Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Lost In Translation
Occasionally, someone gets the idea into their head that their chances before the Parole Board may be increased if I wrote their Representations. No pressure! Such people have a profoundly misplaced view of the power of words, as if I can weave a literary spell over the Board that will, magically, reduce the importance of the crime and appalling prison behaviour and lead the Board to adopt the miscreant as a lost son and order his release on the spot.
There is an entertainment value to this exercise, namely in the transmogrification of what the con honestly tells me into a phrasing that is acceptable to the Parole Board. Here are a few brief translations...
"I had fuck all to do with the crime but, as you won't release me if I said that, then this slippery form of words is what I have to peddle to you." In the Reps, this becomes, "I am profoundly sorry for the part that I played in causing the death of X..."
"My current probation officer is a waste of space who has done nothing useful in the past twenty years. I hope he falls under a bus and that my new one is more sensible." Translated: "I hope to build a positive and constructive relationship with my future supervising probation officer..."
"My prison career has admittedly been imperfect..." Or, the naked truth, "yeah, I know I shouldn't have stabbed that governor back in '02. Sorry. "
"The last Parole answer was a disappointment and caused me to re-examine my behaviour..." in reality means, "Screw you and the horse you rode in on! Muppets."
"There seems to be a misunderstanding on the part of some staff reports..." actually hides the rather more realistic "They are all lying through their fucking teeth and they know it."
I do take a perverse pride in being able to take the most outrageous truths and moulding them into a form of words which isn't quite obfuscatory but hardly the naked truth either. Not that I claim any success with this, but it seems to keep some people happy that I will take the time and effort to try to recast their life in a more positive light.
Needless to say, this was never the approach I took when I wrote with my own Representations. If only! No; I had the awful habit of writing hefty Reps that explained at great length just why the prison service was misconceived and why the parole board were so bloody wrong... Now, by mutual agreement with my legal representatives, I no longer write Reps - just to make their job of fighting my corner easier!