PRISON WORK, IS IT WORTH?
Working in what is considered the most dangerous sector of society makes any peace-loving professional curls up in fear. And why not? Decades ago, two prison superintendents were held hostage in separate instances in Iwahig Penal Colony (Palawan) and in San Ramon Penal Colony (Zamboanga). The officer in San Ramon was not lucky though. He along with his family was massacred inside their prison quarters. Countless incidents marred prison administration as it recorded horrible cases of manslaughter, assault and rape, pillage, murders, mayhem inflicted on prison officers and their families. Side by side these incidents are blood curdling incidents of traumatic brutality, viciousness and cruelty against prisoners too. The cycle of violence knew no end and it even spiralled to a level higher than the previous record to a large extent.
And quite recently, a prison superintendent was shot dead as he was about to report for work. A few weeks later, a prison physician was also gunned down and died instantly in front of milling people. These incidents were reflective of another fatal shooting incident which transpired a few years ago and the victim was a prison assistant director.
Of course, the cause of their deaths could be traced to individual and specific backgrounds and basis but the situation and profile are chillingly almost the same. All of them were prison officers and they all perished violently. While there are apparent clues, it could not be used as sufficient to blame prison work as reference. It could not even pass the measurement for inference and suspicion, just pure speculation and conjecture only. Whether some characters in prison or those related to them were involved in the violent end of prison officers remain a mystery up to the present. Malice dictates that there is possibility. But malice has no place in any objective investigation, only as tracer in every intelligence profiling.
Prison management entails a lot of impositions. One day, the administrator, depending on his outlook may be a bit iffy in enforcing rules, and in another occasion, depending on his mood, may be tolerant and understanding. Either way, prison rules are enforced in varied ways and means. The administrator is one and the implementer another. The rules may be strictly applied according to the leadership but when his lieutenants are nowhere inspired, the application may only be inaccurate and troublesome.
In another perspective, we have to look at the readiness of government to take the challenge. If at all, the requirement for management is that if the one in charge must have all what it takes to address a mandate, he must be armed so to speak. One does not push a soldier to wage war against a fully armed opponent with overgrown nails as his principal weapon only. And so we have facility filled to the brim. Government is hard pressed to fund any expansion and so offenders are left on their own wits to survive an overcrowded situation. On the other hand, the prison officer is expected to hold firm the baton of supervision, to enforce every restriction defined under his limitations as if the condition of his area is standard and pursuant to a benchmark.
It is only when trouble, conflict and divergence erupt that sends the stark message to all concerned and worst, the effect is even telling if not gruesome.
It is when the officer realizes only too lately that he cannot all by himself take down a dragon with bare hands. It is only then that he understands that he cannot bear on his shoulder what should have been a load of government and that he sooner or later comprehends, assuming he has not been attacked fatally, that it is not worth any heroic effort to work on your own after all.