Man Up - By Prisoner Ben Gunn


My introduction to the punishment block began when I was 14. As is my way, I was refusing to entertain some stupidity or other that was being imposed upon me. In the block I was fed a couple of times a day, thrown some books and given a shower once a week. Apart from that, solitude reigned.
Was it difficult? Yes and no. In an empty cell, how do you keep generally occupied for 23 hours a day? For me, the time was devoured by pacing and reading. I asked for nothing and was given nothing. This has remained my way of dealing with being put in the block.
This is not the method that suits everyone. While there are those who get behind their door and just "do their bird", asking for nothing but their strict entitlements and not whining, there are others who find it horrible. They seem to be perpetually seeking the attention of staff and whining. This is not a pretty sight.
Not that I habitually pass judgement on how any man chooses to serve his sentence. If acting like a spoilt, whining child is what works for you, go for it.
My concern is how this appears to staff, as a group whose views of prisoners do tilt towards the unpleasant. I have always thought that an important part of any conscientious con's job was to challenge staff attitudes and show that we are not a collection of pathetic morons.. The first way to do that is not to act-up to staff stereotypes. It is in this context that the way a con does his time in the block is important.

Be a man, my son!