Monday, 16 April 2018

Prison Staff. The Good, The Bad but I would never say Ugly

Hello All!

It’s been a while hasn’t it? I apologise, I’ve missed you.

About 2 weeks ago on the Twitter thing, I asked what you would like me to write about and I am grateful for all the votes; it made me feel wanted!! No, not in that sort of the FBI’s most wanted way but in a cherished kind of way!! The resounding winner on my little poll was for me to talk about prison staff/officers. 

One could be so bold as to presume that you would expect me to write about all the incidents of corruption and staff bullying that, surely, goes on in prison. You would be right!

Now I don’t want to go off on a rant here but;

These people that do this; that smuggle phones or drugs or MacDonald’s hamburgers, (hell, kitchen sinks for all I care) into prison are beneath contempt. If you are one of these people reading this, then I hope that Dante was wrong with his 9 circles of purgatory. I hope there is a special one reserved for you. One where you are locked up standing on your head in a cell full of excrement for eternity. You are a bad person and my contempt for you knows no bounds. Now, before you go off and say well “I was bullied or blackmailed into smuggling items”; I have no issue with you lot. But speak up, tell your superior, do something about it. You won’t be punished, you will be helped, listened to and this circle of hell can stop for you and you can get on with the real reason you should have signed up for. That of helping those who have gone down that less travelled road in a yellow wood. 

If you find it funny, to bully those worse off than you, then you can rot in hell where a bigger bully will do terrible things to you with his trident. If you find it funny to “lose” a postal order that has come into the prison for a resident, then may you never run out of money when you need it most. Those of you reading this will not be aware that certain staff rip up postal orders / cheques sent to prisoners just for the fun of it. Oh, how I wish I could have fun with them! But then again, they are corrupt, and I hope they get caught and find themselves in a prison waiting for postal order! If you are a bully in prison you are the lowest of the low. If you are prison officer who is a bully in prison; then you are just evil. There is no excuse for you and your next job, should be “Would you like fries with that?” I apologise, I have just insulted all fast food workers… you, my friends, are the salt of the earth. Take pride that you are keeping my cholesterol level higher than normal!

Recently, we have heard about a prison officer in Britain’s newest jail being arrested. We have heard about staff in England’s jails being found to be corrupt. I say this. “OK, but what industry doesn’t have corruption?” Is it because we put so much faith into these public servants that we are shocked and even titillated when we read / learn about them “going rogue.” So that’s it isn’t it? We get disappointed in them, don’t we? We put faith in them and they let us down.  I, for one, was never beaten as child; my father would sit me down, recount what I had done wrong and end his diatribe by saying; “I am just so disappointed in you” And that, ladies and gentlemen cut through me like a knife through warm butter.

So, to any corrupt officer reading this I say; “You disappoint me, you are greedy, ego maniacal bullies who are a waste of chromosomes and I pity you. I pity the fact that you have no other option in your sad pathetic existence of a life other than to make misery and corruption your friends.” That and “You are a waste of space who should crawl back under the rock from which you have come”.  Point made? Oxygen Thief!

Throughout my sentence I found myself surrounded by good and decent people. People who were good human beings, cared and gave out hope. Obviously, I knew of corrupt staff, I knew who they were; but they never approached me nor I them. They probably guessed that they would have no quarter with me and I would wipe the floor with their pathetic little offers to earn their thirty pieces of silver.

One day, I shall regale you of the story of the prison officer, who very recently, try to sell a story about me and my work to the press. I will, just not now as it is a bit raw.

Now onto the majority of staff that I have met, continue to meet and hope to meet more of:

“You are good people, you have my hard-earned respect and my gratitude. You are pillars of the community and should be recognised as such.”

Prison staff are unsung heroes. They don’t get the blaze of publicity when they do a good job (I make no slight here on police officers, firemen and paramedics), but these public servants go quietly into the night in the comfort that they may just have turned someone’s life around. 

They do just that.

I am the proud product of prison staff doing their jobs. 

A little story.

I was in prison, I had come back from a medical appointment (Yes, I managed to get one of the rarest things in prison – a medical appointment, those and dentist’s appointments are as scarce as hen’s teeth) and my condition had been diagnosed as progressing from early on stage. I just wanted to come back from the healthcare department and lock myself up until the end of my sentence (that being a further 2 years away!). The nurses had telephoned the wing to say that I had just been given a bit of bad news. Two things happened. Two of the female officers watched me leave my cell to go for a shower. They went into my cell and as it was Easter, placed a Cadbury’s cream egg with a candle in it in my cell (my birthday falls around that time). I cried in the comfort that someone cared.  Then along came an officer who enjoyed some banter. “TC,” he says, “I heard about your news, looks like you won’t be playing the piano again” to which I replied, “I never played the piano” and he came back with “Well you won’t miss it then!” That, that right there is the sort of dark humour that made me smile. You see both sets of these staff took time to read into me, to show comfort where it mattered most. They have my unending respect.

I understand that a lot of staff are demoralised, fed up, over worked and under paid. Yet they still continue to turn up at the gate every day to draw their keys and the vast majority of them do not cross that line into Dante’s 8 circle.  These are good people who want to make a difference in someone’s life. For every 10 corrupt officers, I fully believe there are over 1000 good and honest ones. 

So, do me a favour, will you? 

The next time a story about prison officer corruption hits the fourth estate; think twice.  Of course, you can bleat until your heart’s content but follow it up with “At least, there are many more honest ones.” 

These good ones that I talk about saved my life. They might just save a loved one of yours. 

Of course, that’s my opinion, I could be wrong.