Friday, May 13, 2011
Screws and Cons
Could you lock a man in a cell? What does that take, to carefully, regularly, routinely, inflict that punishment on another human being? Answering that question goes a long way to mapping the distance that separates cons and screws.
And distance there is. Although there is a patina of decency and humanity, occasional intersecting interests, I have never met a screw who wouldn't partake in stitching up a con if push comes to shove.
To inflict such a punishment in such a personal way, to take a place in the carceral machine, must involve a malign view of prisoners. We are, truly and irredeemably, the Other. We are sub- human in a very real way.
In casually bouncing this idea around in company, it was suggested that screws view us in much the same way as a farmer views his pigs. I begged to disagree. If we follow that analogy, I would say that screws view us in the same way that the slaughterer views his victims.