By Per Bilde
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Extra info for Flavius Josephus, Between Jerusalem and Rome: His Life, His Works, and Their Importance (Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha)
Before he could give further and better particulars of the misunderstanding that ended in a 15year jail sentence, an officer came into the cage and announced that Induction would now begin. Induction is a word that survives in only two British institutions: the Church of England, which inducts new vicars into churches, and Her Majesty's Prison Service which inducts new convicts into jails. Their rituals are rather different, as I was about to discover. 'Aitken - property,' shouted an officer, gesturing me towards a room to the left of the cage.
Feeling horribly conspicuous in my suit and tie, I tried to melt away into one corner of the cage, keeping myself to myself. But one inmate came up to me and shook my hand. 'Sorry to see you in here,' he said. 'You once did a good turn to me brother when he was living in Ramsgate. ' 'Oh well. ' 'Not really. ' 'There's not many who come in here saying that,' said my companion, astonished. ' 'I got a four. Easy gravy. ' I asked, immediately biting my lip for I had been warned that it was out of order to ask a fellow prisoner what his crime had been.
This was partly because of the rituals of Induction - a word which came to mean a lot of queuing for very little purpose. We new arrivals were interminably briefed, often with videos, on such matters as the Health and Safety at Work Act, the procedures to be followed if the fire alarms rang, the precautions to be taken if we were infected with HIV/Aids, where to find a Listener if we felt suicidal, how to plan our sentences with the Probation department and how to raise a grievance with the Board of Visitors.