I had a very good visitor at Carcasonne, she used to visit me once a week, she always brought me German newspapers and she also had contacts with my family. She also had contacts with my daughter. She was a very nice woman. She came to see me every week.
Exploring the Interior
He or she can more easily make contact, explain the situation in prison and sometimes even provide it with accomodation during a family visit to the prison. I have it contact thanks to Madame S. She has come to visit me once a week, she has phoned my wife. Madame S.
The visit allows him to take some distance from the incarceration and to have a positive human experience, one which includes French people and culture. Because I knew nothing neither about the culture or stuff like that. And I had to get myself used to it…and that was still difficult M. These people assist in the organization of everyday life and in contacts with the administration. It is they who inform the new arrivals about the rules and conditions of the prison.
They allow them, then, to acquire another part of the stock of knowledge. For sure.
Aha, everything is clear, parole, ok. It comes with time. Things like that happen in prison…how, how things work at the tribunal, that we learn very quickly. Often having had negative experiences with letters written to the judicial authorities in German or English, the German prisoners are therefore aware of the importance of complying with French judicial language. So, they ask their French fellow prisoners to write or translate letters addressed to the CIP, the court or to the customs service.
He understood a bit and he then wrote it all in French M. Or if I want something from a guard, I get someone who speaks French better, I explain the thing to him with my very limited French and then he explains it after. For that reason, some people interviewed refuse the mutual assistance and continue to suffer the deficiencies of institutional care.
Wanting to a certain extent to free themselves from the status of foreigner, they respect a code that obliges the prisoners to be loyal to other prisoners, to keep his cool, not to exploit prisoners, to show courage and never weaken in adversity and to not associate with the enemy, in this case-the guards and management Lemire, , Some of these values are far from social norms on the outside. No one allows himself to be oppressed by anyone. And after that, it works. A sign of this integration is the common language and the utilization, even while they are speaking German, of French terms whose meanings are connected to the carceral universe.
By using a certain argot Graven, , they openly advertise that they are, unlike the investigator, part of the prisoner group. When the prisoners use these words, they do so to precisely evoke the concept that they embody. This summarizes all the stock of knowledge they currently have as much as an internal member had a failure of a perspective for reintegration on the outside. This union is all the more effective in that it was created in opposition to the category of prisoners of Arab-Muslim origin.
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It is they who are then designated as foreigners and constitute the adversary who creates unity, according to Simmel The Germans no longer consider themselves as foreigners. Here you meet people from all over. Each one has this stamp of criminal, each one carries a label on his back. With this certainty, we converse with people. Each one has his thing, one does hold-ups, the other is a …, rapist…maybe not, another works with drugs, another steals.
So, each one has his load. Each one tells his stories. The German prisoners, often incarcerated for breaches of the drug laws, are integrated in the group of people sentenced for the same reason. Often, we have different kinds, one is in this branch, another in that branch, people who are doing the same thing, in quotation marks, they are often together.
They almost always talk about business. When someone was a businessman, who trafficked in cocaine or hashish or heroine, he gets out and keeps trafficking.
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In prison, he learns still more in order to be more clever M. It is therefore important to bring the analysis back to their status of foreigner. The desire to participate can only be fulfilled with difficulty because the foreign prisoner has become part of this new society involuntarily.
But if he wants to leave as quickly as possible, he will have to integrate there, to adopt the rules of behavior and communication.
German Images of the Self and the Other
But the institutional codes and understandings thus acquired do nothing to help them when they are released-since they are prevented from sojourning in French territory, they must return to their country of origin. They cannot hope to remake their lives there. Whatever I can say in French is enough for me.
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I mean, I work every day. What for? I will be banned from the territory for the rest of my life. Thus, in certain cases, the inability to integrate is a conscious act that is expressed by the hatred for the language and culture of France. I prefer to deviate from it. It is experienced in a very positive manner by the prisoners, like the solution to all their problems. The people…are nicer here. Yes, I have no problems here.
So, here I have no problems, here almost everyone speaks German. Indeed, the proximity to Germany allows the prison administration to offer German televison and newspapers. With the following quote, we can measure the importance given to this change, often experienced as a step on the way to freedom. I feel in some ways more free. Once they have arrived in this region, the Germans isolate themselves. In this social circle, they can once again communicate without an intermediary and without effort.
However, this blossoming into German sometimes goes so far that the prisoners behave as though they are already in Germany. Here we only speak German he laughs. The warden speaks German well enough…they all speak German well enough. So then, we witness the unintentional consequences of the measure undertaken by the prison administration in order to facilitate the reintegration of German prisoners.
They had been transferred to make their supervision more effective. But they withdraw completely into their German-speaking world and often refuse to work with their CIP which is, according to them, too focussed upon the French issue. Also, the activities aimed at their reintegration become less interesting because from that point on, they keep busy by chatting and watching TV. They begin in complete isolation and end with a partial integration in prison society. But this integration remains very limited and does not relate to French culture or society.
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