Interview with Tom Wicker
QUESTION 3
INTERVIEWER:

What was your sense of the inmates? That the inmates in terms of the general body and the in leaders themselves. Like Herb Blyden.

TOM WICKER:

Yes, well, of course our group dealt a good deal more with the leaders than with the general body of the inmates. And particularly on that first venture into the yard, it was at night so we couldn't see too much of the group out there. I found the, the inmate leaders to be, at that point, to be rather impressive. They were obviously quite, quite strongly in control of the crowd. That was the first thing that impressed me. Secondly they were wonderful orators. I mean they really could turn on the, the oratory and fire up that crowd there. And in some ways it made a lot of sense. Other ways, otherwise it was passion you know. And then when we got down to really talking about the instant issues. The problems that the inmates wanted dealt with and how they felt about their life in the prison. And so they were quite business like too. It was always true that of course that they wanted more than they were ever likely to get. We understood that. And the main thing, the main issue, the issue that hung us up from beginning to end and never was resolved was that they wanted amnesty. And I'm not at this late stage of the game even yet prepared to pass judgement on whether that was a fair request or not, but what was clear to me from the start was that they weren't going to get it. And so what seemed to me to be necessary was, in my typical moderate intermediary position, what seemed to me to be necessary was that we should work something out that the inmates could accept as amnesty that the state didn't have to say was amnesty. And of course that, that proved to be a futile effort.

INTERVIEWER:

Can we stop a second.