Been a long time since I've heard that one.
As I said earlier, pretentious prolier-than-thou contest. And you're still at it. So long as sweeping generalisations are all the go, I'll take the opportunity to note that the world's a far more complex and diverse place than the average grandstanding lawyer could ever begin to guess.
. . . if Graeme Burton is stabbing people in prison, then we're failing to protect society from him, because prisoners are also part of society. If we say they aren't, if we exclude them to that level, then no wonder they don't see any value in playing by society's rules.
There was a drink-driving TV ad a while back in South Australia that showed a guy arriving in jail and being eyed up by the inmates, with the blatant suggestion that he was about to receive some unwelcome sexual attention. As the state had recently increased penalties for such offences, drink-driving was presented as something that could land you, the complacent middle-class viewer, in jail. And it's a received wisdom that such things happen in jail, isn't it? After all, no-one likes to be taken by surprise by life's nastier aspects. Fortunately it was pulled after protests, as it crossed the line into a particularly barbaric area that suggested that being raped in jail was part of state-sanctioned punishment.
I really doubt that Sensible Sentencing et al would have had a problem with such an approach. Hinting at an intimate knowledge of what goes on in the prison system in order to intimidate 'middle-class' critics betrays an attitude that endorses the fostering of monsters such as Graeme Burton within the system because of their imagined punitive value.
There's plenty of anecdotal evidence, going back many years, of prisoners being exposed to dangerous inmates as a form of coercion, with those unpleasant characters enjoying rewards and privileges in return for playing their part. These are practices that desperately need to be reformed and eliminated, rather than cynically encouraged.
Because of where I happen to live, I've been 'blest' in the last few months with three ex-jailbird neighbours who've been released into the 'community'. One's a decent guy, really trying to make it, the other two live from one drink to the next. All swear they'll never wind up inside again, and all require assistance with such basic literacy issues as deciphering power bills. None, as far as I'm aware, have dependent children, or regular assistance from social workers. Although they're middle-aged, in some ways they seem barely more than children themselves. They're nothing remotely like the stereotype of Garrett's fantasies.
BTW great post Lucy - impressed that you don't buy into Garrett's pretentious prolier-than-thou contest.
Thanks Steven - forgive me if this has already been posted, but in a somewhat similar vein, Hoogerbrugge. Nails is a real personal fave of mine.
I don't know about Julian Clary being gay but I do know he is a New Statesman columnist.
That's nice. The last I'd noticed he was trying to be Kenneth Williams, but only appeared to be succeeding in blurring the distinction between Carry On and carrion.
First, take away the intellectual impairment aspect, and how would you prevent this happening to any vulnerable person?
Not sure what you mean by 'any vulnerable person'. Perhaps anyone who's taken advantage of in daily life could be seen as intellectually impaired?
As it happened, the young person I've given as an example did attend a one-week course which involved such skills as deciphering supermarket ads. And they bought a sweatshirt especially for the occasion, with their own money, with 'University of Paris, Sorbonne' proudly emblazoned across the front. I'm sure the course helped.
As a way of addressing the vulnerability of people with particular needs without violating or curtailing their rights , the Circle of Support concept sounds great. I only wish that such things had been more developed back in the day.
Regarding the division between 'society' and the disabled, there are times when being a caregiver for a dependent person with a disability can seem like a disability in itself.
People have a variety of impairments - intellectual, sensory, mental health, ASD, physical - but it is society (attitudes, structures, laws, even pay rates etc) that disables.
A practical case: a young person leaves school and starts work in an IHC facility. Their earnings are supplemented by a disability benefit. Naturally they're delighted to be part of the larger world and have their own money to spend as they please. Unfortunately they're soon ripped off by an unscrupulous retailer, and make a ridiculously large donation to a predatory religious group, something they immediately regret. As they're a minor, their caregiver is able to place a limit on how much they're able to withdraw from their account.
At their workplace, a social worker enquires whether they have any issues they'd like to discuss. They complain that they're not allowed free access to their earnings. The social worker visits the caregiver and delivers a sermon on the rights of the disabled. Over time the young person develops an ability to handle their own money that exceeds their caregivers hopes, but until then the social worker's admonitions are ignored, and the young person's access to their own money remains restricted.
That story had a happy outcome, but I know of a recent case of someone with an intellectual disability who left home in their mid-30s, and quickly fell victim to loan sharks. No-one's rights were violated in resolving the problem, but there was a considerable cost to family members. In a better world, Hilary, how might such issues be avoided?
The Donkey of Thesis Completion.
Hope you were able to finish the thing without busting your ass.
Hilary, very much appreciate the links, especially the Donald Beasley Institute. While I've yet to read the reports in detail, I'd like to say that, while the transition and closure seems to have been handled admirably, through the 80s the institution was allowed to run down for politically expedient reasons. This is hinted at in the Beasley Report's mention of the "working life in an institution in its heyday and as it gradually closed". I don't believe that this was done in the best interests of the inmates.
With hindsight, Kimberley should have been phased out earlier with the welfare of the inmates paramount, rather than first reducing it to a dismal shell of an institution. There's a book, the title of which I won't mention here, which purports to be a history of the place, but it's an abominably written travesty.
Kerry, I'm glad that someone's mentioned psychiatric issues. I think this reinforces just how diverse the term disability is, and how overgeneralising can sometimes obscure issues. My interest is driven by my experience with intellectual disability, specifically those who measure as low IQ. This is completely different from, say, Russell's coalface involvement with Asbergers/autism, and the whole other world of psychiatric disabilities, not to mention the special concerns of the deaf.
While the concept of a disability community might be useful in a given situation, many of these groups, if that's how they might choose to see themselves, have as little in common with one another as society at large does with the disabled in general. I've seen a young sufferer from birth trauma intellectual impairment recoil in horror from a group of Downs people that someone had suggested they might benefit from working with. At the time I could only sympathise.