Free­dom’s just an­other word …

Mus­ings are thoughts, the thought­ful kind. For the pur­pose of th­ese ar­ti­cles, a-mus­ings are thoughts that might amuse, en­ter­tain and even en­lighten.

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Michael Walker

Mem­o­ries, I have learned, if you know how to treat them prop­erly, are one of the few re­ally good things about grow­ing old. Ev­ery so of­ten, I might be on the com­puter or even in the car, a golden oldie will trans­port me back in time to days that, in my mind, were hap­pier; in re­al­ity, I prob­a­bly had just as many be­sieg­ing prob­lems camped around my brain in those days as I do now; I just dealt with them bet­ter!

And no­body sang like Ja­nis, the orig­i­nal Lady Ja­nis, Jo­plin – that is, as she belted out Kris Kristof­fer­son's ‘Me and Bobby McGee' over 50 years ago. Once heard, you could never for­get that rasp­ing voice: “Free­dom's just an­other word for noth­ing left to lose, Noth­ing don't mean noth­ing honey, if it ain't free, Feel­ing good was easy, Lord, when he sang the blues, You know, feel­ing good was good enough for me, Good enough for me and my Bobby McGee.”

Talk­ing about Free­dom leads my mind down the main east coast high­way to our coun­try's sole pri­son de­pos­i­tory and longterm place of incarceration: Borde­lais. Since Mr. Her­mann's con­tract as Direc­tor was not re­newed and he re­tired his post af­ter many years of ded­i­cated ser­vice to the Na­tion, great things have been hap­pen­ing at the Cor­rec­tion and Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Fa­cil­ity – if I am to be­lieve the many re­ports of­fered by vis­i­tors and oth­ers to the fa­cil­ity.

First are the uni­forms that of­fi­cers wear when they are on duty. The po­lices­tyle uni­forms are gone or due to go soon, so it ap­pears, and are be­ing re­placed by khaki shirts and pants rem­i­nis­cent of the old Colo­nial Days. Wait for it … they are even go­ing to be car­ry­ing ‘ba­tons', ready to quell re­bel­lious in­mates ‘in a jiffy'. One can al­most imag­ine the colonels and their fel­low colo­nials sit­ting sip­ping their ‘Gin-'n-its' on the bal­conies over­look­ing the ex­er­cise com­pounds su­per­vised by their khaki-clad ‘chaps'. Of course, I may have got hold of the wrong end of the stick; it might be the in­mates who are wear­ing khaki, but I am pretty cer­tain they won't be car­ry­ing ba­tons to and from their units.

Se­condly, se­cu­rity has been beefed up in in­no­va­tive ways. In for­mer days, de­spite of­fi­cial re­quire­ments for ev­ery­one to be searched be­fore en­ter­ing the fa­cil­ity, it was long sus­pected that the only way to get con­tra­band into the pri­son was with the con­nivance of cor­rupt of­fi­cers. Lob­bing valu­able as­sets over the perime­ter fence was a dicey busi­ness at best. Nu­mer­ous of­fi­cers had been de­tained over the years whilst at­tempt­ing to im­port un­de­sir­able sub­stances. Un­der the new regime this will no longer hap­pen: se­nior of­fi­cers are now ex­empt from be­ing searched when en­ter­ing or leav­ing the fa­cil­ity, pre­sum­ably be­cause they would never at­tempt to im­port or ex­port banned sub­stances in the first place.

The new Direc­tor's du­ties have been stream­lined; he does not deal with ad­min­is­tra­tive mat­ters. He has ap­pointed a se­nior of­fi­cer as his Per­sonal Aid – a new­ly­cre­ated post – whose job it is to deal with all the pa­per­work and te­dious, mun­dane as­pects of a Pri­son Direc­tor's life. This far-reach­ing re­form al­lows the new Direc­tor to spend more time in his new ve­hi­cle as he is driven to and fro by his own per­sonal, newly-ap­pointed driver – a post that had not pre­vi­ously ex­isted or had been va­cant. Let no one say that Borde­lais does not cre­ate jobs!

Sun­day is now a Day of Rest which means that there are no longer any church ser­vices held on that day at the fa­cil­ity, which fur­ther means that one of the in­mates' few sources of recre­ation and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion has dis­ap­peared on the Lord's Day. Vis­its by friends and fam­ily are also banned on Sun­days, the only day most vis­i­tors can be free to travel to meet their loved ones. Th­ese new mea­sures of En­forced Es­trange­ment and Col­lec­tive Pun­ish­ment are ex­pected to make the in­mates' re­turn to so­ci­ety even smoother and fric­tion-free, once they learn to un­der­stand the Value of De­pri­va­tion.

The ar­chaic rules that al­low in­mates al­ready de­prived of com­pany or so­lace any real food dur­ing Seg­re­ga­tion are now strictly en­forced. In­stead of pro­vid­ing in­mates in soli­tary con­fine­ment with regular pri­son ra­tions, mea­ger as they are, they are fed – if that is the right word – on a diet of good, healthy, nour­ish­ing bread and de­li­cious wa­ter. And some might say that we are not an en­light­ened na­tion led by en­light­ened lead­ers. “Pshaw!” I say to them, “Pshaw! And shame on you who dare doubt our Na­tion's Path to Re­demp­tion and Right­eous­ness through Care and Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion!”

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