Common Sense Alert! 12

I feel really conflicted about this one. A while ago an officer on my wing came up to me and, out of nowhere, said “That’s an interesting blog you’ve got!” I wasn’t sure I’d heard him right at first but when he repeated himself I was really taken aback and could only think to say “Oh, right, yeah. Um, thanks.” He said a colleague had stumbled across it and asked him if he’d seen it so he took a look. But then he said something that threw me even more.

He said: “You’re actually more clever than you sometimes appear, aren’t you?”

Am I?” I said. “How do you mean?”

And then he said: “Well, sometimes you can come across as quite argumentative, but you’re different on your blog.”

I didn’t know what to say at all. It’s true. I can be argumentative. I like to say I’m assertive but, when you’re speaking to prison officers that is often perceived as being the same thing! However, I can’t remember a single time that I’ve actually had an argument with an officer on this wing at all. I wanted an example, but then I didn’t want him to think I was arguing with him! So I said as diplomatically as I could, “OK, I didn’t realise that. Can you give me an example, because I must not realise when I’m doing it.”

He said that maybe it wasn’t so much argumentative, but just disagreements which could come across as being argumentative. But I couldn’t even recall any of these either. In fact I could only recall disagreeing with officers on this wing three times in the past year, and on all three occasions I actually said “I don’t really agree with you but I do accept what you’re saying.” On one of these occasions, when the officer insisted on pushing the point, I even said “OK, I accept that. I don’t want to argue with you”! Which kind of leaves me thinking that anything other than “Yes, Sir, No, Sir, Three bags full, Sir”, will be perceived as argumentative.

However this is something I have come up against in many different regards throughout my sentence. There have been plenty of occasions when I have been told that there is a problem of one kind or another, or that I have done something wrong, and I am told I should take care not to do it again, but I’m never actually told what the problem is! Now there are only two real possibilities here. Either there really is a genuine problem, whether that is argumentativeness or anything else, or there isn’t. If there is then clearly the person telling me about the problem doesn’t want it to continue, and I actually don’t want to keep doing it either. I would much rather correct my faults. But I cannot do that if I’m not told what I did wrong and when.

So, having been told that I come across as argumentative, but given no example of that which I could take as an indicator of what is perceived in that way and which I could bear in mind in the future, I am none the wiser as to when this comes across or why.

Surely common sense would be to tell me everything you can about the issue so that I can put it right? Otherwise I can only try not to argue, which I was already trying anyway!

3 thoughts on “Common Sense Alert! 12

  1. The problem probably isn’t with you as you seem switched on to it. It’s not uncommon for some people to view any difference of opinion or a different view as a challenge. It can make life difficult when people with this approach are in a position of authority. Trouble is with this mindset it is very difficult for them to learn and move past it.

    On the other hand I guess Prison Officers expect and get conflict from both directions – from prisoners and their own management and may be predisposed to see any difference of opinion as a challenge.

    • To be fair on the officer in question, I went back to him after writing this post and asked if he could give me a nod next time he thinks I’m being argumentative so I know when I am doing it and can try to stop it. He reacted quite well and said that he was open to the same himself provided it is done appropriately. Needless to say, no one has actually told me that I’m being argumentative since, but I guess I’ll never know if this is because I haven’t been, or if they just haven’t said!

  2. Argumentative, likely means you simply don’t agree with them. To bad prison officers don’t realize that out of their blues they are nothing to contend with, it is the bars and batons, that gives them the false sense of security and over-broad authority. Having said that, I know of a 21 year old kid who was badly beaten by prison officers in a British prison just very recently. They then shipped him out to a mental institution. I hope the kids family SUE the Cowards, and the Warden who knowingly turns a blind eye. This goes on way to often at this particular prison, and I don’t believe for one second the warden is UNaware of the actions of his abusive and incompetent officers. I intend BLOWING IT WIDE OPEN. They rely on the prisoners “shame” of what they did to put them in prison as a reason why the prisoner will not seek legal help, bringing THEM to justice. Prisoners need to understand they have rights, regardless!

    Prisoner’s are not the prison wardens personal punch and KICK bags…. They need to be held “criminally” accountable and experience life behind BARS, as a PRISONER, as that is what they should get and wholly deserve.

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