Saturday, 5 February 2011

In which I agree with Kenneth Clarke

Prison clearly makes many prisoners tougher and viler, as Kenneth Clarke discussed with the Guardian last year.

And here’s the proof that he was right.

A rapist who deliberately targeted white women has complained that prisoners are being 'horribly treated' by having PlayStations and DVD players confiscated.
Illegal immigrant Amos Moobeng, who was jailed for nine years in 2009 after being found guilty of raping a teenager he had lured her back to his flat in Exeter, said he was 'horrified' at the recent crackdown.

Of course, not all illegal immigrants are criminals.
Well, of course, all illegal immigrants break the law just by getting here, but many are here just because their home countries can’t or won’t feed, house, clothe, educate and employ them properly, or to claim benefits, or to steal property, or just simply to displace British people from the workplace.
The rapist proportion of the illegal immigrant community is probably some fantastically low, statistically insignificant figure not worth researching into.
Or alluding to.

You have to sympathise a bit with someone forced by poverty, oppression, colonialism and white power to leave behind his Right-wing theocratic capitalist hell-hole to come to try to build a decent life in Britain’s racist Gehenna, and wonder what kind of corrupt, fascist regime he was fleeing, because no-one ever leaves a free and enlightened paradise.

Black South African Moobeng,..


… now 37, said bosses at the 646 prisoner-capacity HMP Dartmoor in Devon were 'bullying' convicts by removing privileges.
He said: 'There is something rather alarming going on here at HMP Dartmoor.

Oddly, he doesn’t mention at any time in his letter a rather alarming something that happened earlier at some distance away from Dartmoor Prison in Exeter in August 2007 to some girl or other.

 I will call it Operation Dis-enhancement - a massive and ruthless campaign to take away every prisoners enhanced status and make us all standard or basic. 
'Whether this is a cost-cutting exercise or simply because the screws cannot stomach seeing us with DVDs, PlayStations, and wearing our own clothes - now banned on visits, incidentally - is something only they know.'

Is it just me, or do I detect just a leetle touch of Massive Entitlement Syndrome here?

Nah: it’s just me.

Prisoners on 'enhanced' status - handed out by the Incentives and Earned Privilege Scheme (IEP) - get access to certain items they own such as PlayStations and DVDs in their cells.
The rapist, in a letter published in prisoner's magazine Inside Time this week, added: 'It all started one afternoon when we returned from work and found a slip tucked under every door instructing us to appear before the governor and explain why we should not lose our Enhanced status. 
'The onus of proof used to be on staff as to why they would downgrade a prisoner from Enhanced to Standard or Basic, but now it is up to us to prove why we should remain on Enhanced.
Moobeng advised prisoners thinking of transferring to HMP Dartmoor not to in light of the rule changes

No, maybe it is just him after all.
He seems to think that somehow by dint of his not rioting or starting fights or spitting at Prison Officers then privileges should be given to him as standard – perhaps only to be taken away for serious crimes, however he defines serious crimes.
I would have thought racism was a serious crime, wouldn’t you? Surely to God, even thinking racialist thoughts is a crime?

Oh, and let’s read that : Moobeng advised prisoners thinking of transferring to HMP Dartmoor not to in light of the rule changes quote again.
Please tell me this was just poorly phrased and not referring to an actual choice of destinations?

In his letter, Moobeng advised prisoners thinking of transferring to HMP Dartmoor not to in light of the rule changes.
'On the day of the "Enhancement Review Meeting" the governor started by asking us what we were convicted of, how long we were serving and whether we pleaded guilty or not. 
'I'm still wondering since when has our offence or our plea at court got anything to do with being Enhanced?
'Or was it just a ploy to embarrass those prisoners on the Vulnerable Prisoners Unit? 

No, he actually seems to mean it.

He’s clearly appealing to a sense of natural justice here, the principle being, I’m, sure: that whatever happened on the outside; however much he might have tried to drag the victim and her family through extra time waiting for a verdict instead of confessing and copping a plea; however much cost of police and court time (and the hurt to other innocents by uninvestigated criminals whilst several of Britain’s scarce police officers cooled their heels in court during a prolonged defence), it’s just not fair to refer to such trivia when the authorities are considering handing out the Playstations.

I agree.
Such matters should not be taken into account when offering privileges to violent criminals: after all, what relevance can mere legalistic details have to the automatic right to decent treatment as they pay their debt to society? Justice should be blind as well as colour blind, of course.

Back to Ken in the Guardian.

The justice secretary said: "The consequence is that more and more offenders have been warehoused in outdated facilities and we spend vast amounts of public money on prison. But no proper thought has been given to whether this is really the best and most effective way of protecting the public against crime."
Clarke pointed out that prison is the necessary punishment for many offenders, but questioned whether "ever more prison for ever more offenders" always produces better results for the public.
He provided his own answer by observing that the record prison population and the crime rate in England and Wales are now among the highest in western Europe.
He said that just locking people up without actively seeking to change them is "what you would expect of Victorian England" and notes that reoffending rates among the 60,000 prisoners given short sentences has reached 60% and rising

The whole Playstations, DVDs, Enhanced status thing is how the prison authorities are actively seeking to change them.

Does anyone out there actually  think that it’s working in Mr Moobeng’s case? Is Grand Theft Auto or Resident Evil the way to go here?
And even if they’re only letting him see The Brady Bunch and The Last Mimsy, here’s one vulnerable prisoner who doesn’t seem to get the idea that hurting people should have nasty and long-term consequences for the hurter as well as the hurtee.

On the other hand, there are two tiny culture war wins:

# Moobeng was ordered to be deported from the UK when his sentence is up.


# The BBC actually publishes the unspeakable, though I can’t imagine why it’s still up there for all the world to read (if you can find it):

Black rapist targeted white women.

Now, please don’t get me wrong here.
I do not think that all or most black people are rapists or that all or most rapists are black; that would be a fatuous and racist thing to say or imply.
No irony or sarcasm on my part here for once.
I’m sure that the overwhelming majority of ordinary, moderate rapists in the community ruin the lives of women and girls without discriminating according to race, class, disability, gender orientation, faith affiliation or any other ideological stance, and that’s fine and dandy and the way it ought to be in our rich, diverse country.

(As an aside, hurting women and girls in a discriminatory, ideological way looks a little bit like this.
….Just please don’t scroll down the page very far anytime near a planned meal or any attempt to get to sleep anytime soon.)

It’s just that I’m a little bit wary of an enlightened prison reform programme that follows Mr. Clarke’s wise words about seeking to change convicts that manages not to reform such a minor part of Mr. Moonbeng’s worldview regarding him essentially deserving to have nice things for simply not rioting.  

Back to Our Hero in Dartmoor:

He added: 'People have worked hard to earn Enhanced status and spent years in different institutions on Enhanced level only to lose it when they arrive here at Dartmoor.

Oh and, er, this:

Exeter Crown Court heard in January 2009 how Moobeng targeted the woman and her friend in a hotel bar in Devon because 'they were white' in August 2007.
Sentencing him to nine years in jail after he was found guilty of rape and false imprisonment and assault, Judge Jeremy Griggs told him: "That evening you deliberately targeted two white females because they were white.
'You dragged the other girl into the house and locked the doors so she could not escape.
'You dragged her upstairs by the wrists, causing her significant injuries, before subjecting her to a short but violent rape.

Whatever, right?


JuliaM said...

"Nah: it’s just me."

Au contraire! A massive sense of entitlement is the core of most prisoners, is it not?

They are ENTITLED to take your money/jewellery/daughter if they want to. And what's to stop them?

Mark Wadsworth said...

The BBC headline is unchanged as of now (21.30 on 6 February) but the question is for how long?


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