Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Staff Two-Step

There are two seemingly irreconcilable strands to the work of a screw. They are instructed to get out and about, to mingle and talk with us. This is "dynamic security", allowing them to get a sense of the local temperature as well as snippets of concrete information. All they learn is noted and passed to the Security Department.

Conflicting with this is the modern bogeymen of staff, "conditioning". It seems that we prisoners are so Machiavellian than even the slightest encounter with staff gives us the opportunity to gain information that we can use to threaten, blackmail or seduce them.

So I know that when a screw stops to talk to me, he is trying to pick up information. And as I'm talking, he's trying to work out whether I'm trying to get information from him.

It is a twisted dance, with neither of us actually allowed to behave like genuine individuals. What a strange life this is.


  1. So Ben, what sort of person chooses to be a prison officer?

  2. A new angle for Strictly Come Dancing.


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