WHEN PEACE IS DISTURBED IN PRISON
A philosopher once said something like when a leaf falls down from a tree, the universe has been shaken. In prison, where everything is suspect from the viewpoint of the free community, anything that speaks of comfort is gruesome, anything that speaks of anguish is acceptable. For the prison administrator, anything that brings forth pain should be translated into education, anything that introduces aggression should be diverted towards religion. That should have been the tenor of correctional relationship.
Prison work is pure balancing act though. And this is reserved for those with greater threshold of patience, a higher edge of tolerance and of course true grit.
One day the prison officer is perceived as dispenser of kindness, in another day, as a symbol of tyranny. Sometime, the prison officer is a friend, the next day a suspect. In prison, the bond is almost on the level of love-hate. In prison, the mood spells out the temper of the day; an indicator that could mean danger.
Prison life disguises serenity with fear. There is always a distraction, there is always stress. To an inmate, membership to a group is not always a form of insurance. At times, it is even a passport to a continued life to be spent in eternal incarceration.
While time and life are treasured in the free community, these are merely seen as expendable commodities with little value in the prison community. There is no such thing as life in the real sense in prison. It is just a figment of statistics. A prisoner is identified through his number, understood in terms of how long he has spent serving time, appreciated on the quantity of his exposures in regular program and eventually is given a numeral category on the way to his release even granting that while imprisoned he even would use golden utensils on meal time. For a duration, he is virtually freezing in hell.
But there is a singular word that could describe the ideal of prison servitude and it is in every way free and can be obtained without cost, without charges. It is peace. Once it is distressed however then the entire community is affected. The prison universe is unsettled. Prison administration is in a tail spin.
Everyone is stunned. The environment becomes gray, deprived of color, dispossessed with hope. The space is reduced and dim is scattered in every corner. Adrenaline is readied. A single follow though violent incident could even trigger a conflagration. Everybody is unsure. Friendship is tested in the furnace of suspicion.
As it were, sympathy is only reserved for the uninitiated. Empathy is even inexistent. Melancholy is in everyone’s lips. Preserving peace therefore in a congested total institution is wish fulfillment, a dream majority is praying for in silence. It is however elusive in a jam packed situation, remember there is the equation balance of nature?
There will be peace eventually if it would be undertaken by a ground swell, a long shot done through firm and considerate handling. As they say, water, whichever condition, would still seek its own level.