Five Things Movies Get Wrong About Prison Wardens

Five Things Movies Get Wrong About Prison Wardens

Five Things Movies Get Wrong About Prison Wardens

You might not believe it, but movies actually get the role of prison warden wrong quite often. In virtually any prison movie you watch the warden will almost always be the bad guy. It’s the stigma of being at the top in a system that is designed for punishment. Someone always has to be the top bad guy in the place and with prison movies that usually has to be the guy that’s actually at the top. Instead of being an inspirational figure or at least someone that’s hard-nosed but fair, most prison wardens in movies are just the nastiest, most ruthless, evil men, or women, on the face of the earth. It’s a fine line that has be walked in order to run a prison but the trick of it is to be hard but not cruel, and as even-handed as possible without showing any favoritism. Wardens aren’t supposed to take sides, they’re simply suppose to oversee and run the prison.

It’s the guards that have the truly tough position since they’re with the prisoners on a daily basis.

5. Wardens don’t use convicts as personal accountants.

For one thing, there’s a reason why people go to prison and it’s not because they did something right. Having a convicted felon doing your taxes or IRA account or anything remotely legal is a big no-no. Not only is there a huge probability that they’re going to get those they claim to serve in trouble, but the legal ramifications of it could be huge.

4. Wardens don’t abuse the convicts.

You’ve probably never seen a warden in a movie actually take to abusing the convicts, but the abuse is still there since it happens on their watch and is in fact their responsibility. They might not be doing the physical act but they’re not stopping it either. This can look bad on a warden’s record and affect anyone that happens to be involved, so no matter what violence needs to be avoided when possible.

3. Wardens would never promote sports between guards and convicts.

There’s just too much of a liability involved when talking about anything that brings the guards and the convicts together in this manner. What needs to be remembered is that the feeling of violence is very real for a lot of the convicts. Some of them have nothing to lose since they’re serving life, and would no doubt love the chance to strike back at the guards.

2. Wardens don’t promote violence in the prison.

Wardens cannot turn a blind eye to violence in the prisons, even though it seems like some of them might. Allowing such a thing to happen however can be grounds for dismissal, not just of the guards, but also of the warden for letting it happen. They need to run a tight ship and be aware of what their people are doing at all times, as much as possible.

1. Wardens don’t get to single out any one prisoner for punishment. 

This would have too great a chance to fall under the term ‘cruel and unusual punishment’ it seems. Taking one’s frustrations out or simply targeting one individual would not only be wrong, it would indicate that the warden has an ax to grind. They’re supposed to be impartial. Punishing a person for breaking the rules is one thing, but the sentence has to be fair and unbiased.

Movie wardens are allowed to be bad, in real life this can cause a lot of trouble.

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