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Epic failure at the non-smoking prison.

By johnboy - 17 April 2009 101

Having seen over many years the civil disobedience campaign waged by the smokers of Parliament House I’ll admit I was always intrigued by the idea of the hardened criminals of the new prison and their response to a happy clappy no-smoking regime.

The Canberra Times reports that in the few short days since the prison was opened the fire brigade has been called out 33 times responding to alarms triggered by cigarette smoke.

    An Emergency Services Authority spokesman said the Fire Brigade had responded to 33 calls to the Alexander Maconochie Centre, responding to automatic fire alarms triggered by the centre’s ultra-sensitive smoke alarm system.

We can only hope no-one’s house burns down while units are tied up telling prisoners to butt out.

UPDATED: In a masterful piece of cognitive dissonance John Hagreaves has just announced what a wonderful “hive of activity” his prison is:

    “All prisoners suitable for employment are currently engaged in work at the AMC such as cleaning, kitchen, laundry and horticultural duties. And in an Australian first, the AMC has 100% participation in vocational education and training (VET) programs,” Mr Hargreaves said.

    “Almost 80% of prisoners at AMC have already completed rehabilitation plans with case managers which stipulate their individual needs. In support, there is currently underway a comprehensive assessment for associated therapeutic programs.


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101 Responses to
Epic failure at the non-smoking prison.
phototext 12:29 pm 17 Apr 09

“Take away all their rights in there. Lock them in smaller cells, give them 1 hour of yard time, etc etc, then people will think twice about breaking the law cauase they will hate going to prison.”

If that was the case then the death penalty would be the ultimate incentive to obey the law. But people still break the law in the U.S where the death penalty is carried out.

A practical reason that prisoners are given certain privelages is so that they can be taken away for breaking prison rules. How do you control a population of people who regard the law with contempt, by the exploitation of their self interest.

You take away all privelages from the get go and then you have no method to control their behaviour…. except by brutality.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_ 12:23 pm 17 Apr 09

On what planet is a nagging wife a light sentence?

johnboy 12:21 pm 17 Apr 09

aa, we tried being arseholes. The americans still are.

It didn’t work, it doesn’t work.

Why not try something else?

If your life is so impoverished that you need a vicarious thrill in knowing convicted criminals are being harshly treated I’d argue that you need to get out more.

farnarkler 12:12 pm 17 Apr 09

aa I totally agree. Who’d take the chance sleeping rough when you could commit a non violent crime and get a nice warm bed and three meals a day.

I remember a joke in ‘Porridge’ the comedy, in which a bloke had got himself sentenced to jail just so he could have a holiday his nagging wife. With such light sentences being given out these days, perhaps that is what is happening.

aa 12:01 pm 17 Apr 09

Take away all their rights in there. Lock them in smaller cells, give them 1 hour of yard time, etc etc, then people will think twice about breaking the law cauase they will hate going to prison.

While prison is so relaed and easy for them and in some cases a better life for criminals, what would make them fear it?

Here’s an example. If you were homeless, you’re better off going to prision cause you’ll be fed, you’ll have a roof over your head, heating, a bed to sleep in, tv, etc etc. On the streets you’re alone anyway, you don’t have much freedom cause you can’t do anything. So, if i was homeless, i would do what ever i could to get sent to prision.

phototext 11:53 am 17 Apr 09

The problem with taking tv etc etc away from a prison population, because they have abdicated all rights by breaking the law etc etc, is that the staff have to deal with the consequences of such a policy.

It may make everyone else in society feel happy the prisoners have no tv privelages but we don’t have to deal with a bored and often violent people in prisons.

It would be a bitch of a job anyway, why make it even harder for them.

aa 11:42 am 17 Apr 09

I don’t think they should have the same rights as everyone else. If they cared so much about the rights of people, they wouldn’t have broken the law. Just like they took the rights away from people, their rights should be taken away also. But hey, a murderer or a rapist has the right to watch pay tv, has the right to 3 meals a day, but the general public have to work for it.

Also there was talks about a shooting room. Did they end up getting it? Isn’t the shooting room the government turning a blind eye to drug use? (Im waiting for everyone to jump down my throat on this). Instead of spending money on a shooting room, increase security so people can’t get drugs into the prison.

Does anyone know if they have a sniffer dog (like in the airports) for all visitors to the prison here?

phototext 11:30 am 17 Apr 09

Rights aside, any public servant who thinks that they will be able to enforce a strict smoking policy onto people who obviously break the law is an idiot.

Any callout fees should be deducted from the public servants wage who came up with the idea to punish them for being stupid and not thinking it through.

niftydog 11:28 am 17 Apr 09

Isn’t that a bit dramatic, aa? It’s a fundamental right of all humans to burn a piece of toast.

p1 11:26 am 17 Apr 09

I would have thought that they could stop the flow of *most* tobacco into the prison. While I understand that enterprising people will smuggle anything anywhere, a hit of heroin take up little space, a carton of cigarettes are a little harder to cram up your butt…

aa 10:58 am 17 Apr 09

once agian with the “human rights”. The prisioners should have rights in prision. The second they took the rights away from people (the reason they’re in there in the first place) they have lost to right to have any rights at all.

Thumper 10:54 am 17 Apr 09

It’s probably a human rights issue.

s-s-a 10:52 am 17 Apr 09

Ummm is there no way to control the inflow of smoking materials and lighters/matches??? Oh well…

Ian 9:52 am 17 Apr 09

I’m very impressed by the positives the government is taking from this experience though.

She (John Hargreaves spin doctor) said the alarm system was being tested through ”real life events”.

”In complexes like this the alarm system often requires fine tuning,” she said.

Now given the fact that the jail was open six months ago, and that people were being paid to work there in much of that time, you’d think surely they might have actually used some of that time to test a few things. What were they doing in their 6 months sans prisoners? Sitting around on their arses!

jessieduck 9:31 am 17 Apr 09

Sooo… someone thought that people that are in jail for breaking the law would follow this rule? Genius!

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