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The Screw

Necessity and responsibilities drove me to being a screw,
other jobs were rare and unpredictable, I had to try something new.
I was reluctant at first, I thought you had to be tough,
but it was the late 80's, I couldn't find work and had just had enough.
So there I was, 1987, a Prison Officer all shiny and new just out of the box,
I went to training college to learn new skills about people, keys and locks.
So began my life as a screw, I made some mistakes and got some things wrong,
but that's how you learn, just put it right for the journey is long.
It was a job less ordinary and that's what I wanted, no boredom here,
I experienced everything, adrenaline rush, sadness and fear.
A prison is a strange place, it's a self sufficient community,
with gardens, healthcare, a shop, workplaces and security.
As my service increased it all became political,
invisible suits trying to climb the ladder and trying to be radical.
I'm not against change, I would change everything, probably for different reasons to you,
prison should be used to protect the public from the most dangerous and rehabilitate too.
Instead they are dumping grounds for a failed society that has lost it's way,
then I was a burden, my pension too big and they questioned my pay.
Prisoners can be hard work but they do what is says on the tin,
but shapeshifting politicians, incompetent managers and lazy staff that's a whole other thing!
In a world where our lives are defined by cost,
standards and professionalism are amongst the things that we've lost.
I feel for new screws with their hearts full of hope,
they face danger every day but politicians think it's a joke.
At the end of my service I looked back to reflect,
over 30yrs service I did my best but felt like a reject.
Yes, a thousand memories are mine for all time,
even though politicians tried to remove the shine.
And you know what, I thought I'd shed a tear,
for the job was my life for many a year,
but I'm glad to be out and moving on,
I did my bit, that's it, job done!

Copyright © Tony Staples | Year Posted 2022


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Date: 1/7/2022 11:03:00 PM

Wow Tony a prison guard for thirty years….I take my hat off to you! Like you said You have all those thousand memories which I’m sure are extremely interesting….just like your poem! A well written poem\story which I didn’t want to end! So good. Debx