Tuesday, April 3, 2012
There are many avenues that are available to Governors who are struggling to deal with an awkward prisoner. One is to transfer them, to make them someone else's problem. That sounds a little cowardly, but there you go.
There was a period of some 15 years where I didn't pack my own kit for a transfer. Rather than being regular transfers, each move in this period was an official kidnapping where staff hoiked me away and then packed and sent on my property. Sometimes they didn't even trash it first.
Few men moved in such circumstances arrive at their destination with a sunny disposition. No problem has been resolved, merely transposed to a different prison. And in order to arrange such moves, it wasn't unknown for the Governor desperate to get shot of a pain in the arse to lie to those prisons he was attempting to sell the prisoner to. "He's not that bad...".
The introduction of a new computer system, P-NOMIS, has put a dent in this transfer market. Rather than staff writing comments on a prisoners file - an actual paper file - this information is now entered into P-NOMIS. And data on P-NOMIS can be accessed by other prisons. This severely limits the extent to which a Governor can lie about any prisoner in order to dump them onto his colleagues.
Even when the lies succeed, there is the fallback position of a con being sent "sale or return". The prisoner is accepted by another prison on the understanding that if he is too large a problem then he can be returned to the original nick.
The first time this happened to me, I was mildly outraged. After all, even my worst enemies would grant me the status of "human being" and being treated like a pair of Marks and Spencer underpants added to my sour disposition.
Still, if I was unhappy then you can imagine how the Governor felt. Having got rid of me once, I returned a short while later, twice as annoyed. Happy days.
Labels: prison life