Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Antagonism for the sake of it

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.

35 comments:

Oswald Bastable said...

It's actually easier to manage crims when they are in single cells, especially the higher security types.

For example, when contraband is found, they will always plead 'it's not MINE'

That and cellmates tend to fall out of love. Honestly, working out who bunks with who is like planning the seating at a wedding between two seriously dysfunctional families!

Rape in prisons is relatively rare, but it does happen. The last incident I recall was (how cliche) in the showers, so double bunking couldn't be blamed there.

As staff we used to go to great lengths to try and prevent rapes and bashings- if only to have a peaceful shift with the minimum of paperwork!

Barnsley Bill said...

I am fully supportive of everything Act and National are trying to do with our prison and justice system. However I want a new secure hospital for the people stuck in jails who are clearly mental. Double bunk and hard labour is fine by me. It is supposed to be punishment as well as protecting the public.

Anonymous said...

Lindsay,

You have selectively posted his press release. I think it is pretty clear from the rest of his release that he does not see double bunking as ideal.

Lindsay said...

Selective?

OK. here's some more;

"The feelings and preferences of prisoners should not enter into any debate over the implementation of double-bunking ...

"Who cares if inmates don't want to be 'cooped up' together for long periods of time? These criminals have lost the right to have their comforts considered," Mr Garrett said.

His disdain for ALL prisoners is patent. And the throwaway comments trivialise the reality. 'Comfort' has little to do with it. Try 'sanity and safety'.

MikeE said...

He's a fucking idiot, and an embarressment to the rest of the party.

To suggest that its ok for someone to get anally raped for smoking pot is insane.

MikeE said...

Or former ACT staffer Tim Selwyn for sedition.

Anonymous said...

Go on Lindsay, post the rest. No? Ok, I will then...


"This debate would not even be happening had the previous Labour Government adequately provided for the exploding incidence of crime that the country experienced under its watch.
"Given this huge increase in the number of inmates, the National Government must clearly consider all options – including double-bunking – until any new prisons come on-line."


It is clear that he is not "relishing the prospect" as you put it. He sees it as a short term solution (until new prisons come on-line) to a problem caused by the explosion of inmate numbers under Labour, with not enough prison beds being provided to keep up with demand.

James said...

Hmmmmm....I with Garrett on this one...double bunk with a bit of thought as to who goes with who but after that fuck em.If two men can't work out between them how to co exist then tough....yes they should be out of the cell for enough hours to be working,exercise etc so as to have some individual space time for the sanity Lindsay mentions but at night and lockdown no....sorry.

I am against the gang patch ban but this it turning into too much of a beat up Garrett for eveything precious fest for my liking.

Lindsay said...

"I am against the gang patch ban but this it turning into too much of a beat up Garrett for eveything precious fest for my liking."

James, I worry about doing that. But Garrett's statements provoke a very strong response in me. Then when I consider just letting it go, so as not to create the impression you have got, I am faced with censoring myself. Which is a worse prospect than the alternative. Saying nothing is not my strong point.

Ruth said...

This far-right winger will be the death knell for ACT.

Again an excellent post Lindsay.

Kick over a rock and see what comes crawling out.

Good on you.

Barnsley Bill said...

why position him as a far right winger Ruth?

James said...

"James, I worry about doing that. But Garrett's statements provoke a very strong response in me. Then when I consider just letting it go, so as not to create the impression you have got, I am faced with censoring myself. Which is a worse prospect than the alternative. Saying nothing is not my strong point."

Fair enough Lindsay.....aside from the gang patch ban Im not really opposed to ACT's line on crime and punishment...how is it "anti-Liberal? No ones punished who didn't WANT to be punished...its almost perverse consent...something we liberals are all for no....?

Having gomne back and read Garretts statements Im not actually offended...provided we read them in context...he's never advocated torture or anything draconian...just punishment for thoes who REALLY violate the rights of unconsenting others...punishment that was flagged miles in advance of arrival....so what are we upset about?


Its good we have a 'liberal" principle detector operating so finely....but maybe its tipped too far to the "lefty handwringer" setting...?

PS...its to ACT's credit that this sort of dispute CAN be had amoungst members and conclusions reached amicably....I hope.

James said...

.....I meant to add that its ALL of ACT's MP's,not just Garrett that were voting to support the gang ban wasn't it?.....he's become a scapegoat on that issue I think....

I have been contacted by one MP...not Rodney....who has toild me they are well aware iof this "upset" and have discussed it in depth.....so thats positive.

Anonymous said...

Prison should be a place where one would never want to go back to for a second round.
Now - if they were like this from the start, then you could be sure that the population of prisons would be such that double bunking wasnt neede at all.

And when I say "never want to go back to" I dont mean its OK for rape etc. But there should be no TV, very basic meals, the prisoner would have to perform work or good behaviour to get extras, etc. They wont have to be badly physically treated - but they should have absolutely no 'luxuries'.

After all these people have invariably deprived people in society of their rights - and prisoners need to loose theirs while they are in prison.

James said...

What Anon said....and I can say with some confidence that anal homosexual rape is THE major reason that men do NOT want to go near prison....its the ultimate deterent....this may confuse the PC wank crowd but its the truth....forced homosexuality is more offputting than prison itself....and really whos suprised?

In the 70's there was a program screened on NZ TV called "scared straight"...it was about several young offenders in the US who were taken to a maximum security prison in the US to hear from hardcore inmates exactly what awaited them should they end up inside.....basically they were promised sexual degradation and rape.....and 20 years later only one was inside...and he hadn't paid attention to the cons and was trying to steal the original crews gear for drug money....tells you something.


If the threat of anal rape is what it takes to keep scum out of prison then fine...more of it!..its what what works.Most Kiwi hetro men know this and heed this fact...seculed idiots need to wake up fast or fuck off out of this debate.

Barnsley Bill said...

I agree completely.... Terrifying prospect... I could barely walk for two days after a prostate exam!

James said...

Ps....Im NOT saying rapes ok....just that its as relavent in the context of prison as stepping on a land mine is while walking in the bush in some South East Asian shithole....get the picture?

Its a foreseeable hazzad that REALLY needs considering before undertaking criminal actions....fair enough? Its not "right"....just "IS'....

James said...

Blogger Barnsley Bill said...

"I agree completely.... Terrifying prospect... I could barely walk for two days after a prostate exam!"

Christ...that was quick! are you poised over the post button or something?!

;-0

Barnsley Bill said...

no just chatting in gmail and comments keep popping up...

James said...

Blogger Barnsley Bill said...

"no just chatting in gmail and comments keep popping up."

You scarey M*%^$#f^%$#R!

;-)

James said...

Ps....Lindsay.....I have a Green party menmbership form here for you to sign....get to it...;-)


Oh alright...maybe theres hope...

;-)

Lindsay said...

At least they have "the guts to do what's right" regarding the decriminalisation of marijuana (although they kept it pretty well hidden last campaign.)

Thanks but I am quite happy without a party affiliation.

brian_smaller said...

I have to agree with Garret when he said that if you don't want the consequences of doing prison time, don't commit crime. I have managed to live all my adult life without commiting crime. It isn't hard.

Neil said...

David Garrett has screwed up here but he is not the first to let emotion cloud judgment. There is punishment in being imprisoned but that is not its purpose. Its purpose and the reason citizens can morally support it is to protect others and to rehabilitate.
Double-bunking is an economic necessity with pros and cons, it should be managed but it cannot morally be applied as punishment. Sorry to bring morality into it but lack of understanding of philospophy and ethics is why ACT MPs are going 'off message' like this.

Mo said...

The purposes of prisons is to remove individuals from society until proper punishment is determined (which may only consist of imprisonment--not necessarily death or community service)


in response to Neil its actually both: Punishment and removal from society, with rehabilitation as a minor possibility, not to mention a tertiary notion.

brian_smaller said...

"Its purpose and the reason citizens can morally support it is to protect others and to rehabilitate.
/"

Do you seriously think most people think prison is there to rehabilitate people? Maybe in the latte set and amongst sociologists perhaps. I would say that most people think crims should rot in prison breaking rocks, and the thought of crims having to live two or three to a room doesn't move them to any sympathy or compassion at all.

neil said...

A goal of rehabilitation is simply economic rationalism. failure is no excuse for giving it away. Compassion is optional, emotive ranting on this blog is harmless but gratuitous physical punishment is not necessary or helpful. The punishers should just grow up and get control of their testosterone.

Mo said...

can you define economic rationalism Neil?

David Garrett said...

Just to clarify a couple of things...firstly I am NOT saying (and did not say in the relase) that homosexual or any other kind of rape in prison is acceptable.Rape is by definition a crime, and should be investigated and punished whether it occurs in prison or elswhere.

Secondly, "double bunking" is nothing new; in the past it was common. Perhaps it is a sign of how soft we have become as a society that it is now an issue among the chattering classes.


The "gang patch" issue was debated at length in our caucus. I was the one who spoke on it in the House because it falls in my area of responsibility.

As for MikeE (use a dictionary when you post my boy), if you can draw my attention to anyone who is in jail for "smoking pot" and nothing else, $100 is yours...

MikeE said...

David,

I am not your boy.

And heres a tetraplegic jailed (in NZ) for use of Med Pot.

http://www.norml.org.nz/Medical/Danuiel_Clark.htm

I'll be picking up my $100 at the AGM tomorrow thanks.

Barnsley Bill said...

Burn.......

Cactus Kate said...

10 years ago....

Garrett asked specifically for anyone "in jail". The tetrapelic clearly now is not.

James said...

And it wasn't under an Government with ACT in it so we are getting beyond precious to "lets get Garrett" time.....

Redbaiter said...

Mr. Garret, please do not expend any energy arguing with foul mouthed ignorant and narrow dreamworld Libertarians, unintelligent zealots who constantly confuse sticking to principle with failing to see the wood for the trees.

Great idea about doubling up in prisons. That the Libz make a meal of the anal rape side issue is just so typical of that band of wittering non achieving poseurs.

Ignore them, They're all piss and wind and have never ever accomplished anything political in NZ, and never will, other than a gradual slide back into the oblivion from whence they came.

Just leftists and pseudo liberals cloaking themselves in a "fresh idea" subterfuge in an attempt to get some degree of political traction.

Advocate that they dislike left and right with the same intensity, and myself being on the right, I'm just fine with that. I can wipe the floor with any Liberqueerian any day.

MikeE said...

David,

Blair has a mate who was not only jailed for cannabis use, he was raped.... twice.

Is that good enough for you, or would you like more examples.

http://mildgreens.blogspot.com/2009/03/yates-garrett-and-act.html