The Prison Service
Pitfalls in the Prison Service
Prison work is not for the marrying kind. It demands full attention and it is full of distraction. There is no such thing as holiday in the prison community. Holidays as a matter of fact are period when the entire camp is on red alert. When everybody must be alert for signs of desperation and threats to safety. Holidays bring about happy memories for the free community, pain for the prison population. The worker must therefore be in his post at this time of the year. The time for family is a foregone activity. Worst, the work schedule is burdensome. It is carried by three shifts daily and conducted seven days a week. Everybody must have to rotate on a bi-monthly basis, no ifs or buts. If there is one occasion when a prisoner can rejoice it is the fact that nothing has happened to his term after the day’s count is over. He lives by the hour and survives according to luck.
If at all the worker is married, it would eventually take a toll not only on his mental health but on his family as well. While he may significantly hold the view that he is far more fortunate than the inmates he is tasked oversee, it would not be far when such an auspicious feeling would subsequently turn into wretchedness and despair. There is always the domestic problem he must have to hurdle, economic crisis he must have to overcome and emotional predicament he must have to contain.
For those directly working inside the prison camp, the experience is more of a challenge, a trial of one’s patience and indisputably, an interlude replete with frustrations. A worker will never find any good material to internalize, everything is deception from a promise to reply to an assurance to obey. The worker is schooled in foolishness courtesy of fraudulent responses and his educated in the art of torture as encouraged by stupid and silly reaction from the prison community. Very clearly therefore, a worker must have to study harder, read continuously and write in his journal, whatever expression to capture his day, so that he will never be prisonized in the process.
Furthermore, it is not for the faint of heart or for the progressive mind. Everywhere is a corner for grief, every nook is defined in sorrow, every act is defined in anguish. If a prisoner approximate his time in accordance with torture, the prison worker is likewise immersed in a period of agony.
Prison work therefore, to be practical about it, is cut out for the man of the cloth, for priests, for celibates whose commitment to their faith is integrated with idealism. They can stay and absorb distressing stories and live in the company of misery. Family life is too complex to be complicated with prison service. For incarceration is a period when a person is forced to suffer and there is no other way but admit this reality as part of one’s system. Internalizing therefore the stimulation to be an effective officer makes a family man fail in his interaction with his loved ones later.
Prison work requires a discipline far different from other fields. One’s patience is tested to the hilt. Persistence pays but it should be tempered with wit and cleverness. No one can plead being smart in the face of people who were defeated in the court of law. They have developed a certain degree of sharpness no one can underestimate. There is something in incarceration that spikes the intellect. And the worker must never be lethargic and indolent.
If a person wanted to have a bright future in his career, and he happens to be sluggish and apathetic, let prison service be the least of his concern.