“VIP prisoners” is a pejorative term which media conveniently described those inmates who once graced high society and has been accorded some form of celebrity status in the free community and now serving time under a regime of incarceration—- in style.


The prison community is never surprised at their presence.  As a matter of fact, their arrival is excitedly anticipated.  These are the people whom the common prisoners can shake down, threaten and forced to come across.  They are an economic blessing to the imprisoned sector.


For prison administration, their attendance is a signal of blight, an institutional irritation, a nuisance.  Here is a group or a person who would be used as front of gangs, as their representative, spokesman if not their main defensive agent for additional privilege.  Prison is a big community ruled by discipline and controlled by a series of regulations.  To gain a privilege or two means relieving the prison camp from a fraction of its restrictions.  In other words,  prison suffers from the discomfort of imposing total control—the lifeblood and essence of imprisonment.


Whenever a person of social importance albeit notorious as conveyed by public perception is about to be convicted, the penitentiary is abuzz.  Every gang focuses on its connection with prison functionaries so that the eventual admission of said person would be accorded them.  In effect, as soon as the celebrity gets into the penal camp, a number of representatives from gangs would have a day for bidding.  The winner will eventually bag the person and from there, the person is protected but in return must have to throw in and cough up some of his personal resources.


Note that it is not prison administration that confers a special status on the so called VIP prisoner.  It is the gang and the prison community as a whole.  They defer to his presence, they kowtow with his requirements and they show respect at his every whim.  They elevate the status of the person on the pedestal of esteem.  It is a truism that there is indeed honor among thieves, so to speak.  And whatever has been said against the incarcerated celebrity prisoner, he gets the necessary adulation and reverence from his fellow prisoners.


As his influence grows in the prison community, so is his confidence.  He is emboldened since he is backed up by gangs to extend his interactive horizon until he transcends up to the level of his custodians.  From there he transacts and offers material assistance.  This would be repeated and exchanges become frequent until familiarity is bred and alliances formed.  It is not astonishing to note that there are even custodial personnel who out of convenience and familiarity have joined the fraternal ranks of gangs!


When the prison officer gets sick, it is the gangs or a group of prisoners, especially the celebrity inmate who gets into the picture of facilitating aid.  To a certain extent, he may even have some reservation as to the readiness of his organization to extend succor to him.  Oftentimes, he may even perceive his organization as harsh whenever he fails to file his sick leave.  The efficiency of his ward to extend support has transformed him into a veritable collaborator and an instant affiliate in any chosen plan by the prisoner or gang for that matter.


The influence of celebrity prisoner moves slowly up until it reaches the door step of the camp administrator.  From there, privileges are haggled and concessions are concurred.  It is not a shocker anymore why visitors could “stay in” on a weekly basis in the penitentiary, staying in overnight right inside the very cell of prisoners themselves!


It is also not astounding anymore to see prisoners displaying a set of gold necklaces and signature wristwatches on their personal effects.  This on top of signature shirts, high end sneakers and some arrogance to boot, to the displeasure of some rookie personnel who could not comprehend what they are witnessing on a grand scale.  It also staggers the consciousness of a new caller to find some prisoners driving a mechanical transport, drinking expensive wines, relaxing in an air conditioned nook, visited by starlets and contributing to the internal cause of the organization without compunction or reluctance.  They are simply a part if not a major contributor in running the affairs of the entire prison setting.


As a consequence, prison administration has eventually lost control of how the system should be handled.  Gangs virtually have taken over the consciousness of prison life.  It is here where celebrity prisoners have inflicted the curse and aggravated the inability of prison administration to fulfill the mandate of managing the affairs of imposing discipline and order.  Some prisoners no longer act as prisoners anymore.  They simply have taken over the reins of prison supervision.


Fortunately, this situation is never obtained in the rest of the penal establishments in the country.  This can only be found for quite sometime in the maximum security wing of the national penitentiary.  Hence, over in that deity forsaken spot, it is more fun to be imprisoned!


About vjtesoro

A perpetual student of Corrections

Posted on August 23, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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