Character: Henry Pope (Gen)
Summary: (Season One) Lots of theories have exceptions. Henry just didn't expect this to be one of them.
Author's Notes: Written during a 60_minutes_fic session on "Castles In The Sky." Also for my philosophy_20 challenge, this is "Theory."
Teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime.
Henry Pope was raised on ideals that spoke of hard work and the value of looking beyond easy answers. The larger purpose was always at stake.
He heard his own message in those lessons: never dismiss anything out of hand, look deeper to find what's important and lasting and true. That method set him apart, whether it was the study of criminology (motives were the key, where even the lack of reasonable motive might show a pattern) to his years as a police commissioner and finally as warden of Fox River Prison.
Henry had always been different.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
That was the guiding principle right there, compassion and respect. Henry hadn't always succeeded at living it to the fullest (poor Judith, how he regretted wounding her with that extramarital affair), but he believed it to be true. He believed in applying it to his life and to his work.
Henry harbored no thoughts that the criminals who came to Fox River were innocent. He was idealistic but not a fool. These men might be among the worst to have walked this earth, or they might be folks with bad backgrounds who'd never learned a better way—they could even fall anywhere in between.
The point was this: a dog kept on a chain could never be anything else. The longer you kept it there, the angrier and more violent it became.
Fox River was full of men who'd been kept on chains, who kept coming back to the prison system that was the only thing they understood. Henry believed there was a better way, that teaching the men to become more civilized improved their chances of getting along on their own in the real world. He'd based his whole style on that method for over twenty years.
Spare the rod and spoil the child.
Now it wasn't permissiveness, far from it. Henry believed in firmness and boundaries, and in consequences for men who got out of hand. They were necessary to keep order, for everyone's sake, but moreover they provided the structure that men like that needed.
Again, it was about respect. It meant treating the prisoners like reasoning men instead of animals, it meant mixing kindness with the authority he wielded.
None would be the worse for it, and some would surprise you by rising closer to the higher expectations you had of them. Those men were cause for hope.
A leopard can't change its spots.
Henry had seen many of the same faces cycle through prison repeatedly, and he knew most people believed it was hopeless to expect otherwise.
Sometimes you could change things—it was as simple as that. Not always, not even often, but the few times you did succeed mattered a great deal.
You had to help people become more than the sum of their circumstances or pasts. If you managed to do that for even just a few, it was really worth something. You'd changed a little piece of the world and made it better.
It was with this theory that Henry Pope had run Fox River for years.
He had letters that meant the world to him saved in a folder in his desk. These were written by men who'd made it after leaving his prison, many of them with families whose pictures they'd sent along. Henry had saved every single one of those letters.
He still believed in that theory, despite those times when it failed—sometimes drastically—for a particular individual.
Michael Scofield was one of those failures, an example of trust and kindness utterly betrayed. Henry had never seen the slightest possibility of that impending treachery, would never have suspected it even if he'd been warned .
But he could worry about that another time, well on into his retirement years if necessary. Scofield had escaped with a group of other dangerous men, and the window to recapture them was growing smaller. All of Henry Pope's theories were locked away for now.
He had a manhunt to run.
-------- fin --------