Check in for a Long Stay


Each Cell Has a Toilet!

Two prisoners are talking about their crimes.
George said, "I robbed a bank, and they gave me 20 years."
Herman said, "Hmm.  I killed a man, and I'm only here for 3 days."
George said, "WHAT???  I rob a bank and get 20 years - you kill a man and get only 3 days???"
Herman replied, "Yep...  they hang me on Wednesday."


The law isn't justice.  It's a very imperfect mechanism.
If you press exactly the right buttons and are also lucky, justice may show up in the answer.
A mechanism is all the law was ever intended to be.

- Raymond Chandler

Inside and Out: The new Auckland Remand Prison, to be run by an Australian company, has none of the forbidding feel of its Victorian neighbour, Mt Eden.  Each cell has its own toilet facilities, and there are more than 200 televisions provided.  NZ Herald Pictures: David White

Source: New Zealand Herald Friday 14 July 2000

You realise this is the cleanest this prison will ever be and this is a perfect time to take lots of pictures (so they did).

Sample cell

Nobody's Business

by Ted Conover

Being a prison guard has never been a great job, but in more hopeful times there was more to recommend it.  For a while, the system seemed to encourage the idea that Correction Officers (CO's) had a role to play in correction.  Guards, for example, used to teach inmate classes.

One day, a deputy superintendent gave me permission to look through two manila folders he kept of old newspaper clippings and prison memorabilia.  In one of them I saw a "Help Wanted" poster published by the state in the 50s to attract applicants for jobs as guards.  It listed the usual supervision and custodial work among a guard's duties, but there was also a line about helping to counsel and reform the prisoners.

Nothing like that was ever suggested to me when I was being trained as a CO.  I think the department is smart enough to know that today's CO's would only laugh.  At the Corrections Academy, an officer's duties are defined as "care, custody, and control."  Rehabilitation is somebody else's business.

Or, more correctly, nobody's.

Source: Anderson Valley Advertiser 3 May 2000

A Nation of Criminals

Britain may have slipped down many world league tables over the past few decades, but it beats all other rich countries except Australia in one activity: crime.  According to a new victimisation survey of industrialised nations, people in England and Wales are at greater risk than anywhere else of having a car stolen.  And apart from Australia, people who live in England and Wales are at greater risk of being assaulted, robbed, sexually attacked and having their homes burgled than are people in any other rich country.

The results of the 2000 International Crime Victims Survey (ICVS), published by the Dutch Ministry of Justice, are deeply embarrassing to a government which has promised to be "tough on crime and the causes of crime."  That perhaps explains why the Home Office, which co-operated on the English part of the survey, says it has no plans to publish the findings.

The survey, which asked 34,000 people in 17 countries about their experience of crime, divides the nations into three groups.  England and Wales are in the worst group, along with Australia, the Netherlands and Sweden.  America - which although way up the murder league is quite moderate in other sorts of crime - is in the middle, with Scotland, Denmark and France.  Among the most crime-free countries are Finland, Switzerland and Japan.

There are no obvious reasons why England and Wales should have one of the worst crime records in the developed world.  The study points out that violent crime is higher than average there, but the overall pattern of offences is not unusual.  Heavy drinking, particularly among young men, is certainly responsible for some of the violence.

Lax sentencing policies cannot be to blame.  England and Wales imprison a higher proportion of their people than any other country in Western Europe apart from Portugal.  Nor can high rates of burglary be attributed to lack of precautions.  More houses in England and Wales have burglar alarms or special locks than do those of any other rich country.

Criminologists, who find the survey results as difficult to explain as ministers, tend to blame the "get-rich-quick" attitudes of the 1980s.  Other possible factors, put forward more in desperation than belief, include increased social mobility, and urbanisation.

The home secretary, Jack Straw, says that almost half of all crime is committed by a hard core of 100,000 offenders. The government has already legislated to introduce longer sentences for persistent burglars.  It is now proposing to introduce special drug courts for drug offenders who are responsible for more than 1/3 of all property crime.  But whether any of this will change this country's position in the crime league tables remains open to doubt.

Source: The Economist 24 February 2001

For articles on white collar and petty crimes, injustice, capital punishment, race, executioners, freedom of the press, cheating, private prisons, punishment, retribution, prison labour, appeals, instant justice, electronic tags, lepers and second chances click the "Up" button below to take you to the Index for this Prisons section.

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