CONTRABANDS IN PRISON
I am at times at a loss whenever my friends would call up asking me if it is true that there are contrabands entering prison. That it is okay if contrabands are circulating outside but a big no if at all it is brought inside the prison camp. I have an eerie feeling that they have presumed that prisons are areas where saints are bred, where the virtuous can be found, where incorruptibles are housed and therefore anything illegal found outside is anathema once it is introduced inside. Furthermore, penal facilities have veritably shrunk as a consequence of overpopulation.
There was even a kid who asked me why not pack all contrabands and illegal substances then bring it all inside the prison camp so that nothing will circulate in their school and community anymore. Sounds brilliant.
Ideally, prisons should be bereft of anything abusive or excessive. It should project a highly disciplined, managed in a totalitarian manner even, administered properly in accordance to rules and life inside should be regulated and absolutely structured. It should be free from anything that would encourage cruelty. Communal life must partake of a Spartan. Everything is standard, every corner bent in favor of sanity. While serving time, being segregated to family, brutalizes a person, the camp should never be a space devoted to vindictiveness or retribution.
Contrabands like liquor, drugs, deadly weapons, explosives, firearms even money or jewelry, to name a few, should never be a part of the prison community. It must be clean. It must be spotless and unsoiled. Everyone must adhere to a regime, act in accordance with a signal, behave like cadets, and work like monks. The prison community must be devoted to contemplation and everything that surrounds the restricted environment is dedicated to harmony and peace.
But our jails and prisons are not like that in the first place because of congestion. There is defiance as far as spatial management is concerned. Laboratory experiments on rats when lumped and congestion is simulated, the test result would just be as glaring and even fatal. The same can be said on plants and any living thing for that matter. Unless there are changes in criminal justice policy, offenders should never be subjected to a negligent procedure of undergoing slow death through overcrowding. I still believe that the Constitution is clear on this and that the policy of the State is to prevent the imposition of excessive, cruel, degrading and inhuman punishment.
When there is congestion, prison personnel are already in a bind. Their effective strength is diluted. Their institutional focus is unfortunately scattered. There is no concentration anymore. There will be lapses and gaps everywhere. Leniency may be perceived when their functions are stretched to a certain limit. Not even the X-men can perform a competent job given the challenges. No amount of training or heroism can promote a singular act of maintaining a facility whose population has grown into a monstrous figure. There is no Greek mythological god that can squarely address this condition.
Where there is congestion, there is excess, cruelty, degradation and inhumanity in full color. What else can we ask for?
Contrabands? It merely passes through lapses and gaps. It is ingested (and later defecated) by visitors, thrown above the fledging fence, smuggled in by exasperated personnel, flown in by pigeons, whatever. Congestion makes it happen.
Prison administrators are always blamed as culprits. Well, they are really blameworthy if they will not exert extra effort to disclose the congested situation in their facilities. The State however is to be reckoned eventually if despite pleas and protestations by the agency, nothing is being done.
Contraband in prison is merely a fever.