Sir David Longland prison QLD B Block exercise yard
QUEENSLAND INDETERMINATE SENTENCE PRISONERS ASSOCIATION. THE B BLOCK ATTITUDE...
"You are a product of your environment, whatever environment that may be." Dr. Tony Vincent.
If it were possible to characterize the term B Block attitude in a modern dictionary, it would read something like "demeanor of inhabitance" or "state of mind or behaviour of occupants".
Inmates living in B Block are too often labeled with having a B Block attitude, the authorities categorize inmates and this, is then used and viewed in a negative light. This labeling may very well, and has retarded the classification process of some inmates. Or the day to day treatment of inmates by some correctional staff, sanctioned by management.
The Sir David Longland Correctional Centre has three Blocks, K Block which is for protection inmates. It is often talked about by staff and sociologist, the enormous difference in conditions and atmosphere between K Block and B Block. "It's like going into a different world".
The inmates in K Block are allowed to move around within the Block, they have a large well stocked library, activities centre for pottery, etc, more work opportunities, their cells are open all day, better classification prospects, sun can shine into their yards, they can look out their cell windows and feel any fresh breeze, they grow vegetables and have much better living conditions.
C Block is for main stream inmates; they too have better conditions than inmates in B Block. They can go to their cell whenever they feel the need; they have the cell doors open all day. They have a large industrial laundry which employ up to 40 inmates, they can look out their cell windows, sun shines into the unit, cells and yard. Most C Block inmates have better prospects during the classification process.
B Block inmates have a B Block attitude, which is a direct reaction to their environment. Inmates being placed in B Block are not classified for B Block, inmates are not placed in B Block to be punished for any given reason. Over the year's, it has been the case that unit 6 B has been used for what is viewed as troublesome inmates, it is now used as a reception unit.
In B Block, sunlight can never shine into the exercise yards or cell windows because they have all been covered in, after the Abbott escape. A limited number of inmates can work in industry, the Block normally holds 84 but only about 15 can work in the Bakery. B Block is the most poverty stricken Block in any Queensland prison, by prison standards.
The number of inmates attending the oval sessions are down to a trickle, there is only so much any number of inmates can do on an oval. After a few years the oval sessions become less attractive for activities and some inmates only go for a walk in the sun for that hour. Some staff members seem more content when all inmates are confined to their units, less to do.
Prisoners are treated differently in B Block for no apparent reason, no breach of rule. They are simply housed there and some are lost in the system, some inmates are there for many years, placed in the too hard basket, some inmates have been in B Block for seven or eight years.
After a few years you learn to adapt, adjust and you withdraw into the abyss of confinement. The mental state of inmates take on a learn helplessness and embrace the dark side of confinement, prisoners are so confined they learn to rely on it.
They become institutionalized in a very short time to B Block and prison. A B Block inmate will go before the sentence management committee for his 6 monthly review, only to tell them "I want to say here".
It seems easier to leave inmates in B Block because three or four years ago they were in some trouble while in some other prison or maybe only suspected of being in trouble. Some inmates are simply just unlucky enough to end up there. After spending many years in the prison system, a surprising number of inmates end up in B Block for their final years, only to be released into society from B Block as very angry young men.[Indeed!]
[Question is: does big brother want them released to recidivism? A bit of noble cause corruption keeps the victim industry alive? The problem with that scenario is who is going to become the next victim? I mean considering these prisoners were made to feel angry with retribution at taxpayers expense at around 60,000 dollars per year!]
From the moment an inmate gets out of bed, he is reminded where he is by the sealed windows, no natural air and extra steel security mesh blocking out most natural light. Inmates in B Block never experience sunlight or a fresh breeze coming into their cell, the windows in the cells in B Block serve no useful purpose to what windows were designed for, they could brick them in and it wouldn't make any difference.
AIR CONDITIONING IN UNITS AND CELLS:
With the introduction of air conditioning with-in all cells and units in B Block, inmates are now exposed to air conditioning for 24 hours a day (not the exercise yard) and in some cases for years.
A number of inmates have been in this block for up to 8 years and some rarely leave their cell. It has been the case that the air conditioning has broken down, in a few cases for 5 days at a time. Once the air conditioning fails, the only air you'll get is from under the door leading to the hallway. Some inmates have had anxiety attacks because of the confinement and lack of fresh air.
The exercise yards in all units in B Block are now closed in with extra cladding to all external surfaces. No direct sunlight ever comes into the exercise yards at any time of the day. Block walling surround more than three-quarters of the yard. A portion of one wall is covered in with compressed steel mesh with small holes, plus another mesh fence being the original fence. No fresh air comes into these yards because of the mesh and the fact that there is no cross ventilation for air to pass through the yard. The roofing of all unit exercise yards in B Block have been covered in stopping any sunlight. In the summer months, heat generated from the tin roofing over the exercise yards makes the yard so hot, normal use is avoided.
A fire broke out in unit 4-B; the yard filled up with smoke not unlike any other room would indoors. The smoke had no-where to go, there was no wind to blow into the yard, no cross ventilation to take the smoke out of the yard.
The exercise yards were once considered a safe refuge in case of a fire in any unit, this is no longer the case in B block. Should a fire break out in the area where the unit security doors are, stopping officers from entering the unit, inmates in the exercise yard would certainly perish. No instructions have ever been issued to inmates regarding fire procedures.
Some sealed windows in the common area of the unit became too hot to touch, if these windows had of broke, due to the heat of the fire, it is believed the yard would have filled with smoke long before the officer made it into the unit.
Inmates in the yard had placed articles against the yard door (to keep the door closed) to minimize smoke coming into the yard, still the yard filled with thick black smoke. The top half of the yard had black smoke, which was building and making its way down. Inmates were all in one corner of the yard laying on the ground being the only place left with breathable air, they could no longer see inside the unit due to black smoke.
A walk in the exercise yard serves to remind inmates they are in B Block. They learn to live with the added restrictions but resentment runs deep, inmates feel they are being punished for no wrongdoing. Hostility becomes common place, inmates are frustrated watching other inmates dip out over trivial matters because the stress factor becomes too much.
The fact that anger is not a spontaneous emotion and requires a stimulus, this stimulus is most frequently provided by the senseless provocation so prevalent in the B Block environment and is neither recognised and/or acknowledged. Prisoners are depersonalised and dehumanised; yet expected to remain "normal" in a very unnatural environment. Any demonstration of anger or frustration is punished. The option of removing or minimizing the stimulus is largely ignored.
Management should not be so quick to blame the inmates of B Block for having what is termed a B Block attitude. You could remove every inmate in B Block and fill B Block with new inmates, management would still experience the exact attitude as they are today. Inmates who move on to normal prison conditions, don't take the B Block attitude with them, only the memories.
We are the product of our own environment: By Ronnie Thomas posted 24 March 03
[Yes and from the outside looking in they're the product of NOBLE CAUSE CORRUPTION!]
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