Prison, jail, slammer or more politely stated: ‘He is on the inside’. It does not matter how you call it, it will always be a word with a negative ring to it.
The thing is that most people know nothing about it. Of course that is a good thing, but it sure activates our imagination. It has always inspired many authors, screenwriters, musicians and painters.
I can tell you that I worked in a prison for six years and you have to believe me when I say it is a world within a world. It has its own codes, language and sense of humor. There is tragedy and even romance.
It is a job I liked doing, and I am not saying they were innocent, oh no.
There where murderers, rapists, child molesters, Muslim extremists and so on. But within the boundaries of the system I could work with them, purely by being honest and straightforward.
Just for the fun of it I collected prison stuff.
In the old days a prison was a dark dismal building with a grumpy staff. No interaction between inmates and an abundance of hard labor.
There was a time in Holland and many other countries that inmates were not allowed to see each other, so when leaving their cell they had to wear a hood over their head. In those days they thought that the inmate would come closer to God.
Prisons are like hotels!
Often people told me with an accusing finger (like I invented it) that the Dutch prison was more like a hotel. Why?
The cells were 6×2 meters square with a toilet and a bed, a small sink, tiny coffee & tea machine and the inmates could rent a television and small fridge if they had any money. They were offered a few hours of sports each week, a library visit once a week and a few hours of open cell in the evenings for recreation or cleaning. Old peoples homes are less luxurious.
Very true, but it all has a reason. The lack of freedom is the punishment and nothing else. The Dutch society is a rich one, so the prison cell is far less than any poor persons house. Sounds fair to me.
I once had the privilege of visiting a Turkish prison. And yes, they had 20 to 50 people in a cell on bunk beds and no recreation or other privileges. But, when you see that there are still a lot of Turkish families that live in a one room house without luxuries then this make more sense.
Sleeping on a wooden board in a damp room, four holes in the floor to be used as a toilet and fleas to keep you company is not your average restful night. The Karosta prison in Lithuania is the only place where people actually pay for their stay. If you want to know what it’s like to be humiliated and treated like a criminal than that is the place to go.
Every year 20.000 visitors pay seven dollars a night, not bad at all.
People that did this say that it was frighteningly real and that many bailed out before the night was over.
You can also visit Alcatraz, there are daily tours that includes ferry ride to and from Alcatraz. And you can stay there as long as you wish. The boats return every half hour.