Friday, March 23, 2012
Within a week or so I should be the owner of a shiny, new, and legal mobile phone. I'm not turning cartwheels. These mobiles are for use outside of the prison and are stored in our lockers near the Gate, to be picked up and returned as we make our forays into the Outside.
Unlike regular consumers, we are strictly limited to the phones that we can buy. The list comprises every piece of crap left on the shelf over the last few years as the world moved on. And none of our permitted list can have a camera or internet.
Even with my vast experience of the Prison Service Mind, I'll be damned if I can fathom even a tortuous explanation for these restrictions. After all, whilst out in the community we are allowed to take pictures and surf the Net, so why deny us phones with those capabilities? A more pointless restriction is hard to find.
And as we can use mobiles within moments of leaving the prison, why are we denied access to them whilst in the prison? Why can we not wander the landings with Nokia's finest in our pocket?
The usual argument against prisoners having access to mobile phones is "security", that mindless mantra used to stifle any unorthodox thought or deed within the prison system. But this collapses utterly in the face of the reality of Open prisons. After all, if I wanted to pass a message secretly then I could do so on my own town visits, or ask one of the 200 men who leave the nick each day to pass it on.
This stupidity - I can call it no other - illustrates the lazy mindset of prison service policy makers, most of whom have never set foot in an actual prison, preferring the comfort of HQ. These over-promoted typists create policies which afflict the whole of the prison system, with no thought or consideration being given to the very different circumstances that apply across the system.
It is one thing to ban prisoners in the High Security Estate from possessing mobiles, but it is quite another to extend that to Open prisons. The result of this silliness is that on one side of the pole we are legit owners and users of mobiles; walk a further foot towards the Gate, though, and we are liable to an extra 2 years imprisonment for having such technology about our person.
If I haven't mentioned it before, I think that the prison system is run by idiots.
Labels: mobile phones