“Smile and others will smile back. Smile to show how transparent, how candid you are. Smile if you have nothing to say. Most of all, do not hide the fact you have nothing to say nor your total indifference to others. Let this emptiness, this profound indifference shine out spontaneously in your smile.”
― Jean Baudrillard
Lo and behold, Kissie Goodwin, senior officer at HMP Isis, has “won a Prison Officer of the Year award for her efforts in rehabilitating prisoners.” I’ve written about Goodwin here, where I called her a little Eichmann. This “award” (or “ward”) is a direct public relations response to my analysis of Goodwin (an article that received thousands of views).
Whilst I was at HMP ISIS, a London prison, I encountered a particularly ‘cheerful’ senior officer, Kissie Goodwin. Exemplifying Eichmann’s ‘I have never been discourteous to a Jew,’ Goodwin epitomizes contemporary formulations of Eichmann Syndrome. Eichmann Syndrome is, among its other features, first and foremost the inability to think beyond limited operations assigned; it is, in essence, more than ‘I was just following orders;’ rather it encompasses an unthinking enthusiasm for administrative terror, whilst (unconsciously) hiding the role it plays in causing terror, anguish and subjugation. Goodwin’s excessively positive attitude, an already troubling sign considering her job, involved giving regular prison tours to magistrates whereby ‘ideal’ prisoners were ‘displayed.’ Relishing her role as punishing-savior, reforming-through-care these poor souls, bending up naughty offenders (‘boys’), rewarding the successfully reformed (‘ready for open conditions’ as she’d note), wearing Christmas sweaters during the holiday period, attempts to creepily normalize/naturalize and Disney/Deify her role in caging people provides an excellent individual case study in Eichmann Syndrome as it operates now … Goodwin’s personality defects aside, her three-stripes (Commanding Officer), her ironically hipster glasses (fashionable oppression), her attempts at Mickey Mouse incarceration, her duplicity comes nowhere near to that of her superior, Emily Thomas, Governing Governor.”
Yes, Emily Thomas nominated Goodwin for the award, stating “Kissie has illustrated an innovative and creative nature with many great ideas but also the ability to deliver on them.” Quite right, innovative and creative ways of torturing the poor souls she has no problem locking up everyday, as a part of her ability to “genuinely embody a rehabilitative culture … with the power [and] enthusiasm [to] bring it to life in a prison.”
I recall when I collapsed in the library, another attempt to secure some type of medical attention, Goodwin arrived (her office is near the library). For a half an hour, while we waited for the paramedics to arrive, she made snarky comments about how I looked like a conceptual art exhibition, laying there on the floor, and how she had so much work to do. Why did you have to collapse today. Laugh, laugh, laugh again. Repeat. Smile. Laugh. Afterwards, every time she brought a load of magistrates and visitors to the library she’d mock the day I collapsed. She’d reveal personal medical history in front of these visitors, who looked on nervously. Smile. Laugh. Smile. I have seen her launch at a prisoner trying to get a mobile phone during a visit, jump on top of him and wrench his arms back while other guards held him still. Nothing is more terrifying than a smiling sadist, who consciously believes they are helping you, yet the modern ‘reformed’ prison service in England and Wales (among other Western nations) encourages such ‘progressive’ and ‘forward-thinking’ enlightened torture. Let us be clear, caging people en masse is personal, familial and social torture.
Why not call HMP Isis and let them know Kissie Goodwin has been nominated for the Smiling Sadist Award of the Year by Tony Cochran? I am ready to send her Discipline and Punish by Michel Foucault as the award; the only question remains: would she understand it? Smile.