Chapelton Local Lock Up
Chapelton Local Lock Up
Written By: Tameka Hill- VP Drama Club
Visit a local lock up in your community and tell your experience and the improvements that can be made.
The Chapelton Lock up aka "the dungeon"
On entering the Chapelton Police Station, I was greeted by a hospitable figure – Corporal Wilkinson. On explaining my task, he asked, “Do you really want to go in that place?” I stared in his beady eyes and because I am an upper sixth student and I need to be no chicken I declared, “Yes Sir I do.” Though fear should have somewhat gotten the better part of me, my strength was far beyond my expectations and so with great pride and anxiety, I was accompanied by Corporal Wilkinson, Constable Lindsey and a few others. The building with a colour of cream and white with steel grill has four partitions and each partition accommodates five occupants, the most. The Corporal explained that the cell only takes prisoners (seems a very harsh word to call them) in odd numbers. This is put in place as a means of preventing homosexuality. Each section is roughly 8 x 10 and the furniture present for their “cozy little bed” happens to be made of ‘sweet’ concrete.
On opening the grill to the cell, cries of “ Oh a woman,” “Girl mi want you body,”
or “How you pretty so?” could be heard. On hearing such outburst I grabbed on to the constable’s hand who only gave a smile and assured me no harm would come. I was placed inside and accompanied by one of the police officers. On entrance into the cell, I was greeted with the strong scent of urine, my heart failed me for a while, as I looked in the cell and saw eyes staring at me, eyes which though guilty seemed so innocent. Men’s trousers and shirt could be seen hanging in the building, however not in any reach to the inmates. As I took a closer look in the second cell, I saw the wall covered with newspaper articles, another which an inmate told me was called ‘Death Rule’ had a dirty colour cream with people engraved. Words were also seen on the walls, however it seemed nothing important to the English language and the only word that could easily be recognized was “WHITE.”
On going over to the bathroom, which was outside of the cells but under the same building, the scent of urine stifled me. The bathroom is ‘inclusive’ of toilet, shower and a face basin made of concrete. A bit of human faeces could be seen on the toilet seat, which was quite disgusting and with this I made my way out.
A lock up is no place for anyone to be, it is not only a scary place, but a “dungeon.” It is not worth being imprisoned there, and the act of being imprisoned in such a place affects the psyche of the men who committed wrongs and deserve to go there. The most harrowing part of my experience was on seeing one of my classmate from primary school beckoning to me and yelling, “ Tameka mi woman!” I felt a streak of hurt yet disgust, disgusted at what I was being referred to; and hurt to see that someone my own age had found himself in such an awful place.
Corporal Wilkinson, educated me that these ‘guilty men’ are given three meals a day and the diet is a healthy one. They have breakfast at 8 am, lunch at 12 noon and dinner at 5 pm. And juice is provided each time with each meal. It is at meal time that they are allowed to used the bathroom facilities.
It is difficult to improve the conditions in the lock up, as improving it would be too costly and then it is often destroyed to have it repaired again. However, a few improvements that could be made are maintainance of the building, proper security and some activities could be put in place for the prisoners, whether allowing them to learn a skill or doing some valuable work in the society, that on release they do not go back to the society unemployed but will be able to seek some form of employment and thus the level of crime and violence will be alleviated.
Live good with the police today
by carrying the lights of rights
so that tomorrow we live a better and violence free way
by M. Pryce
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