The Making Of An Anarchist in Portlaoise Prison (9)

In the ninth of a multi part series Joe C narrates his experience of arrest and time served in Portlaoise Prison where he evolved into an anarchist.

Summer in jail

Summer is a particular boring season in jail. I found it very boring mainly because the school was closed for the summer. Instead of going to classes most people would sit outside in the sun, or lie on yoga mats in the yard taking in the sun. This time of year the yard is in use all day by most of the prisoners.

Depending on what time it was the sun would be shining in one yard but blocked out in the other. During the morning the sun would be in the big yard east of the block. Then in the afternoon it would be in the small yard west of the block.

The different landings would also play different sports games together in the yard. The game mainly played was volleyball, the odd time soccer would be played. The volleyball games in the yard were comical. While walking or sitting in the yard as a game was going on, all of a sudden you could hear bursts of laughter and slaggings, usually if a teammate missed a shot or hit the ball too hard out of the box giving the other team an extra point as a result. One or two people took these games very seriously and would lose the plot the odd time, giving out to people. When someone lost the plot sometimes what would happen is everyone playing laughs and taunts the person. But it was all always in good humour.

In the summer, inside the block would be roasting. People would wear shorts going around. In the evening when we got locked in for the night the cells would be roasting. I can remember one particularly hot summer I had removed glass from the window in my cell and I also had an electric fan. Both made no difference to my comfort. No wind came in the window. The fan just blew hot air around.

Another bad thing in the summer is early in the morning you could be woken by birds chirping and singing. On the outside wall of every cell there is an air vent just above the windows. They are tiny air vents and on some of them the covers are missing. When this is the case birds tend to go into them and make nests. This can be particularly annoying, being woken up by birds every morning.

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