“Prisoners and prison staff are fascinated by gangsters. The former automatically gravitate towards them”
I get information about everything that goes on in any corner of the jail. But often I ignore many illegal activities because there’s just not enough manpower.
While 50 per cent of the prisoners feel remorse for their crime, the other half don’t change. Those who repent are model prisoners and live quietly in their barracks. The others can strike you even as you walk. The staff always go around in groups as the threat to one’s life is very real.
When prisoners whose cases are splashed in the media are jailed, our workload goes up. Other prisoners always try to provoke them. We try to keep them with prisoners who are meek, but that’s not a solution. When such prisoners are in the common area, they are heckled. But we don’t take any action, otherwise they will make life hell for the high-profile prisoner.
Prisoners divide themselves into three groups: masters, slaves and those who keep to themselves. Slaves are poor prisoners who have no money or access to lawyers. They do all the work of the masters. In turn, they are provided with lawyers.
Both prisoners and prison staff are fascinated by gangsters. The former automatically gravitate towards them. When gangsters are brought to prison, we have to caution the staff against becoming a part of their fan club.
I was threatened with dire consequences by a gangster-prisoner. I put him through the third degree. It did not make any difference. He became more aggressive. Though he has been transferred to another jail, I know he will definitely come after me once he is out. It is a fear I have to live with.
Prisons can’t be correctional centres. Those who want to reform will do so without any help. Hardened criminals will hand out suparis (murder contracts) even in prison. A prisoner once told me he saw no point in reforming because no one would employ him or deal with him if he started a business.
I don’t have any fancy ideas about trying to reform prisoners. I’m a policeman trying to do a job for the state. My job as a jailor has got me nothing but peptic ulcers and diabetes.
(He has been in the police service for over a decade and a half)