I hadn’t planned to write a part two on prison life; then again, I don’t plan any of my blogs. I write when, and what, I feel. When I do write and the subject is on prison, I usually find my mind drifting back to a prison cell. Not in a bad way, as I’ve some fond memories of my old cells. When I do go back mentally, the feelings also come flooding back, as do the noises. Although, I can’t hear the noises as such, I can hear them in my head as though they were real. Like the gate to the wing squealing for a glug of oil as it open and shuts announcing the arrival of another day up the judge’s arse.
The last time an indirect source, other than Porridge, took me back in that way was BBCs excellent prison drama ‘Time’. The accuracy of Time was 99.99% spot on. However, yesterday, an article in the Guardian had put me behind the door once again. Here’s a link to the article https://www.theguardian.com/society/2022/jun/21/how-nottingham-prison-descended-into-chaos-staff-cuts-austerity-violence. There was a comment from an officer, who knows her jailcraft, where she said
I had shared the article on LinkedIn and in replying to a comment said the following “there’s ‘information’ and then there’s being a ‘grass’. A big difference. ‘Grassing’ does not keep order, it disrupts it, but the rest is bang on. Typically, a well-placed cleaner can keep a landing ticking over to everyone’s benefit.” Although I can’t speak for anyone other than myself the term ‘transgressions’, especially with the corruption that goes on in the prison estate, could also be taken the wrong way, so thought I’d explain it from my perspective because there’s a massive difference between “certain transgressions” and corruption. In the same way as there is between grassing and “snippets of information”.
Did certain prison officers break certain rules in their dealings with me over the years? Yes, and almost daily. Did whatever it was they did put the prison and everyone in it in danger? No, not a chance. An old one is being let out first for slop out or getting a landing paper first. Maybe a few bits of stationary here and there. A peaceful shower when everyone else is banged up. A pouch of burn under your pillow or even a few Rizla when the going is tough. Apps that find their way to the top of a pile and approved. Who knows, maybe a book the library can’t get, or a bit of coffee to “tide me over ’til canteen, guv”.
Do you think an officer would do any of that for a ‘grass’, especially when their job could be on the line (excuse the pun)? Suspension at the least. People who work in prison are just as concerned with progression as people behind the door are. Or at least they used to be. Being a prison officer used to be a career, now it seems nothing more than a job, or a task, a thankless one at that.
One of the biggest things I miss about prison, other than the people, is the ‘game’.
Whatever side of the door you are on, prison life really does come down to what YOU make of it.
*Main image taken from: https://warwick.ac.uk/services/library/mrc/archives_online/digital/prison/