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Human Rights Prison keeping inmates “Like Caged Chooks”

By johnboy 11 November 2011 78

When you tell an outsider to Canberra a lot of things about how we run this Territory their jaw tends to start bouncing on the ground.

But one of the harder to believe things is that we decided it would be better for the welfare of our criminal classes to keep them all (male, female, high risk and low risk) in the one facility.

The ABC has a story today on how the official visitor thinks that is working out.

He says a lack of space at the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC) means some inmates who need to be separated from other groups are unable to attend programs and activities.

He says the situation in the crisis unit is particularly concerning.

“By law, they must have one hour of exercise so they’re allowed out of their cell. But guess what? They go into a corridor and walk up and down there,” he said.

“There is a tiny, very small area [outside] but it’s kind of meshed and it’s enclosed. I suppose it’s like caged chooks.”

We are, again, thrilled to know this is human rights compliant.

What’s Your opinion?


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Human Rights Prison keeping inmates “Like Caged Chooks”
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thumper109 3:07 pm 24 Nov 11

poetix said :

They are still people with rights, whatever they have done, and we lower ourselves as a society if we do not treat them with a certain degree of respect.

Respect, like trust, is earned, not given freely… I wish people would remember that.

bigfeet 11:14 am 24 Nov 11

poetix said :

They are still people with rights, whatever they have done, and we lower ourselves as a society if we do not treat them with a certain degree of respect.

I will begrudgingly admit that these criminals may be entitled to some limited rights, but not one of them deserves any degree of respect.

They should all be held in utter contempt for their own actions which caused them to be incarcerated.

poetix 10:25 am 24 Nov 11

whitelaughter said :

poetix said :

1. ‘Lies on stilts’ is not a philosophical concept; it is merely a colourful phrase.
2. A judge is an not an officer of the Crown. The division between State and Law is central to our judicial system.
3. The sword wielded by Justice (often double-edged) represents reason and justice, and has nothing to do with capital punishment.
4. The United States has the death penalty (in some areas) and also the highest rate of imprisonment in the developed world. Obviously the death penalty doesn’t stop crime, except by the one person executed.

You’re on zero for 4 here.
1. The phrase ‘lies on stilts’ is repeatedly used by philosopher to dismiss inherent rights; as their is no logical basis for inherent rights, philosophers rarely feel the need to go further.
2. There are three arms of government – the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. All are agencies of the crown. This is really, really basic civics!
3. ‘reason’? Hardly, Reason was a completely different goddess – Justice is Themis: and when she doesn’t hold a sword, it’s because she’s holding an axe.
4. No, the US doesn’t. 20 years on death row isn’t ‘the death penalty’. Most of those idiots live *longer* than they would if they’d never been convicted.
Also, your logic is flawed (again). More people die in hospitals than anywhere else – does that mean medicine doesn’t save lives? Of course not. The more crimes there are, the more people clamour for the death penalty, so the harder it is for tyrants to revoke it.
Also, *stuff* deterrent. If you execute criminals, you don’t *need* a deterrent, because they are gone for good.

Here are some minor corrections for the final time:
Re 1. Good to see you trying to define the phrase ‘lies on stilts’, rather than just tossing it in as if it meant something on its own. Not all philosophers take your position. And pure philosophy needs to be translated into practicality, anyway. Inalienable rights are sometimes seen those rights that should never be able to be taken away, that should flow from the mere fact of being human. Doesn’t mean they can’t be. Unfortunately.
Re 2. You originally said a judge is an ‘officer’ of the Crown; ‘a Judge (protected as an officer of the crown)’. This is just wrong. The struggle for an independent judiciary is one of the great threads of English (and by extension Australian) history. You slide onto another matter to avoid what I actually said. Yes, the law is one of the branches of government and it often corrects the excesses of the Crown. Judges can do this because they do not face arbitrary interference from the Executive or from Parliament.
Re 3. Reason is not the name I gave to the figure. Read what I wrote; ‘The sword wielded by Justice (often double-edged) represents reason and justice, and has nothing to do with capital punishment.’ Justice, often traced back to Justicia, also represents the neutral application of reason. She wears a blindfold to show she will apply reason to all equally, and holds a sword to show she will apply the outcome of her deliberations evenly. Though you probably think that the blindfold represents a method of killing people by strangulation, just as the sword represents another means of killing to you.
Re 4. Saying the US doesn’t have the death penalty is hilarious. That’s why where the prisoners are waiting is called Death Row. And the US does have a high level of incarceration. How you can jump from putting people down to the workings of hospitals is beyond me.

‘The more crimes there are, the more people clamour for the death penalty, so the harder it is for tyrants to revoke it.’ Sorry, but this is bizarre. Tyrants tend to be very fond of the death penalty. The only clamour I have heard in favour of it is coming from you.

I hate this sort of indulgent, ongoing correction of corrections, and I am not usually one to engage, but this is a stunning example of misreading what I actually wrote.

Getting back to the matter in hand, here in Canberra, I would say that all prisoners have the right to decent treatment and some exercise or intellectual stimulation. They are still people with rights, whatever they have done, and we lower ourselves as a society if we do not treat them with a certain degree of respect.

BimboGeek 8:40 am 24 Nov 11

That’s what is wrong with Canberra! Not enough criminal gang executions!

What were we talking about, again?

whitelaughter 12:57 am 24 Nov 11

poetix said :

1. ‘Lies on stilts’ is not a philosophical concept; it is merely a colourful phrase.
2. A judge is an not an officer of the Crown. The division between State and Law is central to our judicial system.
3. The sword wielded by Justice (often double-edged) represents reason and justice, and has nothing to do with capital punishment.
4. The United States has the death penalty (in some areas) and also the highest rate of imprisonment in the developed world. Obviously the death penalty doesn’t stop crime, except by the one person executed.

You’re on zero for 4 here.
1. The phrase ‘lies on stilts’ is repeatedly used by philosopher to dismiss inherent rights; as their is no logical basis for inherent rights, philosophers rarely feel the need to go further.
2. There are three arms of government – the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. All are agencies of the crown. This is really, really basic civics!
3. ‘reason’? Hardly, Reason was a completely different goddess – Justice is Themis: and when she doesn’t hold a sword, it’s because she’s holding an axe.
4. No, the US doesn’t. 20 years on death row isn’t ‘the death penalty’. Most of those idiots live *longer* than they would if they’d never been convicted.
Also, your logic is flawed (again). More people die in hospitals than anywhere else – does that mean medicine doesn’t save lives? Of course not. The more crimes there are, the more people clamour for the death penalty, so the harder it is for tyrants to revoke it.
Also, *stuff* deterrent. If you execute criminals, you don’t *need* a deterrent, because they are gone for good.

poetix 8:05 am 21 Nov 11

whitelaughter said :

@Wily_Bear – you have attempted to give a courteous and rational response, so I will try to do the same.
There is a term philosophers use for “inalienable rights”: Lies on Stilts. You express confusion at my rejection of them – quite correctly.
Because if they *were* inalienable, I would not be capable of doing so! I would instinctively accept them.
As I do not – as the majority of humans do not, and never have – we have a simple, logical disproof of them being inherent.
So we go to your 2nd position – ‘rights’ are in fact privileges with conditions attached: the Social Contract. If you attempt to claim that rights are anything more than this runs smack into section 116 of the Australian Constitution – you are trying to enforce your beliefs on a Judge (protected as an officer of the crown).
Now your claim that stripping rights is not one of the sanctions available to the law is patently false. The right of liberty is stripped by imprisonment; the right of travel is stripped by removing passports; the right of property is removed (not just with fines, convicted drug dealers are expressly forbidden to possess large amounts of cash); the right to vote is stripped from anyone imprisoned for more than 3 years. Stripping rights is the basic punishment available to the law.
And throughout history, the death penalty has been the right of a national government. Why do you think the statue of justice outside every court carries a sword? Further, it is the definition of a nation – while local authorities possess Low Justice, a soveriegn nation possesses High Justice: the power to excercise the death penalty, to declare war, the power of live and death.
Which, interestingly, means that if a “nation” refuses to use the death penalty, while criminal gangs operating inside it do…then those gangs have a fair claim to consider themselves a higher authority that the civil courts! Not surprisingly, they *do* believe this, rendering law enforcement impractical in gang held territories.
Finally, I will point out the absurdity of basing rights on birth. This is just a return to a class system, albeit with everyone in the ruling class – and allows the obvious exploit of growing humans in vats (sci fi at the moment, but for how much longer?) and exploiting them as slaves/spare parts.

1. ‘Lies on stilts’ is not a philosophical concept; it is merely a colourful phrase.
2. A judge is an not an officer of the Crown. The division between State and Law is central to our judicial system.
3. The sword wielded by Justice (often double-edged) represents reason and justice, and has nothing to do with capital punishment.
4. The United States has the death penalty (in some areas) and also the highest rate of imprisonment in the developed world. Obviously the death penalty doesn’t stop crime, except by the one person executed.

whitelaughter 3:18 am 21 Nov 11

@Wily_Bear – you have attempted to give a courteous and rational response, so I will try to do the same.
There is a term philosophers use for “inalienable rights”: Lies on Stilts. You express confusion at my rejection of them – quite correctly.
Because if they *were* inalienable, I would not be capable of doing so! I would instinctively accept them.
As I do not – as the majority of humans do not, and never have – we have a simple, logical disproof of them being inherent.
So we go to your 2nd position – ‘rights’ are in fact privileges with conditions attached: the Social Contract. If you attempt to claim that rights are anything more than this runs smack into section 116 of the Australian Constitution – you are trying to enforce your beliefs on a Judge (protected as an officer of the crown).
Now your claim that stripping rights is not one of the sanctions available to the law is patently false. The right of liberty is stripped by imprisonment; the right of travel is stripped by removing passports; the right of property is removed (not just with fines, convicted drug dealers are expressly forbidden to possess large amounts of cash); the right to vote is stripped from anyone imprisoned for more than 3 years. Stripping rights is the basic punishment available to the law.
And throughout history, the death penalty has been the right of a national government. Why do you think the statue of justice outside every court carries a sword? Further, it is the definition of a nation – while local authorities possess Low Justice, a soveriegn nation possesses High Justice: the power to excercise the death penalty, to declare war, the power of live and death.
Which, interestingly, means that if a “nation” refuses to use the death penalty, while criminal gangs operating inside it do…then those gangs have a fair claim to consider themselves a higher authority that the civil courts! Not surprisingly, they *do* believe this, rendering law enforcement impractical in gang held territories.
Finally, I will point out the absurdity of basing rights on birth. This is just a return to a class system, albeit with everyone in the ruling class – and allows the obvious exploit of growing humans in vats (sci fi at the moment, but for how much longer?) and exploiting them as slaves/spare parts.

Wily_Bear 11:24 pm 20 Nov 11

Whitelaughter #65, your frustration and anger at the injustices suffered by victims of crime is understandable, we should all share such outrage. What mystifies me however, is the outrage directed at those who would protect human rights. I’d have thought it would be comforting to know they are inalienable. I also thought Lookoutsmithers gave an explanation that would make the concept clear to even the most vocal doubter. Obviously, I was mistaken.
It is at once the eloquence AND the sting in the tail that human rights are due us all by virtue of our birth and shared humanity, even in spite of inhumanity. It follows that we are all entitled to them, or none at all. For those who would violate my rights, there exist a range of sanctions at law, yet stripping rights is not one of them. When we start making exceptions, they cease to become rights, instead becoming privileges with conditions attached. You don’t need to like it, but please try to understand it

Lookout Smithers 10:30 pm 20 Nov 11

cleo said :

Lookout Smithers # 45

OMG! What planet are you on, or what are you on is the question. Maybe it’s something you have read.
I find you to be a condescending, insulting little twit, who has no life experiences.

Well I can’t help how you find me, obviously I am not about trying to insult or condescend anyone personally. What I am on? I would happily tell you if it was relevant. I live on the same planet. In canberra at one period in time. In fact all my significant life experience I got from living there. I have been on both sides of it mate, crown witness, complainant. And much more. I have seen enough that nothing at all surprises me anymore. Honest. But I still use reason when it comes to an idea and if I don’t understand it, I go find out. If you care so much about revenge style justice, prove it to us. I actually just think that what you said is about the best you have got. (no offense obviously)

Lookout Smithers 10:19 pm 20 Nov 11

Mr Gillespie said :

Lookout Smithers said :

cleo said :

Boo f..king hoo, who gives a sh.t about their rights, they took away other peoples rights, as for human rights, (he do gooders), what about the rights of the victims?
Suck it up Princesses.

Human rights are for everyone living in the modern civilized world.. Just because humans do awful things to each other doesn’t provide a basis for forfeiting their human rights? Does it? Freedom, maybe, credibility, reputation, quality of life? Sure. But generally humans are meant to have human rights so as a level of commonality is always present between us all. Or so I think. It does come from old philosophies I guess but human rights are a given to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being. Crime is not part of it. That is a separate issue altogether. As humans, we have standards, even standards of punishment. During the holocaust a large number of people were denied human rights a decade before, not all of them would have been angels, they got far less in the end too. Do gooders is a lazy term, my dad says it all the time when he refuses to try understand something new to him. When you understand something fully, you become indifferent and only reason is left. That is presumably where human rights evolved.

Nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah NOT for those that have forfeited the rights TOTALLY, ie. cold-blooded murderers that are beyond redemption and there is no point rehabilitating them. Dangerous dogs are put to death, I don’t see why the same doesn’t apply to dangerous human beings.

Well if you like those ideas so much, go take residence in saudi arabia, the least democratic country in the world. Or go live under sharia law in the middle east. I hear it is so harmonious they would not dream of leaving, even by boat. Human rights are for humans? Get it? Crime or criminality has nothing to do with it whatsoever. If you want to value judge others in that way, become a judge or public advocate? As for the comparison to dangerous dogs? I don’t know what to say there. *woof*

Violet68 2:04 pm 20 Nov 11

whitelaughter said :

Lookout Smithers said :

Human rights are for everyone living in the modern civilized world.. .

Except, of course, for victims.

The name Megan Mulquiney ring a bell? No? Lovely lass, I went to school with her. What happened? One of your ruddy criminals, Paul Vincent Phillips, rapes and murders a girl every few years, gets a slap on the wrist from the courts, spends a few months/years in gaol, gets out and rapes and murders another girl. The cops can prove that he was within a block of Megan when she disappeared, but couldn’t make it stick – so Phillips rapes/murders [b]another[/b] girl and goes to gaol for her death!
Why does this happen? Because accessories to murder [i]like you[/i] removed the death penalty. You’re not pro-human rights, you’re pro rapes and murders. And no matter how much you lie to yourself, what you are doing is clear to everyone else.

Noone has the right to take a life and nobody on this thread has said that. On the flip side, supporting the death penalty could also be perceived as being an “accessory to murder” especially if some other person on the “same block” as Megan copped the blame + the green mile, only to leave Mr Phillips? free to strike again.

Violet68 1:55 pm 20 Nov 11

The current alternative is obvious. We do have a MHU. If a person with a MI needs to be off the streets for their own safety or the safety of others then they should NOT be turned away from the MHU or discharged from the MHU until they are stable and well (eg. sent home on a bus off their heads on meds with a few more boxes of meds to tide them over till they get it together to get a prescription filled). They are supposed to be admitted if they are a risk to themselves, others or their reputation to prevent things escalating to the point where they do something that gets them in trouble with the public or police and subsequently entangled with the legal system. If for some reason, they really MUST go to jail to be punished for their sins, then at the very least, they should be stablised prior to prison entry and kept away from mainstream prisoners (as they can be extremely vulnerable and easily manipulated). An episode usually abates once treated and a long term secure MHU may not be required in every case. (Please do not tell me this is already happening within the system because in my recent experience that would be absolute BS). Even though the current MHU is not the best place to recover, it is still a more therapeutic environment than the jail! To me, this is the only sensible option currently available.

As I’ve said before there are many alternatives, like reducing stigma and encouraging tolerance so the public doesn’t get it’s knickers in a knot if someone is unwell. Like it or not, we have to live with a diverse range of people and this includes people with MI. We can’t just “lock away” the ones we don’t like (although I’d love to see that done as a social experiment. I have a few ppl in mind).

Henry82 1:10 pm 20 Nov 11

can people learn to trim comments? this place is starting to look like 90s hotmail. Or perhaps it’s just a subtle riot-act intelligence test.

whitelaughter 12:48 pm 20 Nov 11

Lookout Smithers said :

Human rights are for everyone living in the modern civilized world.. .

Except, of course, for victims.

The name Megan Mulquiney ring a bell? No? Lovely lass, I went to school with her. What happened? One of your ruddy criminals, Paul Vincent Phillips, rapes and murders a girl every few years, gets a slap on the wrist from the courts, spends a few months/years in gaol, gets out and rapes and murders another girl. The cops can prove that he was within a block of Megan when she disappeared, but couldn’t make it stick – so Phillips rapes/murders [b]another[/b] girl and goes to gaol for her death!
Why does this happen? Because accessories to murder [i]like you[/i] removed the death penalty. You’re not pro-human rights, you’re pro rapes and murders. And no matter how much you lie to yourself, what you are doing is clear to everyone else.

Tooks 12:19 pm 20 Nov 11

Violet68 said :

Tooks said :

Violet68 said :

Tooks said :

Violet68 said :

Henry82 said :

dvaey said :

What about victimless crimes?

you have to work pretty hard to get into jail for a victimless crime. Perhaps you could point me towards a few people who are currently serving time in an Australian Gaol for committing only victimless crimes?

Inconveniently having a psychosis and pissing off your neighbours, growing marijuana for personal use, forgetting to go to appointments………

Don’t forgot continually breaching bail conditions…

Errr……that would be the forgetting appointments bit combined with the psychosis bit. Quite common to lose track of day and time and behave erratically when youre psychotic. Anyway, I thought we were discussing “victimless crimes”. Obviously you want to keep blaming but weren’t privy to the last court appearance or you would know someone was incarcerated because “experts” said the problem was drugs…….3.5 drug free months later they were proven wrong. I can’t stand knowalls who actually don’t know it all

What on earth are you talking about? I was talking in general terms, what Court case are you on about? You are in your own little world, aren’t you? Don’t assume I’m referring to your family member on every single comment.

What on earth were you talking about when you said breaching bail conditions was a victimless crime then? In general terms, a breach of bail could have included a crime where someone was hurt or had their property stolen. I was obviously giving an example relating to my recent experiences and not speaking in “general terms”. I also didn’t outrightly refer to my “family member” but you did………

You’re full of excuses for why people end up in jail, but you seem to have few answers. Like it or not, some mentally ill people need to be away from the community. With no long term secure psych unit, where would you have them stay?

Not in a fkn jail!

I can’t stand knowalls who actually don’t know it all

You’d better look in a mirror then.

I do every day. I don’t pretend to know all the answers unlike some who vehemently believe locking people up IS the answer.

Sometimes it IS the answer. You didn’t name any alternatives. If a person needs to be off the streets for his own safety (or the safety of others) and that person has been charged with an offence, what current alternatives are in place? The answer is none. Is it ideal? No. Jail is not the best place for these people, but sometimes it is the only sensible option.

Violet68 11:51 am 20 Nov 11

TheDancingDjinn said :

merlin bodega said :

This from the same monkeys who have designed the mental health facilities in Canberra.

Why oh why am I not surprised?

I have read quite a few posts, where people are bashing on the mental health facilities here.
Have any of you ever been in one of these places – or are you taking the words of an angry mental health patient?
I have been in these places, i had serious depression as a young teen and tried to hurt myself, and also again while in my early 20’s. After a crime was committed against me, i was diagnosed with PTSD and have been a client of Mental health for a long time. They have supported me, held me as i cried, took me to places i needed to go and held my hand when i had to go into the facilites. Mentally ill people get angry when they are in there.. it’s not nice and they don’t like it, but don’t think that the people there and in the Mental Health department are bad or not doing their jobs, it’s hard work doing their jobs, it is unsafe, it is draining, and it is heartbreaking. Shame on you for thinking just because they don’t let your mentally ill family member or friend do what ever they want, that they are the bad guys!

Yes I have been in one of these places, well four actually. No they are not nice. I’m glad you have had a positive experience with mental health. This would generally mean that you have some insight into your illness and are compliant. Not everyone is the same as you. As for your last sentence, they often do let mentally ill people “do whatever they want” and that leads on to things like people existing without ever leaving their homes or even losing their homes and becoming chronically homeless, poor nutrition, poor quality of life, substance use and abuse, disorganised and chaotic lifestyles, possible Police and legal intervention and even death.

Tooks 11:47 am 20 Nov 11

TheDancingDjinn said :

Tooks said :

dvaey said :

cleo said :

Boo f..king hoo, who gives a sh.t about their rights, they took away other peoples rights, as for human rights, (he do gooders), what about the rights of the victims?
Suck it up Princesses.

What about victimless crimes? Not everyone in jail is there for assault, murder, etc.. Not to mention, many inmates are remanded there (ie. they havent had their day in court yet). A mate of mine spent a month in remand for assault, before being released after the witness admitted she made a false report. Do you believe he should have had his rights taken away? You seem to have such a black and white impression of the justice system.

Victim in a domestic violence assault withdraws her statement and does her best to get the case dropped. Wow, never heard that happening before. I guarantee if he was kept in custody for a month, then it wasn’t a slap on the bum he was charged with and that he wasn’t a first offender.

Domestic Violence here has now changed it’s rules.. If the police suspect that a woman is being domestically abused by her partner (or vice versa) or that a brother is hurting another (adults i mean) the police lay the charges, the victim has no say. They changed it so victims couldn’t change their minds and say ” oh no no its ok i fell” if the police believe you hurt someone you live with, then they will charge you. Seen it happen, and was told recently by a lovely blue uniformed officer when they had to remove my drug f*cked brother from my home.

There has been no recent change of rules/law regarding domestic violence. DPP will still drop cases on occasions if the victim is uncooperative and there is insufficient corrobarative evidence to proceed.

Violet68 11:42 am 20 Nov 11

Tooks said :

Violet68 said :

Tooks said :

Violet68 said :

Henry82 said :

dvaey said :

What about victimless crimes?

you have to work pretty hard to get into jail for a victimless crime. Perhaps you could point me towards a few people who are currently serving time in an Australian Gaol for committing only victimless crimes?

Inconveniently having a psychosis and pissing off your neighbours, growing marijuana for personal use, forgetting to go to appointments………

Don’t forgot continually breaching bail conditions…

Errr……that would be the forgetting appointments bit combined with the psychosis bit. Quite common to lose track of day and time and behave erratically when youre psychotic. Anyway, I thought we were discussing “victimless crimes”. Obviously you want to keep blaming but weren’t privy to the last court appearance or you would know someone was incarcerated because “experts” said the problem was drugs…….3.5 drug free months later they were proven wrong. I can’t stand knowalls who actually don’t know it all

What on earth are you talking about? I was talking in general terms, what Court case are you on about? You are in your own little world, aren’t you? Don’t assume I’m referring to your family member on every single comment.

What on earth were you talking about when you said breaching bail conditions was a victimless crime then? In general terms, a breach of bail could have included a crime where someone was hurt or had their property stolen. I was obviously giving an example relating to my recent experiences and not speaking in “general terms”. I also didn’t outrightly refer to my “family member” but you did………

You’re full of excuses for why people end up in jail, but you seem to have few answers. Like it or not, some mentally ill people need to be away from the community. With no long term secure psych unit, where would you have them stay?

Not in a fkn jail!

I can’t stand knowalls who actually don’t know it all

You’d better look in a mirror then.

I do every day. I don’t pretend to know all the answers unlike some who vehemently believe locking people up IS the answer.

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