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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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.

vandam vandam 4:27 pm 07 Sep 08

Maybe I should get a job there. I’m sure most people wont mind the odd drowning in the heated pool. 🙂

FYI – The ‘safe’ room or otherwise known as a padded cell is for those who get uncontrollable or who maybe self harmers. I would assume though that there won’t be any knives in the kitchens……..

Granny Granny 2:44 pm 07 Sep 08

Well, my kids don’t have a pool or basketball court either, but with all our family failings I would still be very surprised if they would prefer Bimberi to our home.

I can only feel sad that any teenager or child is living such a life that an institution would be something to be looked forward to. I, for one, hope they encounter a teacher or staff member who can really reach them and that they get to experience something approaching love at least once in their miserable existences.

It seems to me that their everyday lives must be far worse punishment than prison, so you should all be able to rejoice and celebrate the hardships and deprivations that these children are already suffering.

Davo111 Davo111 1:10 pm 07 Sep 08

So how to we get admission to Bimberi holiday camp?

Bundybear Bundybear 11:54 am 07 Sep 08

In a past life I also worked with regular Quamby attenders, and there is truth to the comments made here that some of them definitely used the corrections system as a form of time out from the real world because it was too hard. And I can certainly see many of those I dealt with looking at this facility as a pleasant option, with the added bonus of freedom from pretty much any decision making.
When did the words punishment, responsibility, consequence, boundaries become so wrong, and who decided they should???
You know the sequence, you breach the boundaries set by society, you accept responsibility for your actions, you cop the punishment meted out, and you move on with your life working through the consequences.
Not today ducky! There are no enforceable boundaries, you have rights, your wrongdoing is someone else’s fault so you’re given a wrist slap, and the only consequences suffered are by the victims of your crimes.
Should Bimberi be a dungeon, no! But it should at least be austere and uninviting! And certainly a “pay as a you go” system as advocated by Special G would at least reflect the way most of us interact in society, earn your benefits and priveliges through positive behaviour and self improvement.

GottaLoveCanberra GottaLoveCanberra 11:35 am 07 Sep 08

I’m jumping onto the “it’s not holiday camp it’s prison” side of the fence.
I remember last year I had someone call me about the Manochie center in Hume, I called it a prison and she was terribly offended and sought to quickly remind me that it’s a rehabilitation center.

Rehabilitation my arse, a quick whip of the cat-o-nine will see these scum learn a fast lesson.

pmm pmm 10:40 am 07 Sep 08

Bigfeet is right – my job now gives me exposure to a lot of these kids, and they are excited about going to Bimberi because of the facilities(which are better than those at their home, foster home, refuge etc). For some, it is an attractive option, not a punishment.

Granny Granny 10:13 am 07 Sep 08

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.

Like a dungeon?

Special G Special G 9:46 am 07 Sep 08

I’m with Nyssa on this one – what DMD described is like being in the army. except there people are doing a service to their country.

The army works like this – imposed discpline until self discipline kicks in. Someone needs to impose some discipline on the little shits.

If prison was living in a tent and doing chain gangs inbetween producive learning/life skills classes/finishing school etc.. people would not want to go there and learn something while they are there.

Every prison should be a drug rehab centre as well.

nyssa76 nyssa76 8:46 am 07 Sep 08

Here’s a thought, make it a ‘hard’ place to live/reform and they won’t want to go back.

We have defence members (productive members of society) in Afghanistan living in tents etc. Let them live in tents, do community services (as a chain gang) and give them 3 squares a day. That’s all they need.

Why should these little ‘toe rags’ be treated better than our defence members?

bigfeet bigfeet 2:11 am 07 Sep 08

utah said :

Why is that not punishment enough?
Because people re-offend.
….
If you want rehabilitation, start it after the punishment’s over, once they’ve gotten a taste of the outside world.

If you commit a crime you should be punished. Yes…rehabilitation should be the next goal, but punishment should come first as a consequence of your actions.

The ACT style of ‘punishment’ involves being sent to a holiday camp, with better conditions than your home, with all your friends, for a couple of months.

One of the lowest recidivism rates in the world is in Singapore. A few strokes of the rattan stops them in their tracks. There are very few second offenders. If they do continue to offend, then they get counseling, as well as punishment. It seems to stop recidivism. The system we have at the moment doesn’t.

Whilst I believe that corporal punishment (as in Singapore) works, I am not advocating it for the ACT, But I do believe that detention needs to be tougher.

But we are stuck with the Bimberi holiday camp when people like DMD believe that being told to go to bed early “Would you also like to be locked up in a room every night at a set time? “ is a suitable punishment for breaking into someone’s house.

utah utah 10:29 pm 06 Sep 08

Why is that not punishment enough?
Because people re-offend.

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. As soon as you start handing people perks they don’t have on the outside, like big screen TVs, heated swimming pools, and free gyms; as soon as you start making prison look like a better alternative to (or even equivalent to) being outside you start defeating that purpose.

If you want rehabilitation, start it after the punishment’s over, once they’ve gotten a taste of the outside world.

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