What is prison really like!

I read a story on Kent Online’s website titled ‘What life is really like behind bars – Day in the life of a prison officer at Swaleside, Elmley and Standford Hill’ (https://www.kentonline.co.uk/sheerness/news/a-former-dancer-is-now-locking-up-prisoners-263602/) and it got me thinking. Initially about ‘What life is really like behind bars’.

As well as my own experiences, I have seen numerous portrayals of ‘life behind bars’ on TV programmes. I have read many books on the subject, both fact and fiction. I have also watched several hours of real-life documentaries about prison, the people who work in prison, and of course, people who serve time in prison. My life became my passion as did the history of prison and the history of prison education.

Is it possible to provide ‘what life is really like behind bars’?

All those who have experienced prison, whether it be as a person serving, someone working or someone visiting, can provide you with their perspective of prison life. Most could also tell you the policies and procedures of the prison they’re in, or visiting, or a snapshot of a local prison, or a cat C training prison, a prison in the high security estate, or an open prison. However, although the policies and procedures may be the same, one man’s castle is another man’s dungeon.

The Kent Online piece covers a ‘Day in the life of a prison officer at Swaleside, Elmley and Standford Hill’. Where, “We talk to three very different officers from each of the prisons to find out why they joined, what they have to do and what they did before.” which for me is perfect and provides us with three perspectives. However, what it doesn’t do is tell us ‘What life is really like behind bars’.

I’m not being negative towards the article as it is important to hear from people who work at the coalface, as it is to hear from the voices of the people these members of staff have a duty of care over.

I could provide reams of stories from my time in prison, but would they provide you with ‘What life is really like behind bars’ or would they provide you with a perspective of my time in prison?

Therefore, it is important to take on board, by listening and acting on, as many authentic voices as possible when the policies and procedures are being drawn up, which will also give us a better understanding of ‘What life is really like behind bars’.

6 thoughts on “What is prison really like!

  1. Hi David, I read this article too and whilst some prison staff do want to help reform and support the prisoners there are still some that will ridicule, bully, dismiss and antagonise.
    Also maybe an article from families who are serving the sentence the other side of the wall!
    I often refrain from reading the comments on KOL articles as those people would have all โ€œcriminalsโ€ hung drawn and quartered in the town squares!!
    Off my orange box before I start on unfair sentences and lack of consistency!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In Victorian times they used to think that leaving people in prison in single cells on their own would inspire them to sit and ponder the errors of their ways. It does not, mind you there are few single cells now. Prison is full of boring times, and without inspiration and hope, often inspired by education and mentors (such as you David) can make that time positive and give people hope. That is what should be being done inside prisons, and whilst there are great and committed people working within them it needs proper planning and funding.
    Boredom breeds resentment, and that is not what is needed.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The comments are as informative as the article many different views but as always glad we are talking about it from your post so thank you

    Liked by 1 person

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