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.