Wednesday, November 07, 2007


It is common practice for some prisoners to bang on their cell doors. It is unusual to spend any length of time in either a Police Station or Court cells and not to hear banging on the cell doors accompanied by some form of shouting.

About a week ago I went to a local Police Station and arrived about 4.00 pm. When I arrived there was a rather jolly chap who could be heard banging on his cell door with a certain rhythm. He would bang on the cell door twice and then shout, "Solicitor," then he would bang twice again and shout, "Cigarette," and he kept banging twice and shouting words such as, "Medication", "Food", "Inspector". It was quite clear from the tone of voice used by the detained person that he was not being aggressive but was eager to get some attention and have his various needs dealt with. I did enquire with the custody staff at the Police Station and they told me that the man had indeed had access to legal advice and that he simply would not accept the fact he had been refused bail and had to stay the night at the Police Station. I was at the Police Station for about 2 and a half hours and during this entire time the man in the cell continued with his banging. I left the Police Station and came back some three hours later and still the man was banging on the cell door in his rhythmic fashion.

Today I went to the cells of my local Court and it was rather busy. All of the cells were occupied and before I got in to the cells I could hear that someone was banging loudly on their cell door and shouting aggressively. When I got in to the cells I realised that it was three men who had all been sentenced to prison terms that day, and they were banging together to vent their frustration at being in custody. The difference between the man at the Police Station and the three men at Court was the man at the Police Station was pleasant with his banging whereas the three men were just objectionable - their style of banging and shouting simply annoyed those who could hear it.

I have never understood why people bang on their cell doors as it usually means that whoever is looking after that person, whether it be Police, or Court staff, immediately turn against the person and decide that if they are banging then they will be the last person to get any form of service. I have yet to see a person bang on his cell door and get what he wants.

If you do decide to bang on your cell door adopt the style of banging that the man at the Police Station did - it is far easier on the ear and is rather amusing, even when it is performed for several hours.

1 comment:

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