Mike, A Prisoner of mine

Mike, A Prisoner of mine

Status: Finished

Genre: Non-Fiction

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Status: Finished

Genre: Non-Fiction

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Summary

Another excerpt from my work in progress

Tags

Summary

Another excerpt from my work in progress

Content

Submitted: June 09, 2012

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Content

Submitted: June 09, 2012

A A A

A A A


 

Mike, a prisoner of mine

 

We turn to a particularly crude and vindictive example of the system using time as a weapon. More specifically the prison system where so much depends not only on who hold the balance of power but how it is held. Mike (not his real name), shares with a disconcerting majority of the prison population, the fact of being substantially passed the tariff set at his original trial. Like many people Mike has tried to put his time in prison to good news and has read and studied extensively and hold a recognised qualification in prison law.

This has enabled mike to engage in advocacy on behalf of himself and other people in prison. Perhaps inevitably this has now exactly endeared him to prison authorities but he battles on regardless. Mike has been able to accumulate several legal reference books over the years and is, I know keen to undertake any further studies that he can. We have discussed this over the telephone and I have also assisted Mike in his advocacy work by providing evidence and information pertinent to situations that he is involved in.

On one occasion Mike returned to his cell and found faeces had been spread within it and particularly over his law books. Prison authorities had the books removed from his cell and they have not been returned to Mike as they have been said to be contaminated. The prison authorities have told Mike they are unable to clean his books for him or to allow him to clean them himself.

This matter of smearing faeces in someone's cell is not unknown within the prison system by any means. Mike has known of it before; he feels he knows the individuals responsible yet also feels they may well have been put up to it by prison officers. There has certainly been no kind of formal investigation or disciplinary action against anyone.

Well, as far as prisons are concerned nothing surprises or shocks me any more and this is no exception. Mike and I both know perfectly well that if his book collection comprised the Bible, Palgrave's Golden Treasury and The Complete works of Shakespeare there would be no problem about cleaning the books with disinfectant and that would be that.

The prison authorities cannot, it seems cope with this. They cope with 'dirty protests' (where prisoners will smear themselves with faeces in order to draw attention to a particularly grievance) yet, we are asked to accept that this matter is beyond their grasp. I have supplied Mike with information from various academic sources that indicates clearly how the books could be cleaned yet the 'powers that be' in Mike's prison will have none of it.

The prison authorities know very well that they have time on their side. Also of course that the scales of power are tipped in their favour. Mike is, after all a prisoner who in their eyes has no realistic rights anyway. Mike has taken the whole matter through the prison complaints process and all through his forms have been mislaid and all manner of unprincipled delaying tactic has been employed.

They are trying to wear Mike down. Hoping that there will come a time when he will give up his attempt to retrieve his books. Legal proceedings by Mike could well follow, Mike is a fighter and will, I know fight the system all the way. Mike has told me that there has been a recent stabbing in the prison, nothing has been done apart from informing police who seem to be taking no clear action over this. The damage inflicted on Mike's books and other property within his cell is also being more or less ignored by police and prison authorities alike. In the past I have heard it said that “...prison works” - works for whom one may wonder. One might wonder if there is any point in engaging in any kind of opposition to the system; Mike's case and many others leave me concluding that there is every point in opposing the system. It is the only course of action the thinking person can take.

 

George Coombs

 

 


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