There are days in Prison when circumstances command a change in routine.
Today, in the short excerpt from a prisoners diary, we see the surprising relief , even pleasure, taken in being locked up alone when those days occur.
“There was staff training today and we were all confined to our cells alone for the majority of the day with a break in restriction only for lunch. Work details were cancelled, education classes postponed and even the gym and physical activities were set aside to accommodate whatever the training being delivered was. It was a glorious sunny day but I couldn’t have been happier being locked up in isolation today despite the fact I’d miss my art class and a chance to attend the gym.
On the outside I love interaction, I love speaking to people. I love the ebb and flow of a decent discussion listening to others points of view and debating the business of the day. In here real conversation exists only in the fleeting contact with some of the more socially inclined staff who are above patronisation and can see a glimpse of your ability to be more than a number behind walls. I added to my dismally amateur poetry collection today and have even taken to decorating my walls in verse – paper not graffiti – I’ve actually came back to my cell at times and found guards reading them. I hope they’re not looking for inspiration because the subject matter is being defined by my surroundings at the moment.
Going back to staff training I hope there’s a motivational coach in here today because the staff seem miserable at work. Not necessarily stern or strict as you might imagine but utterly demotivated and looking for any way out. We have something in common at least.
This morning during the extended lock up period I could hear doors opening and closing along the wing and realised the sound was getting closer. A tea pack was delivered to each cell. A small plastic bag tied off at the top containing a few tea bags, small coffee sachets and a couple of small milk containers. That would have been a nice touch but mine went straight in the bin because of the guards chosen delivery method. The door was opened and I saw the tea pack in hand. My natural instinct was to smile and say thank you but what happened next prevented that. The pack was dropped on the floor by the door and kicked along the ground a few feet towards me. I felt degraded, angered and humiliated all in a flash by that action. I was going to mention it to my personal officer but chose not to what’s the point? I’m certain staff training didn’t include the delivery method of tea packs. You realise your current and potentially future value to the world at simple moments like that.
Anyway, the tea pack incident aside today was like an oasis in a desert for me. Confined to a room without anyone to speak to. Confined to a room without a view of the world. Confined to a room without a toilet seat – it all seemed so relaxing. You see for a whole day I didn’t have to be alert, I didn’t have to endure the smothering drug culture and I didn’t have to put on my survival cloak today. Some time I think I should apply for acting roles when I leave here because every day is about putting on an act one way or another. It’s exhausting beyond words and soul destroying in a dark miserable way. On the outside I crave human interaction, In here all I crave are family visits because only then can I let me cloak slip and speak to people who want nothing more from me than to get out and get home to be with them again. I had an idea for starting a new business today but will come back to that some other time. The three verses of my latest poetry effort are about the lack of real conversation, the overt drug use and how staff and I get through the days. I hope they don’t read my diary when they search cells whilst you are out doing other things.
Concrete floors and steel white doors
A wing afloat on a wave of scores
Blind eyes turned to stupor ablaze
Strategic philosophy of surviving the days
Conversation is rare but speech is loud
Layers of humiliation dismantle the proud
Forlorn quest for normality dulls the senses
Security vetting required to paint fences
Shards of life extinguished by grief
Dreams fragile as cherry blossom leaf
Daily doses of patronisation
Replacing the illusion of rehabilitation
So in a sad way today has been a good day without the need to talk to anyone I wouldn’t mind hearing the staff training lasts all week, that would be like a lottery win. Tomorrow I have a family visit and I can’t wait to briefly hold them, drink in their faces and listen to them talk about their daily lives even though their lives have been damaged by my actions I crave their contact in every way.”
Not a cheery start to the week for anyone reading this blog post but another insight into the state of mind of someone on a day in Prison and a hint at environment issues.
Thank you for taking the time to read and please do feel free to comment here or via our Contact Form or interact via Twitter @firsttimeinside we welcome all communication. Have a great week.