Saturday, March 19, 2011
Two days later, the transfer to Frescoed not having materialised and being sick of being left without any information or explanation of what was happening, and incredibly worried about the future of my studies without access to my materials, I told wing staff that I was on hunger strike.
Why a hunger strike? Why not some other, more expressive or assertive course of action? Because, in different times, I would have promptly held up a metaphorical finger to the prison and parked myself in the Block.
I chose a hunger strike for two reasons. Firstly, because I suspected (as I write, I know now) that there was a hope amongst some of my keepers that I would react badly to the situation they had created, and given them an excuse to seriously delay or even remove my Category D status. And I wasn't going to bite.
But a solitary hunger strike is an incredibly risky move in prison. Hunger striking is a moral appeal to one's keepers, and regular readers will have long grasped that I judge the moral development of my keepers to be somewhat stunted.
The key would be my second reason - your support and the noise you could create on my behalf. I was wholly reliant upon management feeling the heat not from me, but from "outside" - and they hate it.
As is the general policy, my declaration of starvation fell into a Void. If managers jumped at every con who went on hunger strike, then we would all be doing it! So they ignore it, at least for the first few weeks. Even then, they don't come rushing.
Seven days later, and I'm back in Shepton writing this, stuffing my face on chocolate and crisps. I also discovered that Cardiff was telling everyone who phoned that I was being looked after, not on hunger strike, and ensconced in a nice single cell. God forbid I suggest Governors lie! But Cardiff Governors were lying like professionals. They lie first, to escape a problem, and worry about the consequences later. Rather like three year old children.
But I did not fall into the trap, I didn't bite, I didn't get nicked. Thanks to all of you and the efforts of the Editor, together we explored and developed the possibilities of the New Media to pressure the management successfully. Without you, I'd be getting a bit peckish by now...
Labels: HMP Cardiff