First I reiterate a part of a post from earlier in the week;
"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.
Mike E then referred to people imprisoned for "smoking pot" and was challenged by Mr Garrett to produce an example.
They may be unusual but certainly not unheard of.
This is from the 2002 Health Select Committee cannabis inquiry report:
p32: "Of the 9,399 prosecutions for the use of cannabis, 6,761 resulted in convictions, and 52 custodial sentences were imposed."
And from parliamentary questions;
Question 8479 (2004)
Question by Hon Tony Ryall to the Minister of Corrections:
June 14th 2004
How many inmates were imprisoned for possession of drugs but not manufacture or supply of drugs in each of the past five years, detailing how many had previous drug convictions and previous custodial sentences?
Hon Paul Swain (Minister of Corrections) replied:
The total number of inmates imprisoned for possession of drugs but not manufacture or supply of drugs in each of the last five years is as follow:
1999 431 inmates
2000 430 inmates
2001 443 inmates
2002 386 inmates
2003 411 inmates
2004 157 inmates (up to 31 May 2004)
While most sentences would have been for drugs other than cannabis, these substantial numbers represent the victimless crimes alluded to.
(Many thanks to Chris Fowlie of NORML for the speedy provision of information)