Sunday, March 18, 2012
Of course, we are in prison. And yet many of us spend up to six days each week out in the
community. And these are two very different worlds.
As we log out at the Gate - an ambitious title for a striped pole - we must look outwards, our mindset shifting instantly from "prison" to "community" with all that entails. Behaviour, language, perception, all have to be re-calibrated. Prison attitudes have to be shrugged off and the attitudes of the wider community adopted.
On our return we must use the short distance between the bus-stop or car park and the Gate to reverse the process. We are about to become "prisoners" once again. In just a few short steps the community must be shut away, boxed off in one’s mind and we must prepare again for the prison experience.
This shift, this switching between prison and Outside is one that I am told can be psychologically wearing over time. To be a Citizen one moment and an Outcast the next can leave some tired and prone to mistakes. Not criminal mistakes, or outbursts of outrageous behaviour, but mistakes that the prison allows no quarter for.
A strict delineation must be maintained in our minds between In Here and Out There, no matter how that strains our emotions. And this is something that our keepers have absolutely no comprehension of.