Here’s the seventh teaser from a book that I am currently writing. This chapter that this excerpt is taken from was difficult to write. It goes deep into my feelings at the time of being a prison officer and the confliction that was going on in my mind.
“OK, do you think Endstall is in danger of harming himself?”, asked S.O. Mallard. A question that I dreaded. Saying no meant worrying whether he would be found hanging from the ceiling of his cell the next morning.
“I’ve not made my mind up about that yet, sir”, I replied, buying myself a bit of time.
“We’ve got another 90 minutes before we lockup for the night, so check on him a few times before bang up and we’ll re-evaluate again before we go home”, suggested S.O. Mallard before taking a large mouthful of coffee.
“No problem”, I replied. Satisfied with that advise I went to leave his office.
“Lee…have you read his file yet?”
“No, sir…I’ve just got him into his cell”.
“A word of advice, young Lee…before you collect a prisoner from reception…”, he said as he picked up Endstall’s green offender file from in front of him and gently threw it at me to catch. I caught it.“..always read their file. You’re now his personal officer”.
Appointing me as Endstall’s personal officer forced me into reading his file ASAP and arranging an interview with him on the wing for the next day. I took a walk up to the 3’s landing office to read Endstall’s file.
Endstall, known to the police as Nitro, had been sentenced to life in prison for crushing * ***** **** ****** ****, using his own body weight and ****** ******* ***** into the eye of a prostitute.
Reading the details of his horrendous crime, again, doubted my ability to remain impartial and fair to all offender’s on this wing. During the training, the instructors would use a phrase “Offenders were sent to prison as punishment, and not to be punished further.” It wasn’t the job of a prison officer to further punish offenders by denying their rights or treating them inhumanly.
That made sense to me during my time at training. We were also told that it was OK to feel empathy towards offenders, but not sympathy. But I was now struggling to come to terms with my own judgement of character.
I had felt a degree of empathy towards Endstall after meeting him for less than 30 minutes. Had he played me? I felt like a complete bell-end. I had been trying my best to be myself as a prison officer. Not to put on some false persona. But this experience had made me question whether that was the right thing to do.
*This excerpt is a first draft, unedited version. May include grammar and spelling mistakes.
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