A lot of the drawings, paintings, and prints that I do tend to be of places I wish I could go to. I did this sketch a while back and only recently found it again. The lines of the background are way too thick, but I love the composition of it so I thought I’d stick it up anyway. At some point I may well do another version in a different style to see how that comes out.
I have said many times that, in theory, there are enough Prison Service Instructions, Standing Orders, Prison Rules, Regulations, and Prison Service Orders to provide for a system which, by and large, works. However, the reasons that the system, by and large, doesn’t work is because all of the rules set out in those documents are re-interpreted, twisted, and sometimes even blatantly ignored by staff at ground level. In short, prison works until the screws get involved.
In ‘Porridge’ there were only two rules: Don’t write on the walls, and obey all the rules. In real life the ins and outs of the rules in prison are extremely complex. Even more so when you come to realise which ones you can expect to see implemented and which ones will be implemented in a very different way to how they are written, if they are ever implemented at all.
With that in mind, I thought I’d start a series of posts, breaking down one Prison Service Instruction at a time in an attempt to explaing how things are meant to work, and how they actually work, from personal experience. First up, Prison Discipline.
I regularly read or otherwise hear MPs and representatives of the Prison Officers’ Association claim that officers in British prisons are well-trained, professional individuals, who are dedicated to the job and all that entails. However, earlier this year a question was raised in the House of Commons, enquiring how many members of prison staff have been dismissed in recent years.
Those of you who have no direct experience of what prison is like would be forgiven for thinking that most prisoners have no interest in charity at all. That is certainly what the media would often like everyone to believe. But over the years I have seen dozens of efforts to raise money for a whole host of causes. Tens of thousands of pounds are raised by prisoners in this regard every year.