I can't help but feel a little sad for the inmates. What reduces a human being to behave this way. I'm not really a bleeding heart liberal, .. well, maybe I am. But I know enough about psychology and socialization to know that people endure a lot of crap in life before breaking. These men are broken. The initial reaction to them is that they are not human -- they are just, well, convicts. Some have described the appearance of masturbating prisoners as "monkeys in a cage at the zoo."
However, I happen to find that an insult to humanity. The underling tragedy goes much deeper. The problem is that the typical COs and the nurses are just doing their jobs, and want to be able to do those jobs each day in as nice an environment as possible. That is what all law abiding citizens want to do. However, some COs recognize that not much more can be done to these souls -- "they are already in ad seg (isoloation), what more can we do?" There is not much more to take from them... a blanket? a book? The whole thing is just sad.
There are reports now coming out of Guantanamo Bay where, as it turns out, many very innocent men were detained for many years. The psychological impact on them -- these non criminals, who were driving cabs and farming one day and in a cell half way around the world the next -- has been tragic. Many are losing their minds. Now, one of the curious, consistently reported symptoms of this, for many, has been excessive self exposure and masturbation. I happen to think that confined men tend to revert inside themselves over time and struggle to find one thing, one area of their life that they can retain and demonstrate power over. I happen to think that many men walking society freely today, if they were in the same situation, would find themselves doing some of this stuff after enough time. It is psychological. As long as the female COs and nurses feel assaulted by this behavior, and react to it, it will feed their pathetic actions. It is a sign of despair. It is very sad. Whatever these inmates did to deserve their sentences, the fact remains they are living their lives now behind bars. They are told when to eat, what to eat, when to strip, when to shower, when to urinate and when to sleep. For many of the COs and nurses, it is just a job and a matter-of-fact day. Inmates are no longer in control of anything about their lives. For some, the future is just more of the same (lifers, long term inmates, etc.).
If I worked in the environment, I think I would just pitty them, do my job, ignore their feable attempts at eliciting a response, and remind myself that these are human beings and but for the Grace of God, go I. At the end of the day, I get paid and I go home. They are home.
If, God forbid, I should ever find myself behind the bars facing any significant length of time, just let me end things my way. If I ever findmyself there as a truly innocent victim of the system, I will likely just forgive humanity before I check out my way. If I ever become that broken and pathetic to harrass the female staff, expose myself and masturbate as a demonstration of power, then I'm already gone.
There is new research coming out on all this stuff almost every day. The effects of confinement and isolation, in particular, are far more reaching than previously thought. Explore it, read it, and maybe even agree with some of it. At the very least it is worth reading if you want to consider working in the enviroment. And, always remember, you can work someplace else.