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When Security Isn’t

Page history last edited by PBworks 17 years, 3 months ago

When Security Isn’t


A few weeks ago, just before I returned to FDC Dublin, I took a trip to New York and had the opportunity to witness the new airport security measures in action. In what could be the most idiotic government policy yet, I was reprimanded as I stepped onto the plane for carrying the large soda I had just purchased at a restaurant behind the security gates. It took me a minute to apologize for my confusion as I had just taken a swi of my suspect and possibly explosive soda. But, it’s important we protect ourselves against edible liquid explosives, right?


I doubt it. In fact I’m disincline to think that these new precautions are about making people safe so much as they are intended to make people scared and remind them of the government’s control. Well, that and a last ditch, hail-Mary attempt to maintain GOP control of the House and Senate through the upcoming election. But this entry isn’t about planes or politics. It’s about control under veil of security and what I experienced upon my return to Dublin.


You see, shortly after I left prison, a bit of an altercation broke out in the rec yard, which will henceforth be referred to as the “Tomato Riot” although the word riot is probably a bit presumptuous to describe ten to twelve guys punching each other in the face over the hoarding of a few cherry tomatoes. After the fight the entire unit found itself locked down for several days. When we were finally permitted to gather in the common area again, several new policies had been adopted under the auspices of maintaining security.


First off, nearly everyone involved in the Tomato Riot was promptly shipped out to other facilities and the few that weren’t were placed in solitary confinement where they still remain today. As such, none of these changes that have been implemented apply to anyone involved in the figh — just everyone else.


Prior to the fight, the prison offered a salad bar. Afterwards we were each given individual salads instead. Although this change does limit our access to salad, it also ensures that everyone will get their fair share of tomatoes. This change alone makes logical sense and it doesn’t really punish anyone except the dishwashing staff.


The other reforms that were implemented aren’t nearly so logical and are reminiscent of the “explosive” soda I almost carried on the plane. Instead of daily visits to the rec yard, the unit (which currently contains less than 50 guys) has been split into two groups, and now we’re only permitted fresh air every other day, excluding Saturday and Sunday when we are all kept inside all day.


Additionally, we’re no longer permitted to carry our AM/FM Walkmen onto the yard or even our plastic water mugs. After all, one can never be too careful about the threat of liquid explosives.


On the the surface, these new restrictions might not seem all that outlandish. After all, the Tomato Riot did go down on the rec yard, right? Well, yes, but keep in mind that the rec yard is no larger than the unit itself and is actually much easier to observe. Both facilities are monitored by a single guard with limited remote observation.


While the indoor unit has a plethora of hidden inlets and rows of cells that are completely obscured from view, there is nowhere to hide on the outdoor yard. Given this, there really is no security advantage to the new policy.


Even less sensible is our new bedtime — I mean — lockdown time. Whereas we were permitted to congregate an additional hour after the 8:45 count before the Tomato Riot, today we remain locked in our cells from 8:45 PM until the next morning. Clearly this reform has no relationship to maintaining security. No, the new schedule is nothing more than a biting example of collective punishment.


Now collective punishment might make some amount of sense in the armed forceds. After all, a chain really is as strong as its weakest link. But expecting inmates to police each other in prison is not only asinine: it borders on being dangerous.


Furthermore, those who were actually involved in the altercation aren’t even here anymore. So, in essence, all these new policies do nothing more than punish the innocent. I’m not saying they aren’t guilty of their charges; but for the most part their behavior at FDC Dublin has been exemplary and this is the thanks they get in return? To have the screws tightened just a bit tighter?


The only thing accomplished is that the prisoners are more irritated; the government gets to assert its power power’s sake; and Mr. Bill Kubitz, the Jail Administrator, is revealed for who he is. Now if only the American people could see the motivation behind the new airport security measures as clearly as the inmates perceive the aforementioned policies, then America might actually begin to wake up.


But alas, the words of the late Bill Hicks still ring true today: “Go back to sleep America. Your government is in control.”

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