Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Reasonable Opinions

Act's law and order spokesperson on double bunking in prisons:
"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. [...]

The fact is: if you don't want to be assaulted - or worse - by a cellmate, avoid prison by not committing a crime,"
My view - that prison should be abolished - is incomprehensible. If any MP expressed that view it would be news for weeks, but none of them would, because no one would.

David Garret's view is acceptable enough that it is just quoted in a news story on double bunking, not the subject of a news story.

I keep writing things, and deleting them; they don't capture the gutteral scream of despair that I'm trying to convey. I find analysing public discourse on prisons so upsetting that I do it in very small doses.

So I will move to a slightly different angle. References, jokes, and evil press releases about prison rape, are not quarantined from the way we understand rape. They are part of that understanding, and reinforce it. I'm sure you could write a lot about that; I'm sure people have. All I want to say is that any expression that anyone, anywhere, ever, deserves to be raped reinforces the idea that some people are rapeable.

58 comments:

Cactus Kate said...

Maia

So would you shed a tear if a man who has violently raped an innocent woman, is then raped in prison?

Honest answer please.

Mary-Lou said...

Yes, good question. I look forward to your honest answer.

Dell said...

I know it's not my question but I thought I'd answer:

Yes I would be upset if anyone was raped in prison. Rape is NEVER acceptable. It is ALWAYS a tragedy when someone is raped. Always. Full stop. The end.

Anonymous said...

And Cactus Kate (a woman too???) supports the rape of some? What a disgraceful and disgusting individual.

Lucy said...

Rape is never okay. And when we condone it as the consequence of someone else's action - even if that action was rape - we open the door to condoning it in other circumstances. Because if he deserved it, then maybe she did. Or him. Or her. Or you.

Like torture, or the death penalty, or sending people to the silver mines, it is a cruel and unusual punishment, and the measure of our society is our choice to shun these. It's classic eye-for-eye stuff, and I'm pretty sure we all know what that leads to.

stephen said...

Cactus Kate: on the contrary, if you think prison rape is a just punishment, then I expect you to advocate for an official rapist to sodomise all those convicted. If rape is a legitimate punishment, then it ought to be carried out in a proper and regulated fashion.

If that proposal sounds bizarre and weird, it's the logical consequence of your attitude.

Lindsay said...

I'll answer it for you Cactus. I wouldn't shed a tear but I wouldn't be cheering either.

I have always accepted the idea of preventive detention for the most dangerous criminals. But the tough on law and order brigade are starting to show their true colours. They are retributionists.

Think about where the strong culture of retribution has gotten many a Maori. Retribution sits at the start of the problem - not the end. As Lucy says, this is eye-for-an-eye stuff. Where is the logical conclusion?

stephen said...

The other aspect of course is that in the ACT revenge fantasy, only those who deserve it will be beaten or raped in prison - how delightful! - whereas in fact, the weakest prisoners will be victimised and the perpetrators will very likely be same violent people that are supposed to be punished.

It's important to realise when considering ACT "policy" that it's all about wish fulfilment, not about actually thinking what the consequences of particular decisions might be.

Anna said...

ACT isn't opposed to crime at all. It's opposed to crime when it effects people ACT deems as worthy, and quite comfortable with crime against the rest. One law for all?

Idiot/Savant said...

on the contrary, if you think prison rape is a just punishment, then I expect you to advocate for an official rapist to sodomise all those convicted. If rape is a legitimate punishment, then it ought to be carried out in a proper and regulated fashion.

And by a private contractor. After all, the public service couldn't possibly do it efficiently.

Maia said...

Cactus Kate - First how could a man rape a "not-innocent" woman? Second, I very rarely literally cry at the news, but I would think it horrific if Bob Schollum and Brad Shipton were raped in prison

And that this is even a question, That people are happy talking about rape as punishment, shows how deeply fucked up our idea of prison and dealing with wrong-doing is.

Giovanni said...

I'm impressed first of all that you dignified Cactus Kate's question with an answer, and then by the answer itself.

James said...

Fact: rape happens in prison....as steppiong on landmines does in South East Asian shit holes....not right but a fact.

Don't want ya arse raped?....don't go to prison.

Yes there are victimless crimes that should not result in a sentence...thats something ACT should be investigating...they are the only ones in government who can determine which are which by principle.

No... rape shouldn't happen anywhere....but its a sad fact that it does in prison...and its without doubt the MOST effective deterent to men entering the prison system.....its the ultimate put off....far more than incarceration or denial of rights.A guy killed himself a few years back when told he would be raped in a NZ prison....sad and tragic...but it sure focused the mind.Indeed in popular culture prison rape is a running joke...and no wonder...its true and the most thought about consequence of serving time a male thinks on....as some of them.

Maybe some fear is a good thing if it causes some people to pause and consider consequences...if the prospect of getting killed is something a new soldier should think about them so is rape by a potential offender.

Cactus Kate said...

Maia

I use the term "innocent" to decribe the woman as the man isn't innocent. He is a criminal, in jail for the very crime he is now in my hypothetical going to become a victim of himself.

Had he not raped the women he wouldn't be in a position where he was likely to be raped by another man. Men make up a very small percentage of rape victims outside of jail.

I don't support raping any one individual and to suggest so is ridiculous anonymous, I think it is dreadful. But if that individual had committed a crime of rape on a victim that means he is in jail in the first place I really wouldn't care.

A rapist being raped in jail is never as dreadful as what they did to the woman in the first instance. Here you are actually trivialising the rape victim by showing sympathy to the bastard who raped her in the first place.

Prison is MEANT to be dreadful. It's why most men are fearful of going into jail. This is good as it is a deterrent.

The proposal of bunking has NEVER suggested that the most violent offender/rapist/murderer be put with the most minor offender. Anti-bunkers have used extreme examples that would simply never happen.

And I don't think we should give more press and sympathy (or money) to criminals getting it in prison (whether it is rape or other violence) as we do to their victims.

"Utu" I think the Maori word for it is. And it is a good word.

Giovanni said...

Prison is MEANT to be dreadful. It's why most men are fearful of going into jail. This is good as it is a deterrent.

I'm always amazed at how many people believe this shit in New Zealand.

Cesare Beccaria, Of Crime and Punishment, written in 1790-odd. Amazing for how many people that's still a bit too advanced.

Cactus Kate said...

Giovanni

Do you believe in jail at all? Or punishing people for inflicting crimes on others?

So enlighten us all and tell us what would you do with a violent rapist to punish them and make sure they never offended again?

Give them a hug and some warm milk and cookies and a welfare benefit one imagines from your ivory tower living in "1790 odd"....

Anna said...

And perhaps you could return the favour by showing some evidence that sexual assault on prisoners deters crime, Kate?

Am I the only one who sometimes wonders if advocates of harsh prison conditions are looking for a 'legitimate' excuse to get off on violence? It actually makes me feel sick.

Giovanni said...

Do you believe in jail at all? Or punishing people for inflicting crimes on others?

So enlighten us all and tell us what would you do with a violent rapist to punish them and make sure they never offended again?


Removing from society and rehabilitating seems to me to be the way to go. But if you think that being raped in prison will make a rapist less likely to do harm by the time he comes out of the slammer, hey, you're the bright one, right?

And how cowardly is this idea that we won't legislate for physical punishment and torture, but we'll let other prisoners provide that for us?

Give them a hug and some warm milk and cookies and a welfare benefit one imagines from your ivory tower living in "1790 odd"....

Speaking of ivory towers: how long till you and McVicar and Garret and so forth move into a gated and crimeless community, so that the rest of us can resume having a civil society?

stephen said...

"The proposal of bunking has NEVER suggested that the most violent offender/rapist/murderer be put with the most minor offender."

No, but the ACT Justice spokesman has as much as said that the possibility of prison rape is an element of punishment (basically, what James said but more elegantly). You appear to agree with him. Back-pedalling by saying oh, we'll segregate the weak is simply refusing to face up to the logical consequences of your beliefs.

Deterrence is part of point of prison, but so is rehabilitation, which won't happen in a violent environment. Loss of liberty provides more than enough dread for most people, while violence provides little deterrence for those without intelligence or foresight.

Face up to yourselves: it's about the revenge. Your glee at revenge fantasies on behalf of others is worrying and sick.

Anonymous said...

I think the recidivists like being fucked up the arse, why else would they keep going back.

Mary-Lou said...

All I see is this blog saying that prisons must not be scary or dangerous places unless the big bad rapist/murder gets offended or hurt. Prisons are *supposed* to be f'ng scary places that you never want to go back into. There should be programmes in there that deter people from reoffending and we must NOT make it as good, or better than what it's like outside the prison.

If we have familes in our poorer areas struggling, prison cannot be a step up in the world - and you're all F'n dreaming if you think nobody thinks like this.

stargazer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maia said...

I won't be engaging in this thread any more. Prison appears to be theoretical to most people here, particularly those who disagree with what I've written. You write as if there's no chance that you could ever face the fear of rape in jail, or that you might care about someone in jail.

Loving someone in prison isn't theoretical to me. So I read what you want to inflict on people in jail, and I imagine my friends, and everyone else I saw in the visiting room.

I can't engage in that. My fear is still too high.

Cactus Kate said...

"some evidence that sexual assault on prisoners deters crime".

So they commit more crime so they can be raped in jail? That's your sort of logic Anna. Go ask a white middle class man what he fears most about jail and being taken from behind by Bubba in the shower will be #1. Otherwise it is a summer camp.

Stephen - "Back-pedalling by saying oh, we'll segregate the weak is simply refusing to face up to the logical consequences of your beliefs".

I haven't backpedalled at all. The "segregation of the weak" as you put it is done by the pro-bunkers already if you read the proposal. Rapists don't bunk with low level crims. But anti-bunkers wish to sensationalise this point of course for effect.

Maia - sounds like another cop out really. You want men to rot and hell and die for raping women on one hand (which I agree with), but then when it comes to orchestrating that action you go all lefty and limp on us.

Until you are willing to punish the degenerate scum who rape women then you are actually contributing to the system that allows men to get away with these crimes. As you put sympathy where it is not earned - with the rapist and not 100% with the victim of the original rape that earned the prison sentence.

If prison is a place where men get hugs and kisses then it will be no deterrent to offending and men will continue to rape the women that I know you defend.

Anonymous said...

"Prison appears to be theoretical to most people here, particularly those who disagree with what I've written".

Maia that is like saying that you can't possibly know anything about Ebola until you have experienced Ebola. When we all know enough about Ebola to know it is undesirable and we never wish to experience it.

Jail is much the same. I don't want to go to jail for the very reasons here. Violence, rape and gang torture. It is enough for me not to want to offend.

Mary-Lou said...

Hear hear Cactus Kate. Maia, what a complete copout.
I thought you cared about punishing the predators out there and all I see is you wanting to defend their rights?

You are no friend to survivors, you want these rapists to be fit and ready to continue their agenda of hate and violence upon us.

Dell said...

"All I see is this blog saying that prisons must not be scary or dangerous places unless the big bad rapist/murder gets offended or hurt."

I think you need to look up the definition of rape. It does more than offend a victim.

The blood lust on here is really gross. Do you people actually want to watch the prisoners get raped to make sure it's being done right?

If you want people to be raped then you're pro-rape.

Anonymous said...

"Here you are actually trivialising the rape victim by showing sympathy to the bastard who raped her in the first place."

- Why is it that right wing Sensible Sentencing Trust obsessed nutters always speak for victims without the permission of victims and despite not being victims?

miss abc said...

As a person new to the hand mirror I would like to say how disturbed I am by some of the comments made in this stream.
Not only in political tone condoning rape but in also in the personal tone of attack.
I refer to the comments made "against" Maia after she revelled personal experience with the prison system.
It appears to me that rules about how you comment may need to be tighten up.
The vitriolic nature of some comments have the fervor of a rabid Hide in full stream.
Disappointing.
And in regards to the actual topic.
Rape is rape.

Giovanni said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Giovanni said...

As a person new to the hand mirror I would like to say how disturbed I am by some of the comments made in this stream

Disturbing, yes, mostly because the SST are such darlings of the media. At the same time it is kind of amusing: obviously the only thing that the likes of Cactus Kate and McVicar have got going in their lives are functioning heating and a flat screen TV, so if you gave those to prisoners it would just destroy their sense of self. But even that isn't enough so let's throw in rape, physical intimidation, bullying and torture. Soon that won't be enough either, just you wait. The sadder and more meaningless their lives will get, so too the greater their demand to see others suffer shall become.

How many different ways can you spell "quiet desperation"? Or rather vocal, I suppose.

Mary-Lou said...

Miss ABC. What has Hide got to do with it? Say something that has to do with the discussion instead of throwing your silly "mean Mr Hude" silliness about.

Mary-Lou said...

And nobody said they wanted rape to happen in the prison... typical tactics to smear the discussion. NOBODY said it. That's that.

You put a violent rapist behind bars, who has had no regard to his victims. A man who has gone out to destroy another persons life and feels no remorse for his deeds.... and you want to feel sorry for him?

Who's sick now?

Giovanni said...

And nobody said they wanted rape to happen in the prison... typical tactics to smear the discussion. NOBODY said it. That's that.

Thus quoth David Garrett: "if you don't want to be assaulted - or worse - by a cellmate, avoid prison by not committing a crime"

Translation: criminals don't deserve to be protected from crime and violence. We shall turn a blind eye, with the excuse that it would be too expensive to police a prison.

Who's sick now?

You and your pals, that much is painfully clear.

Della said...

Don't accuse someone of "clouding the issue" then cloud the issue completely Mary-Lou.

Nobody has said 'feel sorry' for prisoners. I like most normal people just don't condone rape. Rape is rape. No matter who the victims is - It's wrong.

Simply expressing that rape shouldn't happen to anyone does not mean anyone should 'feel sorry' for prisoners. I have no idea how you managed to get that impression.

Julie said...

miss abc, thank you for commenting. Most of the time threads are not quite this, ah, robust.

I think miss abc has given all participants a timely reminder about being a bit less snarky on this thread?

Giovanni said...

I would have thought we weren't being snarky enough, frankly. How high is your tolerance threshold for fascism exactly?

Julie said...

G, it's so sweet that you thought I meant you! :-) Miss abc's concern is largely aimed at those on the other side of the argument from you, no?

Giovanni said...

I was operating on the "one rule for all" school of blog moderation. :-)

As I said earlier, I was impressed that Maia kept her cool and dignified and responded in an articulate manner to the trogloditic grunts that opened the thread. But then surely there comes a point when all that one has left is indignation, as opposed to conversation.

AWicken said...

It's another one of those basic belief clashes:

A) prison needs to be harsh to deter potential criminals, who are all rational actors and never on drugs, have lower IQ (for want of a better term) or have a variety of psychoses or personality disorder; vs

B) prison needs to educate and rehabilitate offenders (for which an intensely hostile environment is hardly conducive).

What I find really disturbing is that leading politicians (by which I don't mean ACT, btw) seem to put as little thought into the issue as some of the commentators.

notafeminist said...

This all works very well if you think that all people who go to prison are bad, and all people who are not in prison are good.

Because with this idea, anyone in prison who gets raped could have avoided it easily by not being bad and subsequently being put in jail.

And all those nonincarcerated people who get raped are innocent and don't deserve any such treatment.

But unfortunately, some people in prison who have committed violent crimes in the past have actually experienced remorse and been rehabilitated. These people are ten thousand times less dangerous than a Bruce Emery.

Yet, the general consensus seems to be that if you're in jail, you're a bad bad person, unconditionally.

That's how easy it is to say people deserve a raping, when prison is a theoretical perfect revenge center. And as soon as someone chooses to opt out of your immature fantasy world, you call them a cop out.

Anonymous said...

Yes I am on Giovanni's side of this debate.

I feel rape is rape no matter what the construct - prison or the street.

And to those offended by my Hide comment- by reacting you affirmed my point.

I was alluding to the fervor and irrationality in which the tone of discussion was taking.

And talking to the person making the argument rather then the actual topic.

If we talk to the topic we may actually find some common ground or at least an understanding of why we disagree - wouldn't that be nice.

miss abc said...

oops that last comment was meant to come up as miss abc :)

Mary-Lou said...

Some people have made this into something it isn't. Giovanni, calling me and my friends sick is just silly. Grow up. We are all allowed to have different opinions.

Garrett does not endorse prison rape, never said it. Not once. He is guilty of speaking his mind before getting it softened first - but endorsing rape in prison, he doesn't.

The main message is this, if you can't do the time, don't do the crime. If you are a violent rapist then I am sure the community wouldn't shed many tears if he is violated... however the prison rapist will need to be punished for breaking the law. That is it.

Saying politicans from any party actually believes this is a minor issue is misrepresentation.

Mary-Lou said...

Miss ABC. Unfortunately you got it wrong, Hide didn't even bring this up. You got the wrong ACT MP and therefore you are still being silly. Is it because you hate ACT, or are you actually making a point?

If the latter then at least get the right person.

miss abc said...

I was not referring to Hide making the comment Mary Lou I was referring to people behaving like Mr Hide!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Being deliberately obtuse by mis-reading comments to continue the vitriol and deflecting from the topic at hand -rape in prison- is unhelpful.

I can now understand very clearly why people are no longer wanting to comment on this stream.

The total lack of respect by some for an individuals right to a personal opinion is rather sad in a forum which should promote gender equity regardless of topic.

Della said...

"If you are a violent rapist then I am sure the community wouldn't shed many tears if he is violated... however the prison rapist will need to be punished for breaking the law."

You don't seem to have grasped anything anyone has said Mary-Lou.

If a prisoner - any prisoner rapist or not - gets violated then that is wrong. That's the whole point.

I don't know why everyone has to keep repeating it for you. Rape is rape. A violation is a violation.

It's not OK in some cases - like if it's a prisoner - and not in others.

The "prison rapist" IS punished for breaking the law. He is in prison. That is his punishment. He is being denied his freedom.

That will never be enough for people who want to see others suffer.

And as for 'shedding tears' - I'd rather cry over rape than celebrate it.

Rape is rape. There's no point continuing this if you can't grasp that simple concept.

And for the record I thought it was pretty obvious that Miss ABC was referring to Rodney Hide's baiting personality and not saying he was the MP behind this. But I can understand how you could jump to conclusions since you're obviously such an avid ACT supporter.

AWicken said...

The other point that has occurred to me is that if the threat of prison rape is supposed to be some manner of deterrent for potential victims("if you can't do the time, don't do the crime" implies that rape is some factor of "the time"), then doesn't it lessen the discouragement that prison might represent to sex predators (by sending them to a place where they might be able to behave as before)?

Similarly, if a person is a thug who only functions with violence, then putting that prisoner into a violent prison serves to only reinforce the behaviour by immersing him in an essentially familiar environment.

If prisons were places where violence and sexual assault were eradicated through efficient staff, training and equipment levels, then violent or predatory behaviour would not be rewarded with social status and the prisoner might have to find other social tools for their daily life.

If prisons were particularly brutal environments, then they would condition the prisoners to function in brutal and aggressive ways.

Just a thought.

Mary-Lou said...

I am actaully a Labour voter but voted Green last time on the list as I couldn't totally support Labour last time.

What "baiting personality" (of Hides) are you on about Della? And Miss ABC - what behaviour are you tripping on about? I know you must hate ACT in every bone of your body, but please at least have something to back it up - like facts!

I have said all along, the rapist is always in the wrong, no matter who is doing it. You're twisting it all about into some attack on rapists rights in prison. If I was raped or viciously assualted and found out my attacker got beaten up or humiliated in prison, I will be the first to applaud.

I think if you take off your blinkers, you'll see MOST women and men would agree with me. This isn't political - it's real life.

Marji said...

I wouldn't ever applaud rape. But that's just me.

Mary-Lou said...

I don't think you can say that and mean it 100%. I used to agree, but after having family raped and another killed - hearing on the news that the scumbag behind those crimes was beaten up in jail didn't being any tears from me or our local community.

No rape is worth applauding, and as I have reiterated over and over again, it is a crime and those who do it should be punished. But I have no sympathy for callous, unrepentant rapists who get upset when their rights are being taken away from them in prison.

Julie said...

Ok Mary-Lou I think that's more than enough. You are incapable of seeing the contradiction of your own comments. You are attacking others on this thread. You are starting to get rather trollish. Rein it in, contribute constructively, or consider that maybe this blog is not for you.

Other commentser (especially other THM bloggers, and double especially Maia, whose thread this is) feel free to chip in on whether my call is good or bad.

However it would be quite nice if we could get back to discussing the point of this thread rather than arguing with someone (or about someone) who is clearly enjoying the attention and not really listening anyway.

Anna said...

Heartily agree, Julie. If a comment isn't respectful and constructive, it doesn't belong.

ideologicallyimpure said...

"So they commit more crime so they can be raped in jail? That's your sort of logic Anna."

So the "deterrent" of prison rape is the reason no one commits crimes? That's YOUR apparent logic, Kate.

Julie said...

All this punishment as deterant malarky kind of misses a rather major part of the criminal thought process.

Just like you and I when we speed, or park for too long, or do many other things that break various laws and regulations, they, like us, don't think they are going to get caught.

miss abc said...

Julie I fully support the reining in of personal attacks in this stream. I feel it is the correct decision.

And to those who took issue with my comments and made rather unfounded comments about my statement - I did not make specific example of people's comments that were personal in nature because then I would be acting out the behavour I had issue with.It would be hypocritical and counter -productive.

I was merely making an observation on talking to the argument rather then personal attacks which deflect from the issue at hand. I stand by my point.

James said...

Hmmmmm reading through this post and the comments its reveling (but not suprising) that the lefties are claiming Mary Lou is resorting to personal attacks when in fact it was her who was called sick by others.

Mary Lou asked of Miss abc if she hated ACT and Rodney Hide...a legitimate question considering abc's previous postings and hardly a personal attack.

And if prison rape doesn't deter peoople before they get caught and sentanced it sure as hell will afterwards...and if not then it can be assumed that the imate actually has no real issue with it and indeed considers it a plus.....it takes all kinds.

Julie said...

So James is your intention to basically go around as many of our comment threads as possible trying to inflame them, in order to put people off genuine discussion here? That's what it is starting to look like. And that is trollish behaviour that we're not interested in.

You are basically saying that if someone is sentenced to prison again after being raped in there on a previous occasion then they have asked for rape. Rape cannot be asked for by definition. Try getting a clue before you comment here again.