Thursday, March 16, 2006

Why stop there?

IOL is reporting today that a correctional services review is planning to curtail the privileges of prisoners convicted of rape and crimes against women and children. What i want to know is, why only them?

What is the point of giving prisoners any privileges at all? Why is it that someone who has proven themselves incapable of being a member of society should be granted any of the comforts afforded by that society?

As far as i'm concerned, there is no such thing as a 'human' right. There are only civil rights, the rights granted to you as a citizen of society, as a signatory of the social contract. You agree to co-operate with your fellow man, working towards the betterment of society as a whole by playing your part as a cog in the engine, and treating other citizens as you would treat yourself. In return, society affords you certain privileges, like life, food, shelter, self-determination and employment. You are not deserving of these just because you are human. Drop a human in the middle of the Amazon jungle, without his society, and see how far he gets shouting 'i have a right to live'.

Now, when you break that social contract, you should be removed from society and from the privileges it grants you. You have shown you cannot hold up your end of the bargain. As someone who has proven that they are incapable of being a citizen, you should not for example be allowed to vote. You should certainly not be allowed to have conjugal visits, earn money, buy cigarettes or eat anything other than a basic protein-vitamin paste that sustains your nutritive needs. You should be made to understand that society gives you certain things on tolerance of your co-operation, and without society, without your fellow man, they would not exist. You should be made to understand the consequences of your actions. And after a time, if you have shown willingness and understanding, you may be allowed back into society.

And if you transgress again, that is it - no second chances. You are removed from society permanently, and placed in prison for life. End of story. If you cannot learn from your first mistake, then you are unable to be rehabilitated. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.

But instead, we have health spas that are stricter than prisons. Hell, there are play-schools that are stricter than prisons. We have prisoners who can pay someone R50 to let them escape, or pay someone R10 to bring a juvenile prisoner to their cell for 'entertainment'. We have prisoners who vote on who should rule the country, prisoners who can get a pizza ordered for them, prisoners who commit the same crime they were jailed for, the moment they are paroled. We have prisoners who are released for the president's birthday, who vow that if released the first thing they will do is go and kill someone, and who make good on that promise. We have murder and rape a common occurence in prison. And nothing changes.

You say you will curtail the privileges of rapists, of child abusers and mistreaters of women. I say what makes women and children so special that crimes against them are somehow worse than murder? Don't wimp out now - remove all privileges, from all prisoners, for all crimes. They have shown that they cannot abide by society's rules, now show them what society would be like if everyone behaved like them.


Blogger totalwaste said...

i'm SO immigrating to your country when you get it started.

March 17, 2006 3:44 AM  
Blogger zenstar said...

2 words:
chemical castration!

not just for rapist either. remove all testosterone from all violent offenders and help solve overpopulation all in one easy step.
give them a year for appeals and what then give them the injections and a dress!

March 17, 2006 12:23 PM  
Blogger Wyrd said...


Societies rules are more important than human rights? This is a path that you really should not go down in. Society and its rules can be twisted and made to do harm, as happened many times in the past. Given that sometimes it seems 'obvious' to curtail human rights and that precendence should be given to the right of the majority it never is.

You can not make the argument that society should withdraw all of its privileges and then also human rights. Give someone a protein paste? When someone is in a prison that person is still a part of the soceity albeit in an incarcerated capacity. Society still has a very strong influence in that persons life so you can't compare that situation to the being in the middle of the Amazon. A prisoner is never removed from society, just interred in a different aspect thereof.

One of the biggest leaps humanity made in the last few hundred years is realizing that there are basic human rights and that it is not 'given' by society and therefore can not be taken away.

Our current penal system is very far from perfect but going all gulag on the prisoners is not an answer any sane society should even consider.

April 01, 2006 9:15 AM  
Blogger moonflake said...

again, there are no such things as intrinsic human rights. if i were to drop you in the middle of the sahara desert with nothing more than the clothes on your back, your wailing about the right to shelter, food and water would not help you one iota.

so called 'human' rights are really civil rights. without the existence of a society, they would not exist. it is the existence of society that grants us the luxury of assuming certain things like food and comfort are a 'right'.

you forget that at the heart of it, humans are just clever monkeys. monkeys in the wild don't have rights. they kill each other, they get eaten by predators, they starve. Those are the only rights you have, and the only things guaranteed to you for being human: at some point you have the right to die. Everything else is given to you by society.

April 10, 2006 10:43 AM  

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