A judge in Western Australia transmuted a young man’s 12 month custodial sentence to an 18 month suspended sentence after expressing concern that the convicted man would not be safe from rapists in prison, and what is the commentary this morning on tabloid telly?
It’s all asking whether we should stop activist judges being silly softies instead of whether we should stop our prisons being rape factories.
I for one believe that when our society imposes the loss of liberty and close confinement upon a convicted offender, we consequently take on an obligation to ensure their physical safety. When we fail this responsibility to be just in our detention regimes, we might as well be brutalising them ourselves.
Categories: ethics & philosophy, law & order, media
I am in absolute agreement with your essential point: “when our society imposes the loss of liberty and close confinement upon a convicted offender, we consequently take on an obligation to ensure their physical safety.”
One of the most frightening things about this post is that I suspect the (true) answers to the questions in those ads, for many would be, respectively, Yes, Yes, No, No.
Especially given the apparent racial indicators for both people.
I think that the common attitude towards rape in prison (“it’s deserved; they’re all just crims anyway”) is strongly related to the recent, widely-reported reaction to Texas Governor Rick Perry’s record of executions on his watch – a visceral call for blood (portrayed as vengeance).
We perhaps keep it more firmly under wraps here in Australia, but that attitude to prison rape might just be the same sort of thing showing through.
To some people, I think rape is actually supposed to be a legitimate part of the punishment. They have this idea that we should make prison as awful as possible so no one will want to go back, even though it works the other way completely – shockingly, putting people in a tightly controlled environment filled with (other) criminals and treating them like shit does not make them particularly enamoured of society, nor does it help them get back to their lives once they get out.
It’s like people have feelings or something!