Monday, June 01, 2009

Friendly lions or mad dogs?

This week has brought one snippet of interesting intelligence: according to Mike Pemberton, my legal superstar, the hearing of the Ministry of Justice's appeal against the recent Judicial Review is pencilled in for June 24th 2009 in the High Court. At that time, the Secretary of State's minion will attempt to put up a case that treating prisoners in a decent and acceptable manner is constitutionally unsafe and unsound. Good luck to him.

Here at the prison, meanwhile, we have a great deal of upheaval because they have built a new wing, at great expense, which was finally opened on Monday May 18th. Most of the prison was uprooted and disturbed, for no good reason really. I was quite fortunate in that it did not involve me, although I did move to a different cell on my own wing, a much better and more comfortable cell than the one I had occupied previously.

However, all of this moving about and general upheaval does not contribute to the quality of life or encourage prisoners to settle down and get on with their unfortunate existences. What the Powers-That-Be fail to understand is that most prisoners quite simply don't care whether they live in a dustbin or a palace - all they really want is to be left in peace to get on with things. It's quite unsettling not knowing where you will be from one day to the next, always expecting to hear the size twelve issue boots stamping outside the door and being told to 'Move or else!' Oh yes, they are very nice about it. Speaking for myself, they could put me in a tent in the middle of a field, I'd be all right. All I need from the system is for it to bugger off and leave me alone!

I wonder if there is a deliberate policy to keep cons on a knife edge. It is the sort of insanity that they WOULD think is a good idea - let's face it, Einstein has nothing to fear in the thinking stakes from some of those who run our prisons.

They run an Enhanced Thinking Skills course in prisons - it is laughable. What they do is supply the con with a dozen scenarios and at the same time supply the answers or solutions to the problems posed. The prisoner then goes away and learns the answers by rote and when he has done that he gets a tick in a box and a certificate. He is now deemed to possess enhanced thinking skills! What cobblers!

However, be that as it may, what I want to know is why there can't be a course to teach enhanced humanity skills to the people in charge of the prisons? Forget enhanced thinking, that is out of the question, that advanced stuff. No, they will simply carry on coming up with ridiculous schemes and ideas which serve no other purpose than to agitate and irritate. Then they wonder why the prisons do not operate smoothly!

There is an old saying, which I can attribute to nobody - it is certainly not mine, although I have used it several times over the years. The prison service could do a lot worse than pay heed to it:
It is easier dealing with a friendly lion than with a mad dog!
The Voice In The Wilderness

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