Monday, January 30, 2012


Closed prisons have a psychological as well as real weight to them. Exemplified in steel and concrete, a more subtle though controlling effect is the perpetual necessity to engage with the institution. From everything from toilet paper to food, there is a panoply of daily events which demand that we are dependent upon staff. In this way we are deeply and irretrievably enmeshed by the prison.
Open is different. Or rather, this one is. Not all open prisons are the same. Here we are disengaged, self motivating and self actuating, engaging with the institution in a far less frequent manner. There is a very real sense that we are merely "passing through", whereas in closed prisons there may be a sense of "home" - a permanent settlement.
And so in closed prison, a daily conflict or challenge made to the institution and its practices may be a worthwhile effort. Any changes that result directly benefit the campaigner and his daily life. In open, the sense of being a very temporary visitor reduces the urge to challenge, it brings into question the whole point of campaigning.

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