Monday, September 26, 2011

Man Up

My introduction to the punishment block began when I was 14.  As is my way, I was refusing to entertain some stupidity or other that was being imposed upon me.  In the block I was fed a couple of times a day, thrown some books and given a shower once a week.  Apart from that, solitude reigned.

Was it difficult?  Yes and no.  In an empty cell, how do you keep generally occupied for 23 hours a day?  For me, the time was devoured by pacing and reading.  I asked for nothing and was given nothing.  This has remained my way of dealing with being put in the block.

This is not the method that suits everyone.  While there are those who get behind their door and just "do their bird", asking for nothing but their strict entitlements and not whining, there are others who find it horrible.  They seem to be perpetually seeking the attention of staff and whining.  This is not a pretty sight.

Not that I habitually pass judgement on how any man chooses to serve his sentence.  If acting like a spoilt, whining child is what works for you, go for it.

My concern is how this appears to staff, as a group whose views of prisoners do tilt towards the unpleasant.  I have always thought that an important part of any conscientious con's job was to challenge staff attitudes and show that we are not a collection of pathetic morons.. The first way to do that is not to act-up to staff stereotypes.  It is in this context that the way a con does his time in the block is important.

Be a man, my son!


  1. I agree Ben.

    I spent years in total in many different 'blocks', but I never gave the screws the pleasure of thinking they could make me suffer any more, by making requests that that I knew they would delight in denying.

  2. Isn't there a risk of certain staff reacting in an opposite way to the way you intend? Some might regard a stoic acceptance of the punishment as showing that it is not tough enough, and then engage in trying to make it tougher, thinking that prisoners are tough people who need a tough time of it, whereas given the statistics of those with mental illness, the very opposite is true.

  3. You know what I would do if I was a bloke and in the situation of solitary confinement? ( at least what I imagine I would do)

    I would skip. That'd keep my spirits up.

    Mind you, they probably wouldn't provide a skipping rope though, and it is difficult to skip without one. But I would still do my best to skip unaided if need be.

    It might sound unmanly, but don't forget that boxers all use skipping as part of their training.

  4. What really happens to kiddie fiddlers? Ciaran Rehill told me that he refused solitary when he was banged up and eventually ended up being the Wing daddy bitch? Could this be true?

  5. "I asked for nothing and was given nothing."

    That must have hardened your heart quite a bit over the years Ben. I am told however that even stone hearts can be made flesh again (through prayer and by the act of God).

    Sending you very best wishes x

  6. Tallguy.
    With the greatest respect, once you are in a position such as Ben describes above, there is little left for them to take away.

    Why give them the added satisfaction of letting them know you are suffering. Even if you might be!

    Exercise in the form of press/sit-ups and 'pacing' etc is (for some) a great aid to coping when languishing down the block. Although I'm guessing someone would soon go and spoil things by putting the rope round their neck if skipping was allowed.(Smile!)