A twist in a prison tale of reformation - GulfToday

A twist in a prison tale of reformation

Birjees Hussain

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.


The photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

There’s a young boy in the UK, in his late teens, doing time in prison for killing another teen. Now one would think being in prison would teach him a life-long lesson. But we’d be wrong. It turns out that from the teen killer’s perspective, prison was probably the best thing that could have happened to him. Apparently, he has become the prison’s drug lord. He now controls all the drugs that come into the prison and charges all the inmates who want it.

I don’t know what is more disturbing in this picture. The fact that this kid now has total control over all the narcotics going into the prison or the fact that narcotics are getting into the prison in the first place.

Don’t you ever wonder what the point of prison is? Yes, on the face of it, it’s there to separate criminals from the general population. It’s also there to confine prisoners in order to take away their privileges and to prevent them from having a normal existence. Moreover, traditionally they were there to punish convicts in the form of ‘X years hard labour’ because in the old days they actually did hard physical labour outside under the strict supervision of the prison officers.

These days, of course, that is not the case. Instead of punishing felons, the premise is to rehabilitate them back into society. That means that, while they are incarcerated, they are encouraged to live as normal a life as possible, within the confines of the prison walls. Almost as though they are living in a normal society, only they’re not. However, even though they’re not in normal society, they have access to the internet, the gym, study materials, phone calls and, yes, the ability to contact unsuspecting people on the outside.

It is true that there are many convicts who are not violent and were incarcerated for white collar crimes such as tax evasion, fraud and embezzlement. I suppose that if they are allowed external contacts, the chances of them inflicting bodily harm are low to non-existent. But switch him with a serial killer and you might have a different story.

So the question I might pose is, are prisons now a sort of a break for the felon? I mean, forget about prisons depicted in movies like ‘Face/Off’ or ‘Escape from Alcatraz’. Take the two boys who were convicted for killing 2-year-old Jamie Bulger in the early 90s. It’s highly likely that prison life for them was far better than their home lives.

Kids like that are usually from poverty-stricken backgrounds, maybe with an abusive father and a mother holding down two or more jobs to make ends meet. Boys like that had no toys, no TV, no bedroom of their own and perhaps no parental attention. These boys clearly played truant and so the chances are they would never have got an education. In prison these boys got exactly the things missing in their lives plus their own rooms, a television, a professional to talk to and a chance to study. For them prison was a massive break. Both their identities were changed and one of them now works in fashion and yet his colleagues do not know who he is or what he did!!!

Many prisoners get jobs inside and they get paid for doing them. It could be delivering mail, doing the laundry and serving food at mealtimes. They even get the chance to earn a degree and to acquire skills they would need when they finish serving their sentence so that they can try and get jobs upon release. It’s true though that they have huge problems getting and keeping jobs. But now imagine the teen killer. If he is earning large sums of money as a drug lord on the inside, what message is this sending him? And what skill is he learning that he can use when he is out? Is he going to kill again if he doesn’t get his way? In fact, incarceration for him taught him an additional criminal skill, aside from murder. Now he is a drug pusher. And what will he do on the outside?

That being said, where prison is not so tough some prefer to stay on the inside because they don’t have to work hard to pay for their room and board. After having said all of the above, I admit that some prisons must be a nightmare for inmates. They often experience violence and abuse from both the other inmates and prison staff. I guess in this case that is what might be considered ‘hard labour’.

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