Part 4 – HPT for Prisons
Following on from the previous posts, this section comes from nearly one hour in to the HPT Keynote. The inmates have taken some serious in roads into \’response-ability\’ and are actively getting involved.
DM. Many of you, if not ALL of you, have beliefs that the system is against you. The courts were against you. Prison staff are against you. Even your fellow inmates are against you. You probably think that I am against you. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you REALISE that your FEELINGS… your BELIEFS, REAL OR NOT, have NO relation to REALITY. YOUR REALITY DOESN\’T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT YOUR BELIEFS!!
You have to cut all that crap. You have to concentrate on you, yourself. (DM points at an inmate with his hand up) Yes?
P-A. When I am being hassled by the screws (prison officers) then i cant just back down. DM. Nobody is asking you to back down. I am just telling you that you have alternatives. I know that the agreement in here is that you have to be seen to be tough guys and moan about how bad things are in here…I want you to realise, I want you to get that THAT DOESN\’T WORK! Its like driving the wrong way down the motorway, weaving in and out of the oncoming traffic. That traffic on the motorway doesn\’t give a damn about you! I don\’t mean you have to give in or give up. Just be responsible. You have set all of this up. P-A. Last week the screw on my landing mouthed off at me. When I was sentenced I had a shaved head so i have been growing my hair but he stopped me and said \’hey, get your hair cut right away\’ DM. And what did you say? P-A I told him to get f**ked! (Inmates laugh. DM smiles and nods) DM. Good. Did it work? P-A. it felt great DM. I bet. But did it work? P-A. Ya shoulda seen his face. DM. I know, i can imagine. But DID IT WORK? P-A. No (inmates laugh loud, including P-A) DM Understand this. You committed a crime. You are a prisoner so you set this whole thing up. you have set up the scenario that you are the prisoner and he is the officer. That\’s it. Nothing is changing that. No amount of resistance will change that. You are all the same here. OK? You can do one of two things. Keep resisting it, which means you keep weaving in and out of oncoming traffic in the hope that a big articulated lorry doesn\’t come along and wipe you out in a head on collision, or…you choose it. You take responsibility for it. If you come to understand that you created this scenario you are living in, you caused it, that the rules around here are YOUR rules, you will run it instead of having it run you! WHO CARES WHAT THE SCREW SAID TO YOU? WHY DO YOU CARE? That\’s the trouble. You are more interested in being right about what an asshole that screw is than you are in making your life inside here work. And the only one you are cheating, and getting one over, is YOU! Let\’s say you buy me a present and when you give it to me I tell you I don\’t want it…Who owns it? Not me…I said I didn\’t want it. You own it. In fact, you never gave it away. UNLESS I AM WILLING TO ACCEPT WHAT YOU GIVE ME, SAY TO ME OR DO TO ME, WHAT YOU GIVE, SAY OR DO WILL MAKE NO DIFFERENCE TO ME WHATSOEVER!!! (inmates all start agreeing and saying \’yeah\’) P-A isn\’t that giving in? DM. No, its taking responsibility for the way things are. You should say \’Well, thanks for reminding me but I already thought about that. I was thinking exactly the same thing. thanks for pointing it out though!\’ Take the control back, don\’t give it away. You created that prison officer. The only way to make your life work is to support what you have created. You will see that supporting people works better than making them wrong! I told you earlier that you have no control over what is going on outside. Worrying about something has never, EVER, changed the outcome. All it has done is made you more angry or stressed. You cannot change any of this in here. The reason you want to act in a particular way, or the reason you want to appear tough are irrelevant. REASONS ARE NOT REAL! YOU MAKE REASONS UP TO JUSTIFY WHAT YOU WANT TO DO.
(Later one of the inmates, who will be known as P-B, stood up)
P-B Some days I can do nothing but wish I was out. I cant do anything other than wish I was outside. DM. Wishing is like worrying. It won\’t change anything. Why wish you were out when you cannot be out? Just relax into your space (this was an exercise done earlier), breathe and take the day as it comes. Deal with what comes up. One day, being out will come up…deal with that when it comes up. The essence is taking responsibility for your behaviour. Break up the word responsibility. Response and ability. YOUR ABILITY TO RESPOND DETERMINES THE EXPERIENCE YOU GET FROM WHAT YOU ARE RESPONDING TO. You need to understand that taking responsibility may be the key to making places like this work. If you guys find out that you are OK with being here, they may have to close this place. (Applause and laughter and cheers from the inmates) If you can take responsibility in here, in this environment, and you can take the control of your responses to whatever is thrown at you imagine how much better your lives are going to be when you get out of here. If everyone here, YOU, finds out that you like being wherever you are then not only will you lead a more valuable life outside of here but these sort of places may end up obsolete. (A hand goes up, P-C, and DM points at him) P-C the only problem is outside I have always got caught up in crime. DM. In what way? P-C i cant tell you. DM. You can. What is it. P-C i don\’t know. DM I know you don\’t know. But, IF YOU DID KNOW, WHAT WOULD IT BE? P-C. Friends I mix with always get me involved. They put me down and I go along with shit and end up getting caught. DM OK P-C I was told I would never be anyone. DM You already are someone. P-C I was told I wouldn\’t amount to much. DM How much is an amount you want to add up to? P-C I get caught up in things. DM. You have a way of looking at the world. A position you view the world from. like a viewing platform. It\’s a kind of filter. You have taken the position of \’victim of others influence\’ right? (Prisoner nods) DM Some time in your life, something threatened you. And in THAT MOMENT OF BEING THREATENED, like someone slapping you in the face you are off balance and you lose awareness. You made a decision AT THAT MOMENT that you were inferior, a victim. I want you to know just what that decision was for… IT WAS USEFUL AT THAT MOMENT AS A WAY OF DEALING WITH THE THREAT…that\’s all. BUT, what YOU DID is you TOOK IT AND TURNED IT INTO AN \’IS\’! (DM points at P-C and speaks to the group) THIS IS HOW PEOPLE DESTROY THEIR LIVES – THEY TURN WORDS INTO THINGS!!
To be continued…