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Bimberi – no holiday camp

Gungahlin Al 6 September 2008 51

While everyone else was tucking into lunch at the Bimberi opening ceremony, I ducked off to take some pictures.

While the common areas look on a par with our newer schools, and Gungahlin finally has a heated indoor pool (not that we can use it), the living quarters tell another story. Especially the so called “Safe Room” – I’m sure even the law-and-enthusiasts on RA would appreciate that is not going to be a great place to spend a while…


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51 Responses to Bimberi – no holiday camp
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someoneincanb someoneincanb 9:59 am 12 Sep 08

I wonder what the annual running cost is per child. Is there a risk this facility will be closed in the near future like the schools we *had* for our non-offending children, that couldn’t be sustained on running costs of approx $10,0000/child annually. Does anyone know if the classrooms happen to have white boards in them? What will the teacher:student ratio be?

vg vg 9:07 pm 11 Sep 08

Deadmandrinking said :

Wide Boy Jake said :

QUOTE: Ummmm…the average person actually does have access to heated pools and indoor basketball courts. They are called fitness centres and clubs. UNQUOTE

You’re missing the point a bit. “the average person” might have access to swimming pools and fitness clubs but we have to pay to use them, wheras if you kill someone or break into someone’s house you get it all for free. I personally would like to go to a gym and do laps in the pool every morning but I can’t afford it.

Would you also like to be locked up in a room every night at a set time? Would you also like to spend long periods of time grounded to a certain area? Would you also like to be able to mingle with members of the opposite sex? Would you also like to share bathrooms with only your family, if at all?

What people here do not seem to understand is that these inmates are locked up 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Their basic right to freedom of travel, freedom of activity and freedom of social interaction have been taken away from them. Why is that not punishment enough? Are people on here’s lives so bad that they do not enjoy these freedoms? If so, you really need to take a good look at the comforts you have and rediscover these freedoms.

They are in there by choice, the crimes they chose to commit. Can’t do the time then don’t commit the act that gets you in there in the 1st place.

It is not a place to be relaxed and comfortable, it is a place to learn that what you did is wrong and not acceptable to the wider community. Giving them more than what they have in the outside is a motivation to commit crime, not a deterrent.

Get out from under that mushroom you live under

fabforty fabforty 8:37 pm 11 Sep 08

Granny said :

utah said :

I want prison to be a fscking horrible place, that people will do anything – including obeying the law – to avoid. I want people who’ve been to prison to have nightmares about it, so that any time they even think about stealing cars/breaking in to houses/mugging people, they remember why they shouldn’t.

Utah seems to think that if we offer punishment that is unpleasant then people will stop committing crime. If only it were that simple. Can Utah please explain to me why there are 100’s of people on death row in the US ? It seems the threat of death isn’t even enough to deter some.

mutley mutley 3:42 pm 08 Sep 08

No problemo

peterh peterh 3:36 pm 08 Sep 08

mutley said :

and will this reduce criminal youth?

not bl**dy likely.

what a stunning waste of money.

Not sure if you are agreeing with me or not, but I’m sure it’s been shown that higher participation in team sports leads to lower juvenile crime. So if we keep kids busy playing sport etc then they are less likely to go off the rails. I’m not saying we should pour potable water on our ovals, but some money put into them may keep the kids doing stuff other than B&Es

I am agreeing with you. why build a facility with overuse of water, when teams play in the dust at fields outside the gaol, they should be trying to increase the upkeep of the existing ovals.

mutley mutley 3:20 pm 08 Sep 08

and will this reduce criminal youth?

not bl**dy likely.

what a stunning waste of money.

Not sure if you are agreeing with me or not, but I’m sure it’s been shown that higher participation in team sports leads to lower juvenile crime. So if we keep kids busy playing sport etc then they are less likely to go off the rails. I’m not saying we should pour potable water on our ovals, but some money put into them may keep the kids doing stuff other than B&Es

Granny Granny 2:42 pm 08 Sep 08

‘Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man.’

peterh peterh 2:33 pm 08 Sep 08

Granny, I grew up in a working class neighborhood. I have had, on several instances, the opportunity to become a member of the criminal element as i have grown up. (some who know me probably believe that I have, more than once)

the group of mates I was in used to shoplift. we were pretty good at taking lollies etc.

one mate, who had loving caring parents, graduated to GTA. He was a criminal from the outset.

MY father bred distrust for me. he caught me on the way home from a mate’s place and checked my arms for tracks. buggered why I would have them, at age 12, but anyway.

the child that yearns approval from parents do not resort to theft and violence. any child can.

it is what your moral compass tells you, not what you learn in life.

Granny Granny 2:15 pm 08 Sep 08

During the turbulent teenage years I had a child run away from home for a brief time and become involved with an individual from the criminal sub-culture.

The personal fear and horror of that experience defies description, except to say that the life of another one of my children was threatened. There is a real powerlessness and terror involved in the knowledge that you cannot truly protect those whom you love.

Anyhow, on one occasion we had cause to visit the home of this individual. My one-year-old was sitting on my knee, and I was holding her and absently kissing her and caressing her as I spoke.

One of the little boys there must have been watching us, because he went to his mother and tried to copy us. His mother asked what he wanted, roughly pushed him away and insulted him.

I just wanted to sweep him up into my arms and hold him tight and never let him go, but I couldn’t do a thing.

When their own mothers are rejecting them and telling them that they’re not worth anything and will never amount to anything, how is it helpful for us as a society to reinforce that message?

I am not surprised that some would prefer detention.

And if it means that they get to swim in a heated pool, that is obviously adequate compensation for the sexual abuse they have likely endured in the foster system.

Mr_Shab Mr_Shab 2:05 pm 08 Sep 08

So a more “US model” of gaol and punishment, Ralph? Stiffer penalties. Tougher prisons. Mandatory sentances. Bring it on. We all know that the US doesn’t have a crime problem or anyone in prison. No siree. Nor do they have anyone who sees prison as pretty much inevitable or even a rite of passage. Do we really want that culture any more widespread in Australia, cause it’s what you’ll get as soon as you start locking more people up. People respond to incentives alright – just not necessarily in neat or predictable ways.

I would also argue one Gerry Harvey is more than enough.

Peterh – I think the costs of putting sports fields and a pool in Bimberi were pretty small potatoes compared to the overall cost of the facility; or the costs involved in improving public housing for that matter. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so you’ll not see me argue against better public housing. In fact – I think we’re on the same side of the arguement.

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 2:05 pm 08 Sep 08

Instead of turning left into Sandford Street, turn right towards the Federal Highway.

sepi sepi 1:41 pm 08 Sep 08

So where is this place – is it on Flemington road?

I can’t imagine the sad lives of anyone who would actually want to go in there.

Ralph Ralph 1:28 pm 08 Sep 08

I doubt we’ll see a future Gerry Harvey graduating from Bimberi, at best these cretins will be in low paid work and alternating between that and welfare (which is just a crime subsidy anyway).

Under my model, people don’t come out, at least for a very long time. People respond to incentives, and seeing their mate go away for 20 years or so is a pretty good incentive not to commit crime.

peterh peterh 1:25 pm 08 Sep 08

Mr_Shab said :

Of course it looks good. It’s brand spanking new.

I fail to see how making prison tougher or sentances longer reduces recidivism or aids rehabilitation. If you make prison tougher of course people won’t want to go there; but you won’t see fewer people going in; just meaner people coming out.

I’m sure that there are some kids who want to go into Bimberi because it looks nice, but that’s a pretty grim indictment of their lives. Making life brutal inside and outside is not going to make them feel like they need to contribute something to society or that there’s an alternative.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Most of these kids are so screwed up that they can’t be reached. You just need to find the least bad answer to an intractable problem. That would be Bimberi, rather than sticking them in tents out in the middle of the desert, or whatever people are suggesting.

Although – I liked SpecialG’s “pay as you go” idea. I wonder if that’s something that ACT corrections have considered?

Mr_Shab, I believe that the facility didn’t have to have a swimming pool, ovals, etc, to be effective. This looks too good, not just from a perspective that it is actually new, but more that the kids in there may never want to leave. For some of the children caught up in the criminal element, this is probably the best house they will ever live in.

We want them to be rehabilitated, not spoilt. They won’t get any favours from this facility if is paints a different picture to reality, and they will be disinclined to receive help from authority if that means leaving the facility and going back to their meager existences.

These kids need rehab and ongoing support. This Gaol, no matter how pretty it is, won’t give them ongoing support. It will appear to be a better place to be than on the streets, but there is no incentive to become model citizens, you need to give them hope for the future, with a job, accommodation, etc. This is just another example of human rights gone awry. The money spent on this facility would have been better spent on more accommodation in canberra, make the accommodation pretty if you want, the dark dingy apartments that they are throwing housing tenants into at the moment won’t breed citizens…

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 1:16 pm 08 Sep 08

Perhaps I can clarify some aspects of the Bimberi accommodation that don’t come through so well in the pictures.

There is a camera in the corner of every bedroom. clear views towards both the bed and the toilet. So how much would you enjoy every single crap or sexual release being broadcast to the guards?

The showers are those tiny little spray things – presumably so there’s nothing one can hang themselves off. The frosted bedroom windows mean you can see the sky only, likewise the ever present fencing all around the complex prevents you seeing pretty much anything of the surroundings. The guard station is only a glass window from the living and kitchen area, so you will be watched always, everywhere. The surroundings are the cold and windswept areas north of EPIC, as anyone who froze at either the sod-turning or opening ceremonies would attest.

The “safe room” is not padded. It is a completely blank box inside except for the 3 slot windows, which only look out onto the blank wall opposite, and a camera up in the corner.

There is no weights gym, and from what I could see, no provision for one – so none of the ‘turning themselves into musclemen’ issues. As to the courts and grassed area, would you rather they NOT have the opportunity to burn off some energy?

The rest of the centre revolves around the school facilities.

What I’m trying to say, and the pictures perhaps don’t convey, is that the personal areas are quite austere, very basic, and most definitely invasive of privacy and freedom. The communal areas on the other hand are where the inmates would be expected to come together in a socially acceptable manner, and therefore it is quite appropriate that those facilities present a ‘better way’ for the kids, rewarding better bahaviour.

On those who take the “let them rot” stance: perhaps you can consider it from a purely economic perspective? These are kids, and anyone who chooses to acknowledge their own childhood would also recognise that they did some mightly dumb things. But we grew out of it (mostly). So if there is the slightest chance that rehabilitation in the true sense of the word, and a good education, might lead to even a fraction on the kids turning a corner, wouldn’t that be worth it?

The alternative – your let em rot approach – would virtually guarantee that they will be on-and-off prisoners for life, alternating with stints of crime. The sheer economic costs of pursuing, capturing, punishing and keeping them in prisons, plus the costs to the victims of their crimes – would I’d guess far far outweight the costs of providing these facilities.

Mr_Shab Mr_Shab 1:12 pm 08 Sep 08

Of course it looks good. It’s brand spanking new.

I fail to see how making prison tougher or sentances longer reduces recidivism or aids rehabilitation. If you make prison tougher of course people won’t want to go there; but you won’t see fewer people going in; just meaner people coming out.

I’m sure that there are some kids who want to go into Bimberi because it looks nice, but that’s a pretty grim indictment of their lives. Making life brutal inside and outside is not going to make them feel like they need to contribute something to society or that there’s an alternative.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Most of these kids are so screwed up that they can’t be reached. You just need to find the least bad answer to an intractable problem. That would be Bimberi, rather than sticking them in tents out in the middle of the desert, or whatever people are suggesting.

Although – I liked SpecialG’s “pay as you go” idea. I wonder if that’s something that ACT corrections have considered?

Ralph Ralph 12:55 pm 08 Sep 08

This place looks far too cosy for my liking.

Put the scum to hard work while they’re in there. They’ll be enjoying better facilities that what a lot of kids get at good boarding schools.

peterh peterh 12:47 pm 08 Sep 08

mutley said :

I’m with AG Canberra.

Geez it’s good to see that the toy government can switch off watering ovals of rate payers and their law abiding kids – yet manages to find water for a bloody aboretum and two ovals at prisons…..

If any oval should be a dust bowl it’s the prison/rehabilitation centre/holiday camp ones.

and will this reduce criminal youth?

not bl**dy likely.

what a stunning waste of money.

mutley mutley 12:19 pm 08 Sep 08

I’m with AG Canberra.

Geez it’s good to see that the toy government can switch off watering ovals of rate payers and their law abiding kids – yet manages to find water for a bloody aboretum and two ovals at prisons…..

If any oval should be a dust bowl it’s the prison/rehabilitation centre/holiday camp ones.

AG Canberra AG Canberra 11:13 am 08 Sep 08

I’d like to play on the nice oval thanks – apparently there’s no water for ours in Chisholm – and there hasn’t been for the last 5 years!

Geez it’s good to see that the toy government can switch off watering ovals of rate payers and their law abiding kids – yet manages to find water for a bloody aboretum and two ovals at prisons…..

I’m all for rehabilitation – but if the kids of Chisholm Primary had an oval to play on then maybe their energy would go into sports and not into petty crime.

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