chapter  4
35 Pages

The changes observed in Bristol Prison

Defining the Transition Periods There was, naturally enough, a period after introduction of the changes during which conflict between staff and inmates ran at a high level. Neither staff nor inmates had been prepared for the new realities and they had to seek a new level of accommodation to each other. Among the inmates, there was a widespread feeling that everything would now be easier ; long-standing grievances would be met; the staff was under orders to mother them. At the same time, many inmates felt that their extra hours of work were an unjust imposition and that the staff would rob them of the new liberties by declaring the scheme unworkable. The staff shared common feelings about the apparent disorderliness of the scheme, the tightness of the early time schedule, and the fact that for them the most marked of the early effects of the scheme was an increased load of evening duties that had to be 'paid-off-in-time' during the middle of the following day. (On my calculation, the evening duties rose from approximately 0·75 hours to 2·25 per week and to 2·8 per week during the summer, owing to officerstaking leave.) Staff-inmate relations appeared to have reached a new level of stability within eight weeks.