the experiences of those who have been affected by knife crime. Garry, 20, was sentenced to 12 years for attempted murder and is currently in Polmont Young Offenders Institute in Scotland. He explained what led him to commit the crime and described what life is like behind bars.

Polmont Young Offenders Institute

I was drinking a lot, I got in with the wrong crowd. I ended up involved in a stabbing one night, too drunk to even know what I was doing.

I got involved in an argument and it turned into a stabbing. I'll not be drinking again. Me and another boy got 12 years for it. I was 16 when it happened, I'm 20 now.

I never carried a knife, never at all. It wasn't even my knife. I don't know how I came about it. I was full of drugs as well. I was on coke, ecstasy, hash that night.

I've been in here for nearly three years. It's nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be. This is a holiday camp, that's what we call it. It's not a punishment. It's not really a jail. But once you turn 21, that's when you go to the real jails.

Hardest times

Polmont Young Offenders Institute
A typical cell at Polmont Young Offenders Institute

I'm locked up, I've no freedom, I can't see my family. There's a lot of things you can't do in here you can do outside so it is a punishment but it's not as bad as I thought it would be.

The most difficult parts are Christmas and New Year. Your family's birthday or your birthday, occasions like that. You miss your family round about you, your freedom, family gatherings.

At Christmas here, you play pool, you get competitions. The governor gives you sweeties and selection boxes. You go on the phone all day, phone your family, talk to them all day.

I spend my time watching telly, playing my Playstation, listening to music, whatever you want, read the paper. We watch telly, I mean we've got 20 channels, so there's always something good on.

Longer sentences

Polmont Young Offenders Institute
Garry described the institute as being unlike a real prison

I can be out in three years and I've already done three years. A long stretch like that, you'll not want to go out there and cause bother, that's long enough. The ones that are doing short sentences, they're not learning their lessons.

If they had longer sentences for people carrying knives - just carrying them - a couple of years or something, they wouldn't do it. Definitely not.

The people I was with, they just carry knives anyway for protection and that. It's just an everyday thing. Personally I don't believe in carrying knives. My pal had one. I never carry knives.

To put people off carrying knives you should definitely have a big sentence. If you give them a couple of years for just getting caught in possession, nobody's going to take them out with them.

I've definitely learnt from being here. You want to see your family. You can't see your family every day. You take it for granted when you're out there.

I've thought a lot about it [The crime]. You feel remorse and that when you're in here. You feel sorry for the person you did it to but it's done now, you can't change it. I just look forward to getting out, changing your life, turn your life around. Make a different life for yourself.

Garry was talking to Newsbeat's health reporter Tulip Mazumdar.

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