This place is really hilarious sometimes. If it didn’t affect me so personally I’d probably believe my life was a total farce. What follows is an absolutely true, verbatim account of one of my recent experiences.
28th January – Verbal conversation:
Officer: You’re not required
Me: What do you mean? I always attend education. The whole class just went in.
Officer: Yeah, but she just told me not to require you.
Me: She? Who? And why?
Officer: I’m not discussing it. Back to the wing.
29th January – Verbal conversation:
Mentor Trainer: I don’t know why you weren’t required but even if I did know, which I don’t, I couldn’t tell you anyway because I wouldn’t know to start with.
30th January – Verbal conversation:
Me: Why haven’t I been required this week?
Education Manager: Because there’s been some issues in your class and it’s been decided that it isn’t the right environment for you to be a mentor in after all.
Me: What issues?
Education Manager: I can’t talk about that.
Me: OK, well does the mentor trainer know about this decision?
Education Manager: It was a Security decision.
Me: So how long will I not be required for?
Education Manager: You’re not required for mentoring until further notice but you still need to attend your employability and your mentor training.
5th February – Verbal conversation:
Officer: Why aren’t you at work?
Me: I was told I was not required.
Officer: Well they’re phoning over asking why you haven’t attended so why aren’t you there?
Me: Because I was told I wasn’t required.
Officer: But you’re meant to be there every day. You can’t just take it upon yourself to stay on the wing. Why haven’t you been going?
Me: Because I was told…You know what, ask the Education Manager.
14th February – Verbal conversation:
Me: I still haven’t heard anything. What’s going on?
Education Manager: I told you before, Security said you can’t mentor in education.
Me: Fine. Why?
Education Manager: I’m not allowed to tell you.
Me: A bit Kafkaesque but whatever. So does that mean I can’t mentor anywhere in education, or just not in that class?
Education Manager: Nowhere in education.
Me: But I’m cleared to attend education for employability and mentor training?
Education Manager: Yes.
Me: But I can’t be a mentor there?
Education Manager: No.
Me: Don’t you think I should know what I did wrong so I can put it right or at least not repeat the mistake?
Education Manager: I can’t get into that.
17th February – First Stage Complaint form:
Me: Since 28th January I have not been required for my workplace. No one came to tell me this. No one informed me. It just happened. When I queried it with education staff I was told “there are issues” but no more information was given. Communicate with me. What is going on and why?
Activities Administrator: I have noted your comments regarding not being required. I have looked into this and can tell you that this was because some security concerns had been raised. Unfortunately, I am unable to tell you what those are but I can tell you that the procedures we follow when Security state prisoners should not work in a particular area are to not require them on full pay until the next activity board when a formal decision can be made.
1st March – Second Stage Complaint form:
Me: You say you cannot tell me the actual reasons for my removal. Since I know I haven’t done anything wrong, and you have failed to identify any rational reasons for my removal, I must tell you that I do not believe that you have any rational or reasonable reason at all. If you do, please identify it. If not, reverse your decision.
Activities Hub Manager: As previously stated, we are not able to confirm why you were removed. This is a question you need to raise with Security, via an application form.
16th March – Application form:
Me: I have recently been removed from education. Staff claim there is a reason for this but only Security can tell me what it is. For the record, I don’t believe there is any reasonable or rational reason for this. If I am wrong, please could you confirm why this has happened?
Security Department: I have been advised that your course finished.
28th March – First Stage Complaint form
Me: There may have been some misunderstanding here but when you told me that Security were the only ones who could tell me why I was removed from full time education as a mentor I took that to mean that I had been removed for security reasons. However, upon enquiring, Security have now confirmed in writing that this is not the case, I was removed because the course finished. Since I already knew I had done nothing wrong, I’m relieved to be reassured that there were no security concerns. However, since it doesn’t quite tally with what I thought I was being told beforehand, could someone from Security confirm that there is definitely no allegation that I’ve done anything wrong, and either I or whoever else had merely got our wires crossed.
Learning and Skills Manager: I have noted your comments regarding being not required/removed from your course and made enquiries into the background of your complaint. Your removal was not based on security information; I can only express our apologies. In an effort to reinstate you I have checked your clearance to attend IT based activities since the implementation of the new risk assessments for IT access introduced on 24th March and unfortunately you do not have security clearance therefore I have been unable to return you to education.
17th April – Verbal conversation:
Mentor Trainer: Have you updated your work for me?
Mentor Trainer: I need it. Can you get it done for a week on Monday?
Me: Probably not.
Mentor Trainer: Why not? You signed up for it.
Me: I signed up for a ten week course and I completed it. I didn’t sign up for extra work afterwards.
Mentor Trainer: But it’s important for the qualification. Without it I’ll have to fail you.
Mentor Trainer: What?
Me: Fail me.
Mentor Trainer: Why?
Me: I only did the mentoring course so that I could get a job as a mentor and now, even though you admit I’ve done nothing wrong and there are no security concerns after all, you still say I can’t get security clearance to be a mentor. This qualification is about as much use to me as a qualification to pilot an airliner. You’re not going to let me pilot an airliner, so what use is the qualification?
Mentor Trainer: I’ll come back and see you on Monday.