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Mr Ordinary Goes to Jail

With special guest:

  • Wil Patterson
    … in conversation with Bill Kable

Mr Ordinary Goes to Jail is really a story about choices.

Some choices we hope we will never have to make. Once made they have significant consequences. Wil Paterson found himself facing temptation at a time when he had financial pressures at home and he made a fateful choice.

Wil was at work on an ordinary day. Part of his job was that he was expected to cancel his employer’s cheques when the payee had not been located.

But on this day a returned cheque for $5000 made out in his own name came across his desk and instead of cancelling it Wil decided after a few days to deposit in his own bank account. If it happened that once it could happen again and again until in the end $300,000 had been taken. When Wil was caught, the feeling strangely enough was relief even though he knew it would be the end of his life as he had known it.

Sometimes we do not know what is going on beneath appearances as was the case with Wil Patterson who described himself as Mr Ordinary. The money taken had disappeared supporting his unaffordable lifestyle which strangely enough did not draw any attention among friends and family. When his big secret was finally revealed Wil went from being an ordinary working husband and father to being an inmate at various Victorian prisons. The beauty of this story is that we all get to know what it is like to go to jail without having to experience it for ourselves.

Wil learned some lessons the hard way and he is happy to pass them on to us. How do you get on with some hard-bitten characters without getting hurt? What is it like to lose your freedom and then regain it? Can any good come out of our prison system? Is the real reason for prisons punishment, rehabilitation or just to keep some people off the streets? What is really important in your life?

Wil tells us that he was able to maintain his relationship with his son over this period and has now been able to settle down with a new partner and a new satisfying job. It is great to be able to join him on that journey.

Wil Patterson

Wil Patterson was living in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs when he was arrested for insurance theft and sent to prison with a sentence of three years.

Wil still lives in the outer east of Melbourne with his partner and son. He says his experience in prison has taught him to be gracious and calm in an all too often hectic world.

Wil now works in the funeral industry and says what he learned about people in prison helps him in his job every day in situations of high emotional stress and with people in crisis.

Song selections by our guest: Uncaged by Zac Brown Band & How to Make Gravy by Paul Kelly

Listen Now (mp3)

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