“UNORTHODOX” PRISON PRACTICE
“Kubol” is a term which has entered the lexicon of criminal justice administration through tolerated practices in the infrastructure complexion of corrective administration. It is a cubicle, hence the term “kubol” contrived by prisoners assigned in a dormitory type facility. Dorms are facilities designed to accommodate a number of prisoners and it is one stretch of a facility with two rows of bed bunks, usually double decker. If inmates have prolonged period to serve in the facility, the dormitory type, usually a carry-over of the barracks used by military and trainees, no longer could serve a positive purpose. Aside from the fact that in prolonged incarceration, privacy sets in.
There is nothing wrong in communal living as long as the period is calibrated to mean for a specific short period, say, on semestral basis. But if it extends further, then abuses are formed, violation of privacy and most of the time, there is gross awareness to the point of contempt that pervades. There will come a time, and this is usually after a few summers, when viciousness and passion would ran high and the threshold for restraint snaps into a murderous rage. Suddenly, the prison community becomes a witness to blood bath and correctional administrators would find themselves groping in the dark.
When privacy is intruded and infringed as when a person is inured to period of gross familiarity there is immediate hostility created and what will ensue would be a series of character wracking attitude like predilection to suspicion, distrust and misgiving. This further translates into collective cynicism, the exact opposite of that climate which corrections fosters on the community. The prison community would just explode into a riotous series of mayhem and turmoil.
Time came when liberality in prison administration dawned. It was also a time when the population would soar to an unmanageable level. Supervision has become terribly difficult. While the population doubled and tripled, the number of prison personnel never took off to reach an effective ratio. It was at this juncture, when prisoners decided to subdivide their dormitories into cubicle. Thus, the “kubol” was born.
Privacy assured, the kubol became an emblem of solitude, a space for contemplation, a guarded place where an inmate or a handful of inmates can retreat into silence. Kubol emplaced, violence was subdued, normalcy restored and sanity suddenly took over. In a community where the average period of one’s stint is 15 years, privacy is the most significant consideration he gets to enjoy and his kubol the most precious temple he is proud to possess.
But there are complaints aired. Kubols in the public perception is also a template for luxury, an expression of excess and an unjust arrangement which moneyed inmates could partake. It has become virtually an issue that bespeaks of ineptitude in prison management, an irregularity in allowing a few to transcend above the usual treatment accorded everyone. It has been translated into a topic, a central dispute, if you may, which prison administrators must squarely answer.
In reality, the kubol is just an ordinary construction arrangement, a mere contraption, which inmates took it upon themselves since the State has no funds to rebuild prison structure into cell blocks. It is the inmates themselves who out of personal security and welfare, that which the State through its correctional system must sustain, would initiate for their own ends. That they are secured equates to the realization of correctional mandate on safekeeping of prisoners.
As time went by, however, some inmates would spend personal resources to improve, at times would extend to the tune of abuse. These can be remedied however by an administrative act of transferring those who out of mishandling the area assignment would ignore common institutional posturing. On the whole, the kubol is just a simple approach to translate unsympathetic dormitory barracks into livable cells or makeshift studios. It is just plain recognition and understanding of the incarcerated humanity on a personal level.