Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Chemo and coffee

We have a man here suffering from terminal cancer, who spends untold hours in hospital being pumped full of horrendous chemicals.

He asked the governor if he could take a couple of quid of his own money on these chemo sessions so that he could buy a warm drink. The answer was a firm NO. There is no rule or regulation to cover these circumstances, leaving it to the governor to exercise his common sense and compassion.

Pity, there seems to be neither.


  1. What possible point could there be to compounding the suffering of another human being like that? Simply 'because he can'??

    I sincerely hope there's a particularly hot and gruesome level of hell reserved for that callous bastard.

  2. One can only hope that some kind screw takes pity on him and buys him a cuppa. Maybe there is one reading this blog? Wouldn't it be lovely if it was the same one who is assigned to take him to hospital? What are the chances?

  3. Unbelievable that any person could be so devoid of common sense or compassion.

  4. Ben, unrelated question to this post, but one I've been thinking about. Also a black and white question (maybe too much so for a man who lives in a world of grey).

    Is our prison system a sufficient deterrent to prevent re-offending? I recognise the misery of incarceration, but is it miserable enough to make an ex-con with urges to re-offend overcome those urges?

    Would we have to set aside our current limits of what we regard as moral (ignoring the fact you might think we have already exceeded those limits...)?

    Of course this question is formed on the assumption that there is a threshold which all men, except for the clinically insane, will not cross because of the consequences (to them).

    I'm not sure I fully accept your argument that a crime such as murder is a single moment of madness that is inevitable and unavoidable given the correct circumstances. That is not to say I disagree with it - I'm just not sure. Do you think deterrent plays a part? How great a part?

  5. Better still the poor guy should be allowed out to spead what time he has left with his family and die with dignity!! other are

  6. @ Benn

    Ben has answered some of your question in his post on detterence here:

    In brief, deterrents only work if people believe they will get caught and aren't too inebriated or desperate to care.

    I think Ben has covered all of this before, either here or in Inside Time, but I can't remember where so this is my own take on some of the issues not covered in that post:

    The conviction rate is well below 10%, or to put it another way; your chances of getting away with your crime are more than 90%. You can see why that might not put people off much.

    Making the sentence harsher doesn't help either: juries don't like convicting when they feel the punishment is disproportionate and so conviction rates actually go down.

  7. I second Wigarse. All the criminology studies have shown that the deterrence is in the risk of being caught. So low hanging fruit tends to be nicked all the time while bank jobs are rare. The problem for offenders is that other studies have shown that those of a criminal bent drastically underestimate their chances of being caught.

    The reason the middle classes are not criminal is that they over estimate their chances of being caught and they have more to lose if they get caught.

    Those criminals who are clever enough not to get caught tend to become Mr Bigs heading up crime families etc and are a major problem.

    So prison is little use as deterrent though you won't find a politician prepared to admit that as an election looms. Prison is for punishment, public safety and rehabilitation. Unfortunately the current overcrowding means the last two get ignored.

  8. I am incensed! How dare they be so cruel? Seems like a case for Amnesty, but are you able to give us his name?

  9. Thanks for that, Peter in Dundee. Very interesting, and makes entire sense.

    I'm baffled by this governor. Perhaps he'd like to post a response.

    There's a wonderful and very moving series of photos of terminally ill prisoners in the US here:

  10. 'There, but for the grace of God (or other god) go I' - you do not know what is round the corner - it may be this governor's turn next. How can anyone be so callous - even if the prisoner was not so seriously ill, surely he can have a cup of coffee/tea whilst receiving hospital treatment? I really hope the escorts and/or nursing staff are more humane to him. Of course, the 'system' will not realise what a dreadful effect this sort of thing has on others, eg prisoners or members of the public and on the rehabilitation of people. We should be treating prisoners decently if we want them to come out and treat others decently - or perhaps it doesn't matter about this man as he is terminal!!

  11. 'The middle classes are not criminal' Oh but some of them are!

  12. Perhaps, as Unlocked suggest, the distinction need to be made between criminals and prisoners? A rather sobering thought for those of us supposedly in the middle classes...

    Cannot see any possible point to this Governor's actions. Does he think the terminally ill guy is going to throw a cup of coffee in a nurse's face? This, and the shackling of female prisoners during labour in the States makes me thing the perceived risk is one of sympathising with the prisoner. Heaven knows what nefarious actions a woman at 10cm dilation could get up to if you started actually sympathising with her.

  13. crime has little to do with class, with the law of averages, if you do something, somewhere along the line, your likely to get caught.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.