WHEN A BUREAUCRAT IS IMPRISONED
I have a number of recorded cases in my personal journal where I would descriptively take note of how a prisoner conducts himself in the face of incarceration. I have been in the prison service for more than three decades and the exposure is worth sharing. Not everyone has that rare opportunity to rub elbows with offenders more so if for once the offender was occupying a significant part in the pantheon of power—that is, one who wields a respectable kind of power on a vast constituency. Such a person holds the reigns of authority which could mean the life and death of anyone. And for this type of character, imprisonment or be penalized by incarceration is the worst that could befall him.
Let me recall the case of one Monico. He was formerly a branch clerk of court in a province North of Luzon until a case was slapped on him for estafa. The looks could be deceiving. He was almost Caucasian, smooth fair skin, medium built, in his late 30s and self assured. He was gentle and with good manners. He was clean shaven, groomed and on the side of confidence. That was on the day he was admitted in the Penitentiary. After a few hours, after the last of his escorts would leave, his whole person would drastically change.
Here was a good looking man who would cry as in moaning and in turn would scandalize the entire quarantine area—the place where newly received prisoners are confined in batches. And he would continue crying all throughout the entire week. Looking how detested the fellow has become; he literally was transformed into a greased looking character, unkempt hair, shabby comportment, cantankerous and ill tempered. He was already ripe to be beaten by his fellow inmates had it not for the segregation procedure the security personnel had undertaken on this type of offenders. Suddenly he was no longer that gentle person he would project. He evolved into a scum almost overnight. After a few struggling months, he died of a lingering illness due to in large part to his carelessness and predisposition to filth.
Then, there was this postmaster in a postal station from central Luzon who was imprisoned for doctoring his daily time record. Let me call him Leopoldo. He was the opposite of Monico. He was in a way unruly when he was turned over to the institution along with uneducated felons. Like his company, he was disheveled, scruffy and untidy. The only similarity he had with bureaucrats like Monico was their age. All others were completely the reverse. Even after a period the change would manifest in a surprising manner. He was like Monico, also a bureaucrat before he was charged and sentenced for five years. The change would recur after his admission; from a grumpy character into a behaved person. His prison uniform may be that low quality textile and easily stained and dusted but it is clean. His manners project education and breeding. Suddenly, he looked more of civilian personnel in prison than an inmate.
Former bureaucrats serving time in prison can be found in the extreme side of the population behavioral equation. Either they are the brusque and arrogant or they are the tamed and easily a choice to be selected as trustees or orderlies. It could be the result of their exposures and orientation as government worker that they imbibed such conduct but on the whole, they are never gregarious and always diffident and reserved. They are always inhibited and the last to respond to any order. They however could sustain whatever it is that is dictated on them, more assiduous and steadfast in following rules than the rest of the population.
Since these former bureaucrats occupy the extreme end of the behavioral scale, they could easily be located. Either they become active gang members or on the other hand, the most loyal security assistants or the most ardent office helpers.
And one can find these two contrasting persona haggled in every corner comparing notes while those in between were busy with their institutional chores. They constantly lament their fate and would cast aspersion on government and most especially the realization that they only have a few friends they can count on. They are united when it comes to the travail of serving time, always exchanging ideas and volunteering information. No, they are never on the compromising side, as in spying on what goes on in their respective posts. They would never discuss gangs or prison administration. The issue that constantly hugs their conversation is centered always on family, government and freedom.
Even if some of them would be ranked as high profile or celebrity prisoner, they are never that emphatic to project their worth. They are conservative when it comes to exposure. Unless prodded, they would never even take any initiative. It is precisely this initiative after all that brought them to prison. It is late for them though to realize that in government, initiative is a crime.
A bureaucrat in prison therefore is a picture of a bolt from the blue and his appearance expressed in coldness. They are the newbie sector since mainly what they have violated are mostly laws recently promulgated. This sector is non-existent before and probably would be amended later in the future. Meanwhile, they are the unlucky few severed from the mainstream of contemporary providence.
Posted on September 29, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged current-events, fellow inmates, good manners, human-rights, more than three decades, politics, society. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.