Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Indignity of Prison
Fr. MacRae has a new post today discussing the reality of his life in prison. The images he describes are quite vivid to me, having walked through a few prisons as a student, having made arrests in my career, in transporting prisoners to local jails, etc.
For awhile, I considered a career as a Corrections Officer, but found it really didn't appeal to me; I never pursued it, and I'm glad for that.
Even though I've read accounts of prisoners about prison life, and I know what it's like, at least to some degree, to stand on the other side, one of the striking things about Fr. MacRae's post is the incredible depersonalization that takes place on both sides...because it must.
Most people walking around today have never had that sense of guard-prisoner, which changes the dynamic of any kind of interpersonal relationship. From the side I was on, I realized that x person was now under my authority, and a great deal of ethics had to come along with that. Yet, one can sense a subtle change, and although I didn't recognize it at the time, there was a certain amount of depersonalization that took place. As I did not work in a prison though, I truly only have the slightest grasp of this reality, and can, at best, only muse about it.
Fr. MacRae describes this well, though, from the viewpoint of being a prisoner, so far removed from the respect he deserves with his clerical status which is NOT recognized in prison. Unwittingly, even in his own words, he depersonalizes the guards, for in being treated like one of the cattle, how could he see the guards that escorted him in chains as anything other than impersonal "handlers", for truly, that is what they were?
I do not quote his post on this page as I think it best for you to go and read it for yourself.
Please pray for Fr. MacRae and for all priests wrongfully imprisoned in the great injustice of the witch-hunt that convicted without evidence and condemned with false trials.