I missed this story in January due to being on hols, but it came to my attention just now while reading this post over at OLO (discussing the Kyle and Jackie O scandal and what exactly brought on the public outrage). Chris Lloyd asks why the outrage seems selective, in particular why more people weren’t outraged back then by the comments of a judge to a young defendant which aimed to scare him straight by telling him that if he went to a real jail he should expect to be raped on his first night (and presumably repeatedly thereafter).
“You spent three days in the Sydney police centre at Surry Hills. That’s not jail,” he said.
“I’m giving you another chance to go back out there but if you do it again that’s it. Nope. Payday. Have you got any idea what it’s like in there? Any idea at all? You wouldn’t last a night.
“You will find big, ugly, hairy, strong men who’ve got faces only a mother could love that will pay a lot of attention to you – and your anatomy. Scary, isn’t it? But that’s what will happen.”
So yes, Chris Lloyd, I do find the comments of Magistrate Brian Maloney offensive and outrageous. I wish I’d known of them at the time, which is very much part of your point – these comments were not highlighted by the media due to an upswelling of community outrage – they passed by virtually without comment other than tacitly approving editorial cartoons.
If the magistrate genuinely believes that kids are being raped in prisons, then he has an obligation not to send them there
Over the years I’ve linked on several occasions to posts that highlight how the fact that so many of the world’s prisons are rape factories is routinely acknowledged as if it were some natural environment that cannot be changed, and how people routinely make jokes about prison rape as if it is a deserved punishment for any crime instead of being a human rights abuse. Just like other rape jokes, prison rape jokes are not funny (and although most of the prison rape “jokes” are about men’s prisons, rape occurs in women’s prisons as well).
The distinctively memorable phrase “cruel and unusual punishment” may only appear in the USA’s bill of rights rather than within our own legal system, but surely that is something that any prisoner should be protected from when deprived of their liberty by the State? What else is a routine expectation of sexual assault within prisons but cruel and unusual punishment?