CORRUPTION IN PRISON
With many of our prisons awash with drugs and mobile phones it poses the question to the general public, how do prisoners in supposed maximum security prisons get their hands on large quantities of drugs and high end mobile devices?
The answer to that simply is ‘corruption in prison’, this problem has existed for many years and will continue to be a problem as long as there is money to be made.
Prison officers aren’t immune to temptation and the chance of a quick buck can tempt some of the most straight laced officers, indeed i have been witness to and privy to corruption on various levels, and have seen first the damage this can do within the prison. When large amounts of drugs are available in any prison this increases the chance of vulnerable addicts in various stages of withdrawal and recovery getting into debt that ultimately they cannot pay, and with violence being the tool used in most cases to collect any outstanding monies the outcome is not hard to work out.
As i stated this is not a new thing and Johnny regaled James English with a story of a prison officer by the name of ‘Jim Watt’ who could for a price arrange for you not to be transfered to ‘HMP Peterhead’ if you did not wish to go there. Due to its tough reputation and location, it wasn’t a favoured prison for many convicts as for the most they were mostly from Glasgow and the central belt. So for the tidy sum of £2000 ‘Jim Watt’ would make other arrangments for anyone willing to pay, Watt was playing with fire you may think and you would be right ! What happens when you play with fire though ? Usually you get burned and that certainly was to be the case here.
A friend of Johnnys a fellow by the name of ‘Joker’ Steele (no relation) was on the draft and Peterhead bound when he decided to engage the services of Watt. Joker wasn’t short of a few bob and had a house in the upmarket suburb of Erskine on the outskirts of Glasgow which Watt attended to supposedly collect the fee. Jokers wife seemingly was a bit of a looker, whilst Watt was in her home she got an un-easy feeling and felt that he was about to make a move on her, so she made the excuse that she didn’t have all the money and that he would need to come back the next day. Watt eventually left the premises and once Joker heard about the shenanigans of Watt he told his wife to phone the cops, Watt’s days for screwing money out of prisoners was over.
He duly attended the next day to a bugged premises and was indeed arrested, tried and convicted, infact he ended up in Peterhead and Joker Steele remained in Barlinnie for free !!
More recently i remember a case of ‘corruption in prison’ when i myself was in HMP Kilmarnock.
A prison officer who we will call Colin was on the take. In hindsight Colin was a very damaged individual and should never have been near a prison landing. Colin had spent over 20 years in the army all over the world and had been in many combat zones, he was a chronic alcholic and i would say he was riddled with PTSD.
Anyway on the day in question Colin appeared at my cell door asking if i knew where any ‘hooch’ was as he was severely withdrawing from alchol and it was plain to see. I informed him that as far as i knew there was no hooch but i could give him a temgesic tablet(opiate) to snort and a smoke at a joint to which he eagerly accepted. I closed the cell door crushed the pill which he hoovered up in one full swoop and rolled a joint for us to share.
After partaking in the smoking of the joint Colin proceeded to thank me and left the cell in a better state than he entered to carry out his duties. I lay back on top of my bunk and five or so minutes passed then i heard Colin shouting ‘ canteen’ which was to let us(inmates) know we could now go and get our provisions from the shop, i left it another 5 or so minutes before joining the que for the canteen and there was the bold Colin getting bars of chocolate of off inmates, Colin had the munchies !!
Colin got away with bringing all sorts of drugs and phones into the prison for years, his bosses knew but could never catch him. They finally sacked him for stealing a mars bar from the visit room shop. Colin is now dead and it saddens me because paradoxically i thought and still do that he was a good man, damaged by his service in the army.
These two instances of corruption in prison have a certain comedy to them but i could regal you with other stories that would really shock you in how far corruption in prison reaches but a lot of the main protagonists in the stories are still alive so i will keep them for another day.
Corruption in prison will always be a problem and more thorough vetting of prison custody officers may help but i doubt it, they say ‘every man has a price’, this may be true its just some peoples price is lower than others.