Saturday, 1 September 2007
The Prison Officers Association "strike"
I admit that I have not followed the ins and outs of this strike as closely as I should, but a few thoughts came to me tonight. Like most people over the age of 35 my only real knowledge of prisons comes from watching Porridge on television. Being locked up looked so horrible, two to a cell, the doors locked every night whilst it was sometimes still light outside - something about just as the good TV started I seem to remember, I presume 9pm(?), the lack of anything to do when not in the cell other than play cards or table tennis (even if with a cracked ball), or watch TV on a small communal set (if the senior warder approved). It all seems somewhat different now, I read that prison officers are now being instructed to knock before entering a cell (presumably to give the incarcerated time to hide their drugs or porn), to address the prisoners as Mr Fletcher, not Fletcher or Norman, to wear polo shirts not uniforms - so as not to look threatening. I despair of this country's law and order system, I really do.