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peace in prison

It has been said and suspicion is rife that whenever there is peace in a highly communal facility like prison, expect it to be artificial if not superficial.  At any given time, more often than not, almost sudden, violence erupts.  There are tell-tale signs before a commotion.  There are factors and there are even stages.  Any violent streak has its respective genesis.  In prison or for that matter, any corrective facility, the breeding ground is congestion.

Experiments on congestion or overcrowding lead to trouble.  Pack a group of saintly seminarians in a tiny room fitted for just half of them and chances are, a portion would break away and start conflagration.  In prison, we talk of convicted persons, found guilty by the courts for breaking laws, lives and limbs.  It does not take to be a soothsayer or a fortune teller to predict what would happen next if this group would be lumped in a small space.

It is not true that when a person is convicted, he becomes a changed person overnight.  And that where he would serve time is the most peaceful place on earth because of the air of lamentation and the spirit of anguished repentance.  What is pervading is another emotionally loaded consideration.  There is vengeance in every inmate’s heart.  There is revenge at the very core of his awareness.  If at all an inmate would withdraw from such mental preoccupation it is because of his family or loved ones.  After all, they are the very subject from where his fault or crime emanated.  It was his fanatical love that pushed him to the precipice of committing an offense.

In prison, peace is to be haggled and negotiated.  It is wished for by the community and prayed by administrators.  Every commotion oftentimes speak of death on either side and worst, a career ending proposition for those tasked to manage the facility.  There is no other way but maintain peace whatever its posture is, whether it be permanent or tentative or artificial.  Peace is to be procured at any given price, with sacrifice as its foremost consideration.

If there is reigning peace, whether it is suspect or otherwise, there is success somewhere.  Who needs hostility in the first place.  Convicts have led a convulsive life bordering on brutality and accidental serenity.  It is this brand of serenity that is elusive in the free community but which is compelled as a matter of course in a homogenous environment like prison.  For the layman, this is an impossible to task to realize.  It is almost an unreachable star so to speak.  But there is no other option but tinker with possibilities to achieve a peaceful mark.  No one would dare contradict this situation in the first place.  In peace, there is hope and hope is always the moving force that generates internal change in the outlook of a person serving time in prison.  Nobody wants to be released in a box.

And so peace is pursued and sued by every moving object in the penitentiary.  Whatever its cost and worth, peace is everything.  In a congested situation that brings about explosive interaction, administration must be bold in providing a counter balance to an unbearable (overcrowded) situation.   Introducing amenities to make life bearable is one approach.  It creates a fulcrum on which peace is anchored.  Peace is therefore a responsible highlight on which every prisoner reckons.  A violation of peace is an invitation for these amenities to be taken out and suspended.  Hence, for a group which has been judicially sentenced for irresponsibility, this is a lesson on responsibility which can be internalized without force or compulsion.  Responsibility is learned as it is taught in the practical and understandable  sense.

To be responsible is a concrete term for rehabilitation in correctional administration.



US law enforcement, after a couple days, was able to pin down the identities of those involved in the Boston bombing incident.  Two boys almost out of their juvenile years, a 26 year old and another a 19 year old students of Boston school.   They are brothers.   Both are migrants from Chechnya, a Russian minor province.  Their parents sought sanctuary in US soil and applied for citizenship which eventually was granted.


What is behind this?  What is the persuasion behind the bombing?  Who stands to benefit from the violent mayhem committed?  What exactly will settle maiming several innocent civilians in the resulting carnage?  Assuming that the identified culprits, boys in their early adulthood, were the bombers, what compelled them to do it?  The crime is not one of passion, an instant, something which could have pushed them or made them snap.  It is a crime with deliberation as shown from the devise they used.  It was a slow, predetermined effort to work slowly in preparing a home-made bomb.  They boys barely out of their juvenile years, inexperienced in the field of terrorism, may have been inspired or lured into something sinister.


Surely, these boys acted with care, discretion and discernment.  They knew the consequences.  The bomb they were carrying had a purpose, one that would express their feelings and concerns.  They do not even look like they were the hopeless and desperate kind.    They were admitted in prestigious schools and the younger one even became a state scholar.  From a rural Russian province, these boys were reintroduced into American life and for a decade they were literally assimilated.  Their adjustment must have been too punishing psychologically for them.  While they grew as kids of strict Islamic environment, the American liberal atmosphere proved too generous for their adventurous and rebellious nature.  They were not only brought up in a copious community but fed with freethinking.  This may have been what inspired them to express and enforce their lethal plans.


The evil duo, a label of hatred they got after being identified as the culprits, believed, and may have subscribed in the mantra that one must destroy something in order to build a new one.  History of warfare yields numerous dramatic pictures where an area is bombed into extinction or bombed if only to be reconstructed into an ideal setting.  A Biblical scenario may have been noted also where Sodom and Gomorrah was flattened by an angry God because of excessive and sinful living.   Scholars know this.  The problem however with migrants is their conservative appreciation of where they are situated.  The feeling of alienation, of being unfit, of being belittled if not discriminated rule their day.  In USA, not so much in Europe, discrimination is the order of the day.  Life in the US has become impersonal to the point that life is mistaken as routine and ordinary.  Those who succeed are the most objective.  Migrants are basically a subjective lot.


It is not surprising that in places where impersonal relationship is descriptive of environment, heinous crime prevail.  An urban area which has achieved quite a level of barbaric hostility is ripe for any criminal mind to explode his evil deeds.  Denizens in these places should always be vigilant and always on the alert.    They must also be on their guard and if possible familiar with martial arts.  Without this component, any person is like a prey innocently roaming in a predatory environment.  Here, it is either the government or vigilantes who must stabilize the surroundings.  In their absence, the citizens are threatened with extinction.



ordinary citizen

It’s a dog-eats-dog situation and public safety is always threatened.  Before, if one is a whistle-blower, or a crime witness, most likely, the person is fair game.  Now, even if a person does not exude any material significance or social import, he is already a potential subject.  Government is rendered helpless and the only recourse is good old faith and reliance by loved ones on fate.


An Australian national who was held captive for more than one year has reappeared and rejoined his family after paying ransom.  Just the other day, a missing ABS CBN employee went missing and after 5 days reappeared, a victim also of kidnapping.  And there are countless cases of this nature which unfortunately have not been featured well because media’s attention is elsewhere.  No one is safe in our streets anymore unless you are armed.


How parochial and limited are public interest on issues today.  Instead of determining the difference between Liberal Party and UNA, between Sabah and a Sultanate, between Philippines and Malaysia, we are more conversant with what is happening in the bedroom of Kris and James!


An international study revealed that workers are more effective if they use in work their personal tools.  Accordingly, employees worked faster, happier and less stressed.  The private sector knows this intimately; hence they provide their workers company based incentive like company cars, computers, etc.  If government supplies personal computers to its workers as incentive and allows its use in the workplace, performance will likewise be enhanced.


Pope Francis emphasized during the celebration of the Mass that in his country, “burial shrouds do not have pockets.”  Greed, avarice, covetousness have no significance when one leaves this material world.  Yet some people crave and desire to the point of exploitation and crime.  Because of this war, violence and economic conflicts predominate the landscape where humanity is situated.  Hence, a few mortals are surrounded by symbols of power, amidst an ocean of wounds and sufferings.


The Pope has therefore rerouted Papal direction shunning the trappings of Papacy in favor of a collegial and simple style that harks back on the roots and ministry in slum areas.  In his homily, he urges the people to be “humble and young at heart.”  This is a quality not only for leaders to reckon but for all people to live in peace and harmony.


 Finally, the ABS CBN administrative officer was found although still in a state of shock.  She was brought by group of vendors walking aimlessly near The Mansion in Baguio City, unkempt and disoriented.  She merely filed some documents at BIR in Quezon City when she was abducted.  After a few hours, she was dumped in Baguio City.  She must have been mistaken as an Amazon or someone related to the rebels.  Her abduction smacks of a military type arrest—swift, organized and highly objective.  Had she been snatched by criminal elements, she could have been desperately thrown in nearby cliffs or numerous precipices in the mountain region.


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