Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The case of the vanishing men

Once upon a time, in the not too distant past, prisons ran more or less calmly without drama or crisis (apart from the odd riot here and there - though a good riot never hurt anyone and often helped clear the air of tension, not to mention presenting the prison with an opportunity to get rid of a few less desirable elements).

So, prisons ran fairly calmly and, left alone, would continue to do so. Each wing had a wing governor - an Assistant Governor who held the acronym A.G. Above him was the Deputy Governor who everyone called 'The Dep'. Then we had the Chief Officer who ostensibly held sway over the staff and their behaviour, but at the top of the pile sat the Number One Governor. The Number One! A prisoner could get up in the morning, go to the Principal Officer's office and make an application to see the A.G. of that particular wing. The P.O. would ask what it was about and, if he couldn't deal with it, he would send the con into the next room where the A.G. sat dispensing decisions. If the A.G. could not deal with the matter, then the con would be added to the list for lunch hour. If the Number One was on a day off, then the Dep would take the lunch-time applications. At lunch-time, the con would see either the Dep or the Numher One, get a decision and, hey presto - job done.

Today, just a few short years later, what do we have? Well, we now have governors for bins, table tennis balls, low flying ducks and knitting circles for one-eyed lesbians from third world coutries. The prisons are crawling with governors! However, try to get to see one, or worse, actually speak to one and ask for a decision about something. Go on, just try it. These men (and women) will not even condescend to answer a WRITTEN application let alone see (and God forbid actually SPEAK) to a con. As for a decision about
anything - forget it. They don't do decision-making - bugger that, they might be held responsible for it! No, they hide away in their little dens and hold perpetual meetings about insane things which serve no other purpose than to irritate the prison population. Prisons are no longer being run for the benefit or betterment of their charges. Oh no, they are being run for the convenience of the staff!

Where are these governors? They have all disappeared into thin air! They have gone! They have vanished! Why don't the media send a group of investigative reporters to find these poor, lost souls? Surely their families miss them and have reported them missing to the police!

Mind, the police are not much better I suppose, they are far too busy running down old age pensioners for not paying their telly licence fee.

Oh dear, I'm just getting old, that's my trouble.

The Voice In The Wilderness

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