Drawing by the author from PRIEEESON ( All rights reserved. Copyrighted 2020)

 

It was a dark, stormy night as I tried to get some sleep on my moth-eaten bed. The wind was howling  outside while the waves slammed against the rocks of the decrepit lighthouse I was staying in. It was an isolated residence, not the slightest sight of land in all directions for miles surrounded by nothing but the blue waters of the West Philippine Sea. In spite of the unease and discomfort, I had some piece of mind that the police would not catch me. My mind started to drift back to the times when I was still a useful functioning member of society. Sweet memories of hosting lectures and seminars, organizing field events, and conversing with brilliant minds on the direction of future technologies - placed an evanescent smile on my face. Such peace was short-lived though for - alas - there was a loud banging on the door - BAM! BAM! BAM! I shot out of bed and stormed to the source of the cacophonic noise. The door of the lighthouse boomed again three (3) times - BAM! BAM! BAM! Finally, perhaps due to the dilapidated state it was in, the door gave way and landed on the stony floor with a thud - deafened by the raging weather outside. 

In came a huge man with a piece of paper in his hands. "Sir, you are under arrest for attending the annual 'Kapihan' of the IEEE Philippines section this 2020 - despite your excommunication status. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do can and will be held against you in court."

And so I was taken under custody to await trial. The prison cell they put me in did not differ much from the old lighthouse, with the exception of a dozen half-naked men giving me scathing and menacing looks. I didn't know what was worse at this point, the fact that I won't be productive for the next couple of days or weeks, or that I would <bleeped out content>

Anyway, days passed and me and my chums started to get bored. There was literally nothing left we could do in the prison cell except <bleeped out content>. Then, an idea struck me out of nowhere (no not like the way I was struck by an assortment of <bleeped out content> by my dear companions). 

My mental gears whirred to life - what if I can telework from prison?

After all, the pandemic has proven professionals can effectively perform their job description from a remote closed environment - are the four enclosures of a jail any different?

This suggestion is not far-fetched from the already established Work-Release Programs of most correctional institutions (more info here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Work_release). If inmates are allowed to work, can't they telework too?

Teleworking inmates come with a plethora of benefits and opportunities. Due to time constraints, I cannot go over them in detail and weave an exhilarating story behind each, but I list some that immediately come to mind below:

a.) Inmates gain access to regular financial remuneration which can support their needs while serving their sentence (significantly slashing operational costs)

b.) Job opportunities after jail life aren't that bleak for inmates

c.) Self-worth of inmates increase providing a pedestal for cathartic change towards a better life

(sure, some prisoners can be complete degenerates who <bleeped out content> and are tethered to a cell because of the dangers they impose on others, but that does not make rehabilitation and a shot at a more fruitful meaningful existence out of the question - especially when we consider the possibility of some  serving time for crimes they didn't actually commit due to imperfections in the judicial system)


And so, I sent my plea to the warden and they tossed me a secondhand desktop PC. They also shared their Wi-Fi password and voila! - I'm now teleworking with my comrades in jail. Now there is something that keeps all of us preoccupied, certainly more worthwhile than <bleeped out content>.