Monday, 6 June 2016
Prison Essays (8): Prison officers
Prison officers in England and Wales are central to a hideous, foul, punitive system which is corrupt, barbaric and clandestinely criminal. It is in these unnatural institutions where these brutes in authority create their own constitution and often subject prisoners to unjust punishment. The prisoner officer is the soldier fighting a war abroad; a police officer in the police cell; criminal gangs who inhabit pitiful slums. All these commit crimes with impunity. But more particularly, the prisoner officer engaging in physical violence, verbal bullying and generally terrorising prisoners are more likely to escape without even a caution because the environment is their constitution and nobody is aware of such menacing practices.
This appears like a scandalous thing to say, and it would be if it was false. Before being outraged by such remarks one must ponder the following: that prisoners, have every inch of their lives, during incarceration, of being dictated to, terrorised, manipulated, bullied by lunatics in uniform.
But even if officers patrolling a particular prison were the most amicable and congenial people that ever mosied the earth, what then? No matter. The prison population would still be subject to harsh practices from the state. The benevolent officers would only “implement” such things and in not doing so they would not be doing their job at all, so the culpability is not theirs. For example, if a prisoner decided to go on a strike of some kind, a hunger strike perhaps and persuaded others to follow the same course of action, and was discovered by these benign officers and duly reported, the prisoner would be charged with “starting a mutiny” and/or starting a riot, thus rendering many more years in prison for nothing more than organising, perhaps like trade unions would do and indeed do. This would be the equivalent of banning every trade union in the country and every protest group. Quite unthinkable.
For the prisoner who is subject to an indefinite sentence, this amounts to psychological torture or even warfare. The reason is rather simple. An indefinite sentence, of course, in prison terms, is when the prisoner does not know when they are going to be released, and they have to rely on their jailors to write pleasant reports, and not to make things hard or difficult for them. So often these prisoners spend their whole time in jail, treading on eggshells, and ultimately are terrified when they come into contact with officers of any description. What if the officer lies in writing up a report or many reports? What then? Bad reports translate into many years in prison, and this is the ultimate nightmare people face day-in, day-out. It is worthy of an Edgar Allen Poe tale.
Prisons in Britain have strong parallels with U.S post-war hegemonic imperialism, in that it attempts to thwart independent actions, and in this case, thinking. None of this is really permitted in prisons, and it attempts to take the individuality out of the prisoner and render them all Winston Smith's. This amounts to gentle brainwashing and thought-control. It is a system of vengeance, which in many cases breeds contempt, and is all rather hazardous.
The prison officer has no independence of any sort; they are not free men and women, in fact they are far less freer than prisoners themselves, on this face of it this may appear foolish; but it is far from foolish. These officers who stroll around their constitution, jangling their keys, are in total bondage to the state, and their minds are totally disabled, disabled of any liberty, freedom and freethinking. They only echo idiocies that are lectured from the criminal class. They are in no danger of thinking anymore, because they are given orders and they obey these without questioning the abhorrent criminal system they are part of. It is fortunate for the current prison population that these people are not ordered to rape, torture and murder victims in prison.
Most prison officers discriminate against their victims and their bias is as clear as anything. Yet there are officers who possess favourable characteristics, and ought to be applauded. These are the types of jailors who are often male and over fifty. They regurgitate advice and philosophise on the future of the prisoner, and encourage them to lead a good life and induce them to be good citizens and improve their character, their lives and their future. These sorts of officers are perhaps the most important people these prisoners will ever meet on their miserable journey in prison. They may tell the prisoner, man is not born evil, but that you make your own decisions and sometimes they are not the correct ones and ultimately leads him into all sorts of trouble. They do not judge or condemn but only wish them a good life and to prove to their community people have the ability to change. These prison officers ought to be saluted as heroes. It is the best advice a prisoner could ever receive.
Some words ought to be said about the role of the Governor in prisons. Governors in all prisons, head Governors, are living in a fantasy world. They have little idea how prisons are run, and their job title, in my view is a crypt-criminal one, because the conditions of that prison is largely down to them and they have a totalitarian control over their vast constitution. These Governors have obscene authority and power over their dominions, as they would have it. The Governor is not too dissimilar to an imperial Monarch. They are seldom seen; when they are they are surrounded by their protectors and they implement measures which subject their population to unjust hardships. In all, authority in prisons is not something to be proud of, it is rather a thing to be ashamed of.
31st January, 2014