Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Very Worst

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  • 3410,

    What's the diff?

    We don't send people to prison so that they can be punished there. The denial of liberty *is* the punishment.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to JacksonP,

    it's a pretty substantial barrier - and at least until recently it used to apply less in other areas of health. There may have been rationing but at least an equivalent service was provided by the state. Dentistry, only for children. Inconsistency unexplained given the very real health impacts.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15711 posts Report Reply

  • Scott Chris, in reply to 3410,

    We don't send people to prison so that they can be punished there. The denial of liberty *is* the punishment.

    So what's the diff?

    Edit: I guess I'm being a little obtuse, but I'm not sure the point Robertson was making was clearly shown in what he was quoted as saying. And how far does your right to liberty extend? (ie is freedom to live life comfortably also a right you should lose when sent to prison?)

    Auckland • Since Feb 2012 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Scott Chris,

    The cold hard truth is that for many New Zealanders they believe that people are sent to prison for punishment rather than as a punishment.

    I must be thick. What’s the diff?

    If you go to prison for punishment, it means that the system abuses you beyond the fact that you're confined and don't control your daily life. Sanctioned beatings, hard labour, miserable living conditions, shit food (though what I've read about current dietary offerings in prison doesn't lead me to believe that food in prison is even adequate now. Carb-heavy, and very light on the fresh fruit and vegetables), solitary confinement.

    If you go to prison as punishment, it means that being subjected to someone else's timetable and not having your liberty is the punishment. You don't run your life, someone else does. The guards aren't allowed to beat you, solitary confinement is for exceptional misbehaviour on your part and cannot be a long-term situation, no hard labour...

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3731 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    If you go to prison as punishment, it means that being subjected to someone else’s timetable and not having your liberty is the punishment. You don’t run your life, someone else does. The guards aren’t allowed to beat you, solitary confinement is for exceptional misbehaviour on your part and cannot be a long-term situation, no hard labour…

    Which is the concept behind the modern prison system, or is supposed to be. We had a thread here two or three years back where a few people demonstrated a really astonishing inability to comprehend that loss of freedom was a punishment at all, rather than a sort of holiday.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2087 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Scott Chris,

    So what's the diff?

    What Matthew said. If you consider that denial of liberty for years on end is the punishment then there's no further need for the basic denial of a lot of human comforts that could make a difference to the ability of prisoners to rehabilitate. Being denied access to a whole lot of things that we ordinarily do, like conversation with people, consumption of news and entertainments, and self-education, will make people start going really strange. It's possible to lose altogether the ability to understand society when one is placed in some hellhole, indeed to start seeing society entirely in those terms. So if beatings are part of life in prison, and one's personal safety comes to depend upon the extent to which one appears dangerous and lacking in empathy, to scare off the bullies, then this behavior is very likely to perpetuate upon release. A similar thing is a big problem for returned servicemen who have done tours of duty in hellish war zones too, and a good argument for very frequent vacations and short shifts for soldiers so that paranoia and violence don't become their permanent mindset.

    It's bad enough that the people that prisoners spend the most time with are other prisoners, and typically for similar (and often considerably worse) crimes, in terms of rehabilitation. We become like the people we spend the most time with, that is just a normal human response to the world. If rehabilitation really was a high priority, prisons would mostly be populated by people helping to give prisoners life skills for their reintegration, teachers, mentors, etc.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8015 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    Given that this seems to be the Laura Norder thread, I'll just mention that Zimmerman is being charged with 2nd degree murder of Trayvon Martin

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 1701 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Scott Chris,

    (ie is freedom to live life comfortably also a right you should lose when sent to prison?)

    Quite, Scott - but isn't it funny how the strident "let 'em stew in their own shit" brigade aren't quite so militant when white, middle-class Anzacs find themselves on the receiving end of that kind of penology in places like Bangkwang Central Prison (a.k.a. The Bangkok Hilton). Funny how it's not so attractive to certain people when foreign governments don't consider decent food, hygiene and basic health care a high priority for foreigners who break their laws.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11614 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Funny how it’s not so attractive to certain people when foreign governments don’t consider decent food, hygiene and basic health care a high priority for foreigners who break their laws.

    Which ties in to the macro-nationalist No True Scotsman-ism of the usual suspects when it’s one of their own who’s in the wrong. To name just a few, Bruce Emery was described by them as “a different kind of offender” who should have been acquitted, and they looked the other way when David Garrett’s passport fraud and non-declaration of past convictions was exposed.

    If they genuinely salute Mussolini or David Duke, I’d like for them to be a lot more honest about it, instead of dressing it up in Rovian ‘concerned citizen’ astroturfing.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 3896 posts Report Reply

  • Scott Chris, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    funny how the strident "let 'em stew in their own shit" brigade aren't quite so militant when white, middle-class Anzacs find themselves on the receiving end of that kind of penology in places like Bangkwang Central Prison

    Notwithstanding the emotion driven rationale of the intolerants, if behavioural reconditioning is still seen as a viable outcome of corrective incarceration then I'm not sure inmates living conditions shouldn't be used as both carrot and stick.

    Whatever works best given our limited resources and the limited effectiveness of rehabilitation programs. (aside from early and arguably invasive intervention which makes the most sense to me within the context of society as it stands)

    Auckland • Since Feb 2012 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston,

    Benn makes an important point re who you are in prison with. We can talk about rehab etc but if you are locked up for years with harder crims bordering on psychopathic you risk ,as Benn said becoming like the people we spend the most time with. I have heard of this happening often.
    Mental hospitals ( in the past ) had the same problem - sane but troubled people went in - after a few years locked up with the loonies they came out insane .
    How do we "punish" people via loss of liberty and attempt to rehabilitate them without throwing them all in a bin together?

    I think the old Roper report ( can't find a link) attempted to answer this .

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 421 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Richard Aston,

    How do we "punish" people via loss of liberty and attempt to rehabilitate them without throwing them all in a bin together?

    home detention?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15711 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Sacha,

    How do we “punish” people via loss of liberty and attempt to rehabilitate them without throwing them all in a bin together?

    home detention?

    Or similar, yes. Use full-on custodial sentences for people who represent a clear threat to society or whose crimes represent such an attack on the well-being of a large number of people that a deterrent message must be sent [ETA: Because white-collar criminals actually do have the opportunity to consider the magnitude of their actions before following through, unlike most other criminals].

    Labour’s talk of abolishing prison sentences shorter than six months is positive provided that it doesn’t lead to judges just imposing longer custodial sentences instead of following the spirit of such a change and, rather, imposing non-custodial sentences. I have sufficient faith in the quality of our judiciary that I don’t consider that to be a likely outcome from must jurists, but it’s always a risk if appropriate safeguards aren’t established.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3731 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    How do we “punish” people via loss of liberty and attempt to rehabilitate them without throwing them all in a bin together?
    home detention?

    We do all that now. We also attempt to throw people together according to crime. Minimal offence will get one into minimum security prisons such as Rangipo Minimum and move on up to medium security at Rangipo for a larger offence. Here is a list to get an idea of just how many we have, ( for now).

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5690 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    I am not convinced that separating minimum,medium and maximum prisoners makes much difference and what about remand , not sure remand prisoners are separated.
    Separation by age is as important - Ngawha for example does not have a youth unit as such but they say they keep prisoners aged between 18 and 20 in a separate space.
    I have been there (as a visitor) and noticed the young guys in constant yelling conversation with the old guys with plenty of other chances of getting together.

    Prison is still a process of institutionalizing people - we learned some hard lessons with this in mental health and got rid of the loony bins ages ago.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 421 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Richard Aston,

    I am not convinced that separating minimum,medium and maximum prisoners makes much difference and what about remand ,

    I am not convinced either. I merely pointed out , it is already done. It is not perfect. Suggestions for alternatives, weee! Just not, what already fails.
    But, I do think categorizing detained does psychologically help to keep peer pressure at bay.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5690 posts Report Reply

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