Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Punishment and sackings

DPF points out another obvious flaw in Goff's proposal - it would establish some very bad incentives:

It would almost be encouraging prison guards to beat up prisoners, so that damages would be paid to the original victim.

He also points out that prison officers need some way of punishing misbehaviour within the prison and protecting themselves from violent inmates. But they can already do this under the present law - and such protection is a long, long way from making people live in their own filth under constant lighting with no wristwatches, clocks, or calendars. "Psychological torture" is a strong phrase, but there is a certain similarity between the Behavior Management Regime and disorientation techniques used to break people's will and soften them up for interrogation.

As for sackings, I've been curious about that myself. Surely running a prison that violates basic human rights standards and losing your employer half a million dollars seem to be good reasons for heads to roll? Unfortunately, the communications unit at Corrections has been singularly unhelpful, and so my Official Information Act request will be in the mail.