Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Unholy Alliance

Labour tries to play to the populist gallery by opposing the prisoner vote in Parliament. Tory Eurosceptics rebel against their Govt in the hope of provoking a crisis with European institutions.
Is anybody going to deal with the actual issues? And will prisoners be quiescent in the face of being treated with such crass contempt?


  1. My views on this topic are quite mixed as there is a part of me that believes that those who commit crime sacrifice their right to have a say in how society is run and therefore should be denied the vote. However in relation to the above comment, I do believe that prisoners should be treated with respect as should any human being.

  2. @anon 7:56pm. Thank you for taking the time and effort to add such a profound contribution to the debate around the nature of citizenship, democracy and human rights....

  3. Ben is right, when will this issue stop being a political football and get properly addressed?

    And Anon1, what motive will anyone have to move on and begin to play a useful role in society if they just continue to feel despised and excluded from it? There are many issues that prisoners may have much more knowledge of than the rest of us (as 'service users') and they should have a voice. In any case, Society itself is responsible for many of the root causes of crime and incarceration. When will we properly invest in preventative measures, in childhood and youth, rather than wasting lives and taxpayers money keeping damaged people locked up, for example!

    Prisoners are individuals, it may sound obvious but they have different backgrounds, have committed different crimes, for different reasons and in different circumstances. Let's stop lumping them all together as though 'prisoners' were one entity, this just makes it easier for certain elements to treat them all with contempt.

  4. I am accountable for what I say on this blog: my identity is open. If people want to be sheltered by anonymity I think they ought to be obliterated by it. Moderator?

  5. I agree with the comments, except of course the anonymous @7.56pm, his attempt to hijack the thread again should not overshadow the political playing to the gallery currently going on. When politicians start to listen to the views of prisoners, we may finally get some rationale into our prison system.

  6. @Anon January 26, 2011 7:56 PM.

    I could be wrong but from my recollection when you are found guilty of a crime and sentence is passed the punishment is meant to be **lose of liberty** and nothing else. Therefore there should be no other lose of any so called priviledge or right.

    That is it in a nutshell but prisons being what they are and their purpose, this is obviously far from the case.

  7. I agree wholeheartedly with Charles on this one. Anonymous at 7.56 is obviously a coward and is not prepared to give his name to his comment. Perhaps anonymous comments should be removed - especially the ones who add nothing to the debate. I know there are occasions when perhaps it is appropriate to remain anonymous but not for such inane juvenile comments as anonymous wrote. How sad for him/her.

    Every prisoner should be treated with respect as should everyone. If society wants prisoners to behave in an acceptable way on their release then they should be treated in an acceptable way.

  8. I am Anon @ January 26, 2011 7:56 PM

    Of 8 comments on this board, 4 are complaining about my one throw-away comment and I'm the one who hijacked the thread?

    What does a name give you? Is 'Mary' or 'Queenie' any more personally identifiable than 'Anonymous'? What does it matter if my name (Will Bungay as it happens) is attached to a comment? It makes me no more accountable - you going to come to my house for saying something you don't like? If no, then it makes no difference and if yes then the case for Anon is clear.

    Criminals forfeit my respect when they go out and make the world a worse place, so forgive me if my first comment wasn't exactly caring.

    As for the issue at hand - By definition, prisoners have demonstrated that they can't be trusted to operate as part of society. When they're locked up, it's not just their freedom taken away - it's the rest of civilisation that is saved from exposure to these people.

    Is it not reasonable to extend that same principle to the vote? I don't care who a murderer or paedophile thinks should be Prime Minister, just like I don't care that they'd like to go home, or on holiday.

    Live with the consequences of your own actions Ben.

  9. @ anon above, I am all for free speach, and many would agree with you, (and many don't).

    But Ben set this blog up to give others a glimps of what prison life is like, no more, no less, so the the original comments you made add nothing to the blog, (daily mail forums are probably a better bet for you.) I am an ex-con and i can tell you each case/crime is complex, and I rarely comment on cases, (amongst friends) because i wasn't there when xyz happend, so you get a one sided story, from the con themselves, or the papers, which often make everything out to be 10 times worse than it was.

    @Mary, the reason i post anon, is because, as an ex-con, you could google my name, and find out my case, and that is not relevent to this blog. Plus the police could see which sites i look at on my pc, and it is none of their business if i look at Bens Prison blog a few times a week. But i have never, nor would i be rude to anyone.

  10. @Will Indeed there are some people who make the world a worse place and end up in prison, then are some who just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and make the wrong decision.

    Your definition is really just two sides of the same coin and if loss of rights extend to lose of vote how about loss of hygiene facilities, loss of food etc?

    Why the focus on murderers and peados, what about all the many minor offences that end up in prison?

    What about political prisoners?

    Ban has obviously lived with the consequences of his actions, what consequences of your actions do you live with Will?

  11. Completely agree with giving prisoners the vote, its all part of treating prisoners with some decency. As fallable human beings which we all every single one of us on this planet are I find it slightly amusing that anon @ jan 28th 7.52am you say you have never, nor would be rude to anyone, I find that a bit of a joke because everyone trespasses whether intentionally or unintentionally, hence the prayer that is supposed to said daily about forgiveness of them. You seriously think you know that in future you won't be rude? How do you know that? What might not be being rude to you might be for someone else, in a society where so many take liberties against others, its very admirable to aspire to not being rude but unrealistic

  12. @anon above, My point is, i am not using my anon posting as a smokescreen for any slanging matches on here. Sometimes we have to agree to disagree. I am not here to be judge and jury on anyone. I was not brought up to be rude to people. I was just outlining why i wish to post anon postings. I don't want anyone knowing my business, nor do i have a facebook account, ditto. I just keep my business between my friends, and i know if the police were ever to arrest me again, they have no mud to sling. I can see it now, being in the dock, you have sympathy with a convicted murderer you have never met, as you pc tells us you visit Bens prison blog. We even found a xmas card from you in his papers.... Now the jury can conclude... hope you see where i am going with this....

  13. Definitely, there are anonymous's like yourself, and ones whose only intention is to disrupt and disrespect.

    Life as an ex - con must be extraordinarily difficult, the threat of being misjudged and unfairly treated is high, and so a degree of paranoia and irrationality is part of life after a long sentence.

    Although I am not saying you are necessarily like that, only that it is understandable because of the way the judicial system works here. I along with many others do understand that it is the system that is irrational and not its victims in the first instance.

    Although Ben is a convicted murderer, that is not the whole way he is nor should be defined, if association with him is to be used against anyone in a court of law, it ought to make a complete mockery of the law. He is way over tariff for one thing and has other abilities and attributes that make him a person many people can relate to


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