Kiwi Polemicist

August 29, 2009

• Containers might create slum prisons

Filed under: Various news items that interest me — Tags: , , , — Kiwi Polemicist @ 10:48 am

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The NZ Herald has an article entitled “Containers may create ‘slum prisons’ – advocate“. It begins thus:

A 60 bed container unit will be built at Rimutaka Prison but a prisoner advocate has concerns that the containers could create “tin shanties and slum prisons”.

Howard League for Penal Reform president Peter Williams, QC, said the containers are for shifting goods, not housing people.

Personally, I’ve always thought that every prison is a slum. Visiting Paremoremo and Mt Eden prisons (voluntarily 🙂 ) didn’t cause me to change this opinion.

Williams goes on to say

He said the important aspect was to keep them air-conditioned and heated in winter.

“Without air-conditioning or heating in the winter, they are almost unlivable,” Mr Williams said.

As far as I know the graves of murder victims don’t have air conditioning (yes, I know, it’s a specious argument). I’ve stayed in an old, unlined single man’s forestry hut during snow and it wasn’t “unlivable”. Practically any dwelling that keeps out the rain and wind is livable: I’ve read about people living in Alaskan huts where there was ice on the bed spreads and nails popping out of the walls. Some of them wrote about it so they must have survived.

What does Williams expect? Butlins? He is a leftie so he probably views prisoners as oppressed victims who really need a restorative holiday, instead of being subject to restorative justice.

What do you think about the use of converted shipping containers as prison cells?



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