40 Days in Mayfield Women’s Prison; Chapter 13 Prison Officer Diary: when the shit hits the van

Four on four off shifts were hard to get used to. I am into my third day of a 4-day 14-hour shift and it’s knackering. Even if there is 4 days to look forward to being in here for this number of hours in a short time frame is not good. Today we had to stay open for a late intake (demanded by those in government) so instead of leaving at 8.00pm we were taking our last van at 8.00pm. Now there’s a thing called “a dirty protest”, basically inmate shits pisses and does whatever else she can in a cell. We learnt about it in training. I wasn’t expecting it in real life nor was I expecting it in a van. But that’s what I got, so the reason for our late arrival was now clear. The rest of the prisoners could not wait to get off the van. It was rather a warm evening so the smell of shit, mixed with heat made for a very smelly journey for the rest. The one good thing about our “demonstrator” was she was in cell one adjacent to the exit door, so once the reception area was void of life except for the offices we began our extraction of Miss Stinky.

Dividing in 2 teams we had the extractors and the washers. Obviously, as a male officer, I couldn’t be part of the washing up team I so I got the lovely task of extractor. Dressed in full riot gear with the added bonus of hygiene suits and masks we lined up on the stairs of the bus, me getting the job of being on shield and so the first man into firing range. As the little window was covered in shit and she was also quiet except for the sometimes calls of defiance we were not sure what she was about to throw at us. I count 3, 2, 1 then open the door and I brace myself for the onslaught of shit or smashing against shield. There is nothing except for her looking at her feet repeating over and over “This is a peaceful protest, I won’t fight nor will I move”. That was just fucking great cause then we had to drag her out and get her downstairs without hurting her. We decided to pick her up like we were going to do bumps.

At this point I must tell you I puked a little at the start but we got her to the next stage, to the cleaners. This is where her peaceful protest ended. She screamed like they were showering her with molten lava instead of water. Me and the others stood out in the hallway and stripped the shit smothered health and safety gear off but stayed in our riot gear because we now had another job. So the second team cleaned her off and did strip and dress using control and restraint tactics. I was glad I didn’t have to do it as controlled dressing is a pain in the ass. Me and the other two went in, put her in a restraining hold and took her ass to seg. We knew she would only shit and piss herself etcetera but once left her in seg she was no longer my problem and it was known the guys in seg didn’t put up with that kind of shit (pun not intended) so she wouldn’t do it too many times.

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