Remains of the Day – 19

14 Mar

George has a 2pm appointment with a Captain Jacobsen of SSAFA; the prison’s Veteran’s assistance charity.

2pm comes by.

2pm goes.

Its 3 pm when a female screw with no knowledge of my cell-mate’s itinerary or even of the well established organisation SSAFA, swings by. Disinclined to add to her clearly rigorous work load of plodding about, she goes no further than tolerating (And that is a lavish overstatement) a grunt fueled conversation through the closed cell door. Her attitude, was sadly not reflective of only a minority of screws here. She is amongst friends in her communications approach.

Recently a deluge of complaints by the Wing Orderlies, was met with them being taken to an empty room and then lectured at by the Wing Governor. The ringleader of the complaints, was shipped out to prison far removed from his family and one of a higher category. The prisoner’s had used the system of redress they are offered and were then punished, with an abuse of it. This Sh!t goes on today!

Is this the ‘Mightier than thou’ virtue that stands apart from hypocrisy that the law-abiding tax payers of the UK think their prison managers should be setting. Highly paid and poorly skilled, the results speak for themselves. A good workman shouldn’t blame his tools, isn’t that what they say. So what’s not working here then:

Prison.

Or the Staff that run it.

Cuts are here to stay, maybe silver lining may appear from the midst of strike action.

Whatever you think, bored, poorly educated people, denied daily washing access, forced to eat in a shared toilet, vindicatively treated by those we pay to manage them, for using their few remaining rights: not exactly all the elements for successful rehabilitation. I wonder if these words will flick a light switch on in someone’s mind some day. Moaning about prisoner’s having old second hand playstations they paid for themselves is missing the point. Maybe a politician should spend a week inside to be better informed and more socially aware. Oh right, we’ve done that, now we don’t deem them to have rational thought anymore and slung them out of the Commons. Still, if society denies ex-cons a real second chance, at least they do it for the former ruling elite too. Its equality over here in the black sheep pen, a proper Utopia! Envious? 🙂

Fear Factor

Inmates don’t like sticking complaint forms (COMP 1) into the little yellow boxes made available on the wings. It’s the general consensus though not necessarily truth; that inmates feel forms are binned and actively ‘Lost’. It’s a poor state of affairs, this climate of cynicism needs to be neutralised before the seperatism grows greater. Riots were born in environments like this.

3.45 comes by and a knock comes. A long-awaited knock for George, on a day defined only by sitting down looking at walls and an arched grey ceiling. He heads off to his meeting, excited by this interruption in his day and armed with a list of questions he can deluge this friendly face with. The most pertinent question of all being his lack of Categorisation.

In the meantime, I introduce a new worker Ibby (Counterfeit Clothing) to the perks of the job, before taking him in the direction of kitman and long time repeat lag, Mark. Mark had only moments before been the subject of an intensive cell search. It is unsurprising then we meet him while he is frantically offloading everything from washing tablets to spring water. In fact the spring water was one of those water fountain refills, it’s massive. He’s been getting people to bring by any plastic bottles they have. Blue beakers, the lot – I was there when he half inched it; I swear he does it for the thrill. He’s a tight as anything too, maybe that’s why they gave him the job as kitman, but being a wing trader, his wheeling and dealing leaves many of us without items we should be in receipt of. I enjoy seeing his self constructed pandemonium.

He will likely be searched again later. He’s nuts and he brings this upon himself, he lets screws smoke in his cell and then they spot the presence of half the Wing’s missing list. The screws are not allowed to smoke in the public areas and have to go to designated spots outside on breaks. Instead they get round the restriction on their nicotine intake by courting favour with lags who ARE allowed to smoke in their cells. On other occasions you’ll find a Screw sneakily puffing a roll up in the top floor shower room. Nice smell to take in, while you’re having a steaming hot shower!

I get back to the cell an hour or two later. George is there, feet up smiling, looking into the middle distance. It turns out, the ex-serviceman charity is in the same office as Categorisation……

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4 Responses to “Remains of the Day – 19”

  1. Rupert March 14, 2012 at 9:37 am #

    Or make prison tougher.

    I imagine myself serving a sentance somewhere like Thailand and coming out of prison thinking F##k that, im not doing anything wrong so that I am not sent back in.

    Reading your account, all very interesting BUT it doesn’t sound tough at all.

    Do you imagine if you spent 10 years in a prison in Brazil, Syria or Venezuela you would be less likely to re-offend?

    If I were sent to prison in the U.K tomorrow, Yes I would be nervous and worried as you were, but ultimately I would be okay and play my playstation and stetch out on my bunk and just pass the time reading and writing – not easy, but far less difficult than one of the other prisons of 30 men to a small dirty rat filled cell 🙂

    Keep writing, am enjoying your blog!!.

    • disgracedbanker March 14, 2012 at 10:22 pm #

      I guess its relative to your environment Rupert. Its why in spite of the harsh prison environments in countries of South America, violent and regular crime are a daily issue. The toughness is having no effect there.

      Thanks for your discussion point, all feedback welcomed. Take care

  2. Kate March 14, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

    What a sad place HMp is my partner is spending time there at present and the while thing has me up the walls, thanks for your daily blog it’s good to read and always puts a smile on my face xxx

    • disgracedbanker March 14, 2012 at 10:22 pm #

      Great Comment to hear. Its why I write this, for you guys. The Prison Widows

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