Monday, October 31, 2011

The Great Game

Every block in the system shares fundamental characteristics.  Each prisoner alone in their cell for up to 23 hours a day, isolated and finding ways to fill the time.

Another common thread is the perpetual attempt to pass items between cells, a prohibited practice.  Monthly, these efforts centre around tobacco and cigarette papers.

Even in isolation, cons leave their cells.  There are daily periods in the exercise pen, the shower, food to collect, clothes to change... And all of these provide an opportunity for the quick of hand to secrete an item to be picked up by the next man.

Staff try to disrupt this exchange but the reality is that the never have enough time.  With maybe dozens of men to exercise, feed, shower, then their time to search each location between uses is truncated.

This smuggling has always gone on, and long may it successfully continue.


  1. Personaly, I didn't like it that a major form of communication was centered around cigarettes and tabacco when I was incacerated against my will in a mental hospital ( which has its similaries with prisons regimes ).

    Although a smoker at the time, I really didn't want to get involved with the others around me in this way (because I am gullible ), so at great effort, I gave up smoking for the duration of my first incaceration.

    Made up for it when I got out of course and smoked like a trooper, but I really felt unneasy by all the 'got a light?', 'want a fag?', way of getting to know and communicating with others around you that I experienced in the involuntary residential setting that I was in.

  2. Before my partner got incarcerated a week or so ago I would never have imagined that in a so called civilised society we allow human beings to be locked up 23 hours a day. What does it do to the mind? How does one handle that, Ben?

  3. The most satisfying smoke a person can imagine, is one that's ingredients have been conjured together despite being in a 'prison within a prison' where the practice is strictly forbidden.

    'Staff try to disrupt this exchange but the reality is that they never have enough time.'

    Unlike the cons....