Today’s Behind Bars themed blog for the A-Z Blog Challenge is the letter “L” and the word is “Lay-In”. This is probably a hyphenated word made of the two words “lay” and “in” and could be considered the opposite of the word “Lay-Out” frequently used in the so-called Free World (outside the prison setting.) However, this is not the case. In fact, the two terms means the exact same thing. If you are involved in something, work, athletics, whatever and you are ill or have other problems, you might want to “lay-out” of the activities for awhile in order to recouperate. “Lay-In” as used behind bars, oftentimes, means the exact same thing if the “lay-in” is for medical purposes, i.e. doctor’s appointment, recovery, illnesses, therapy, etc. But that is where the similarity ends betwixt “lay-in” and “lay-out” ends.
Behind Bars, a “lay-in” is an extremely useful tool. And the uses are practically unlimited since the incarcerated mind is unfettered in its ability to soar into the highest altitudes of creative thinking possible for the human mind. If offenders put as much effort into their creative use of the “lay-in” into other, more lucrative, more productive subjects, most of them would be very, very wealthy individuals and would probably never have been incarcerated in the first place, or at least, they may have gotten away with the crimes of which they were convicted.
For example, let’s assume that a certain individual does not want to participate in the work program. In the prison setting in which I worked, offenders were required to work in order to be eligible for many of the programs established for their so-called rehabilitation and/or reintegration into society. And let’s say that this individual has no major medical problems or other conditions preventing him/her from working in the laundry folding clothes, or in the yard picking up trash, or in the kitchen running a dishwasher. This individual has a problem: He/she is healthy and… Behind Bars. Now this is not a good thing because he/she will be expected to not only work, but will also have to participate in educational programs and other programs as well, such as Alcoholic’s Anonymous or Drug Rehab classes or, even expected to take classes to learn English, if they cannot speak or understand English well enough to get along.
It becomes a driving force in the offender’s life to find new and creative ways to have themselve “laid-in” whenever worktime, schooltime or program time rolls around. In order to cut this short, I will simply list a number of excuses offenders have used to procure “lay-ins”:
Back Injury, Dizziness, Chest Pains, Eye Strain, Allergies, Stress, Paranoia, Hearing Voices, Aversion to Smells, Fear of heights, Death in the Family, Breaking up with girlfriend, wife, baby-mama, Depression, Psychosis, Toothache, Headache, Insomnia, Hemorrhoids, Ingrown Toenails, Hangnails, Nausea, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Sleepiness, Fear of Staff, Fear of Retaliation, Fear of this, Fear of that, etc, etc.
Now I will attempt to list from memory of some of the restrictions obtained from various authorities within the prison system.
Pro-longed walking, Pro-longed sitting, Pro-longed standing, No lifting over ?? pounds, No pushing, No pulling, No reaching, No bending, No squatting, No walk on wet/uneven surfaces, No excessive heat, No excessive cold, No fumes/strong smells, No loud noises, No complicated instructions, No exposure to sunlight (reserved for vampires), No repetitive use of hands, No working around machines with moving parts.
The more restrictions you can get placed on your record, the less likely it is that a job or program will be found for which you are suited. I was sometimes amazed at the number of restrictions placed on certain offenders and wondered how they managed to get through the day… hmmm.