Friday, October 26, 2007

Do we really want "child-friendly" prison visits?

I expect this will not necessarily work in the minds of some people, but yestedray Mark Oaten asked a question about something that seems nonsensical to me and exactly the opposite of what you want to do. He asked the Ministry of Justice "how many prisons in England and Wales participate in child-friendly visit schemes."

Now surely the last thing you want for an impressionable young mind is to make a visit to a prison be "friendly"? If someone takes a child along to see Daddy (or Mummy) do you really want them coming away thinking "well that was a nice place"? Surely you want them to come away thinking "I never want to go there"? So actually, they should be pretty "child-unfriendly" really?

10 comments:

The Ludingtonian said...

Well, yes and no.

When I was growing up in a smallish city in the US, my mum was practice manager for a firm of lawyers. Through her work she knew the prosecutor, the staff at the county courthouse, most of the city police dept. and the officers at the county sheriff's office.

When I was about twelve or so she took my brother and me to the sheriff's department. We were given a tour and shown the routine. We got fingerprinted and locked in a cell. We got to keep the fingerprint cards. We took them along to school for show-and-tell. And the spell in the cell was all of two minutes. We thought the whole thing was pretty cool. But at the same time there was never a return visit, on an official basis, for either my brother or me...

verity said...

The Ludingtonian - and your experience of a pretend visit to a completely unthreatening local jail, with your mother and all the employees and officers smiling at you and giving you a fingerprint card as a memento is relevant how?

Having a father or mother banged up for criminal offences is not something children focus on for show and tell.

I don't think children should be allowed in prisons for visiting at all. If the arsehole wants to see his children - and frankly, given the number of "fathers" who pass through these children's lives, they don't know which one is theirs anyway - he can do it the relaxed way, by not committing crimes and being banged up.

We all know that Mark Oaten has a very strange sense of the real world and his opinions about anything don't merit consideration.

Perhaps he came up with this moronic notion because he looked in the mirror and realised he was losing his hair.

The Ludingtonian said...

Verity -

You have quite a track record of missing the intended tone of others' comments. I shouldn't be surprised you missed this one too.

What I haven't worked out, however, is whether you are really unable to differentiate between serious and non-serious comments or are you deliberately obtuse in order to give yourself a platform for your moralising.

wonderfulforhisage said...

Verity -

You have quite a track record of missing the intended tone of others' comments.

[Says whom?]

I shouldn't be surprised you missed this one too.

[Apply to self?]

What I haven't worked out, however, is whether you are really unable to differentiate between serious and non-serious comments or are you deliberately obtuse in order to give yourself a platform for your moralising.

[Apply to self?]

All seemed pretty clear to me. Mind you I've had 'just the one'.

In vino Veritasy.

[Say I]

verity said...

I confess I don't always get the clunking clog of some people's humour.

The only "moralising" I do is highly recommending that governments bugger off out of people's lives.

Diablo said...

Yeah for Verity - but you can be a bit cutting with people who use their personal experience to make a point (however small) about a particular issue - as you have done to me on many occasions. (I'm not bitter!)

Go with the thread and be a little less patronising (even to the trolls and morons) and you would be an even more endearing old lady than you are now.

Can't wait for your reply - NOT!

Curly said...

Dizzy...errr... yes and no.

Prisons should be child friendly to the point of maintaining a link between father and children, after all strong families are much sought after!

Prisons should not be seen as welcoming and friendly to children in case they get the mistaken idea that they are an "O.K." place to live for free!

polly glott said...

Aha!! Has Oaten had a premonition of what lies in store for him?

Anonymous said...

There is an emphasis on strong family ties in the Prison system. The Family Man programme was designed to make an inmate think about the consequences of his crimes on his own family. However I believe there needs to be more emphasis on the impact of crime on the wider society.

Verity - What makes you think the child of a prisoner is likely to have many fathers passing through their lives?

cramerj said...

If prisons are not child friendly - how can you use them to smuggle drugs in?