Mortality in prison is almost as certain as daybreak. It is expected more than it is given. Deaths come in a form seldom anticipated. It is not even projected at all. Every prisoner believes in luck and they would stretch it to the limits of their capacities.
Whenever there are casualties reported, autopsy reveals that the cause is natural. Deaths come swiftly although in most cases, these were protracted and accompanied by agony. Imprisonment attacks the body through mouths and nose. If the food is not digested well, assuming it is nutritious, the immune system suffers. If his environment is limited to congestion, whatever it is that is inhaled definited would attack the lungs and therefore limit oxygen, the food of the brain. His behavior, his entire psychology there goes into a tailspin.
When these two considerations are present in the constitution of an inmate, he is therefore nearing his death bed. He behaves erratically, then he is goner. Either he would be reported the next day as a victim of “bangungot” (unable to wake up from sleep), he would have been too sloppy as to slip off from a watery passageway where his head would hit a hard object that would render him unconscious if not comatose for days until hope becomes dim or out of desperation, he would be found by a surprised group of cell mates hanging by a thread, tongue half way through with bruises everywhere, dead as a door nail.
There are also evidences of abuse. There were signs of intoxication. There were symptoms not only of substance abuse but drug related ailments. There were violations on one’s body, tattoos are liberally if not surreptiously imposed, the needles infected with contagious diseases, like hepatitis, aids and the like. Tuberculosis is prevalent and has claimed almost 80% of those sent for hospitalization.
As if this is not enough, some inmates would even enhance their sexual prowess by installing various liquid gels, plastic beads, toothbrush handles unto their organ and thereafter would be rushed for blood poisoning if not demise through gross infection.
Deaths are not intended at this historical period of correctional chronicle. Welfare and various medical intervention including emergency referral are modes applied if only to save an inmate from irreversible damage or untimely death. There are a number of programs that would protect and assure an inmate of healthy considerations but these however are drowned by the unhealthy, usually toxic experimentations they would secretly would experiment on.
There was a time when a group of inmates, thirsting for alcohol would drink several liters of isoprophyl alcohol. Majority would suffer blindness in the process, some blood poisoning. There were occasions when inmates would rather drink diluted detergents in lieu of antibiotic and claim healing, only to realize that they have signed their death warrants already.
And quite recently, gangs would even be lured to take the law unto their hands due to the exceedingly slow manner of due process. Inability to pay debts, deception, fraud, double cross are but a few instances when collective honor is besmirched calling for the imposition of the supreme penalty, this time carried out through gangland execution. There were some refinements though unlike when it is conducted in the free community. In the prison camp, a violator is shredded into pieces and flushed into the toilet bowl to the bewilderment of prison personnel during a headcount.
Of course, there is the classic scenario in every congested prison facility. Riots are often manifested. To trim down or localize the situation, it would be described as a personal animosity gone haywire, an exceptional situation that does not border on collective penalty or group restrictions. Usually, a gang would pay off from the same gang someone to attack a fellow member so that there will be no gang induced complications. And the other gang would usually approach the same tact.
Death in prison is never the opposite of survival. There is no such thing as survival in prison. Those who passed through the initiation rites under the regime of incarceration are never called survivors, they become zombies—living in the shadows, living without directions, living for no cause at all, unless of course they would choose to spend their time reading books, learning a craft, honing a skill.
There will be deaths in prison, that which is not the meaningful kind.