Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I have been thinking more about the Clockwork Orange story.  There was a prisoner at Huron Valley who made me think about it a lot.  He was a very small Hispanic guy, very young.  He constantly got up in everybody's face, staff and prisoners.  He liked to belly bump people. So he caught a lot of misconduct reports.  He was in the mental health program, much to the chagrin of the mental health staff'who found him very difficult to handle.  They vacillated between letting him go and facing the consequences, and medicating him to the point they could control him.  He usually came into the hearing room all bouncy and energetic.  He always admitted what he did.  He tried to explain it, he tried to understand it, but he just didn't have the off switch he needed to stay out of trouble.  Everyone worried that someday he would face off with the wrong person and get seriously hurt.  I kind of liked him, he had a spark of life that had not been extinguished in prison.  He just couldn't control it.  One time he wanted to get out of his cell.  He got impatient ( a common state for him ) and tried to crawl out the food slot.  He got stuck.  The staff took a picture of him before they helped get him unstuck.  It was posted in the sergeant's office.   
One day he came into the hearing room completely changed.  He barely talked, he could barely stand up or sit up.  He kind of weaved in his chair.  His eyes appeared glazed over.  His personality was completely gone.  He would no longer be troublesome, he would no longer be anything.  It hurt to see the loss of a human being.  How far should we go to alter a person's behavior?  That was the question posed by A Clockwork Orange, a profoundly disturbing book.

Other prisoners  exhibited radical changes in behavior that surprised me.  One of my "frequent flyers" was always polite and soft spoken to me in hearing.  One day I saw him in segregation where officer had to be present for the hearing.  I was reading the misconduct report and all of the sudden he hissed at the officer, "What are you laughing at?"  He spoke very aggressively, jerked himself around to stare down the officer.  The officer's only offense was smiling slightly.  This behavior startled me a lot.  I talked to him for a minute and got him calmed down, but I always saw him differently after that.