Monday, February 1, 2010

Thieving Bastards

In an institution full of people afflicted with light-fingers, to leave my door unlocked when I wander about seems to be reckless.

It isn't. It is a careful judgement on local conditions. In many nicks, an unlocked door is an invitation to theft such that you receive no sympathy if robbed. These tend to be nicks where the population is highly transient, a large turnover, which reduces the opportunities to form social bonds. Coupled with an influx of heroin, then the conditions are such that there are a large number of poor, desperate men with few social connections running about seeking to finance their next fix. Thieving is just one of their options.

And yet it is a very, very risky enterprise. Getting caught "peter thieving" is a guaranteed slap (punch, kick, stab...), the end of you in that prison. Pad-thieves are social pariahs, beyond the pale in every sense. The only way to possible redemption is a transfer, but even then it is very difficult to escape one's history.

This place, having a settled population and few drugs, is almost totally free of cell thieving. There may be an incident once in a blue moon but not enough for me to worry about the safety of my possessions. I cheerfully disappear for hours, leaving my door open. I also have a vague hope that some burglar will enter my cell, see how poor I am and actually leave some goods instead of filling his pockets. Hasn't happened yet, but I'm patient.


  1. You never know, Ben - my 'garden' consists of potted plants and over the years some have gone for a walk, others have appeared out of the blue (in pots also), and still others have been donated along with kind words.