I have a bit of time for criminologist, Greg Newbold. When he shares an opinion I listen. But his latest comments, that double-bunking in prisons will lead to more violence and more rape, have wound up ACT's David Garrett.
Mr Garrett obviously believes that the state has no responsibility to keep people who are sent to prison safe. His latest statement, by way of response to Greg Newbold, is quite bloody-minded.
"I am further interested to note Dr Greg Newbold's remarks about homosexual rape – an issue he is on record as saying has never been a major problem in New Zealand prisons. Rape is a crime wherever it occurs, and can be dealt with in the same way as any other offence committed in prison.
"The fact is: if you don't want to be assaulted - or worse - by a cellmate, avoid prison by not committing a crime," Mr Garrett said.
I wonder if Mr Garrett has forgotten that there are people in our prisons who are not violent; people who are guilty only of victimless crimes; people who should properly be in the care of psychiatrists and nursing staff; people who are on remand awaiting trial who may not even be convicted.
Note too that he has now gone beyond the idea of prison as a means to keeping the public safe, his overriding rationale for the three strikes policy. It is now a place where you can get a taste of your own medicine, perhaps? Where you get what is coming to you.
Double-bunking may be a necessary and/or temporary last resort but it is a far cry from grudging or regretful acceptance to positively relishing the prospect.
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