Prison system fails; Hun makes excuses

Spock is damn right:

Justice system fails prisoner

Yesterday a prisoner was killed by a fellow inmate in a Victorian prison.

While there is little doubt that this particular prisoner was a very bad (very bad) person, a murder of a person while under the watch of the state is not something that should be taken lightly and it should never happen. “He had it coming” does not make it okay, it is not an excuse. As a society we decided long ago that capital punishment degrades us as a society and is not effective as a deterrent or punishment for crime.

Funnily enough, in the tens of thousands of words published on since his death (and check out Spock’s screengrabs in the link above), there is pretty much nothing on the real issue here – that the prison system failed to protect a person entrusted to its care. As Spock points out, it doesn’t matter what kind of a dastardly rotter someone is, we don’t have capital punishment in our system, and this man’s life was entrusted to people who appear to have utterly failed him. But where’s the concern over this total stuff-up that resulted in a man being killed? All I can see is this sort of repulsive gloating from the Hun, making excuses for the inexcusable.

ELSEWHERE: Dave Gaukroger questions whether the Hun’s “expose” yesterday directly led to the killing.

25 responses to “Prison system fails; Hun makes excuses

  1. Jeremy, normally I find myself in agreeance with you in such discussions but with this I am decidedly detached.

    I really just don’t care. Couldn’t give a shit. Over it.

    I think I have just reached saturation point with Carl, Roberta, the other one, Mick what his name, underbelly, yada, yada, yada. It’s almost become difficult to seperate reality from TV drama.

    I of course blame the media…

  2. I heard on the radio this morning someone speaking on behalf of the Vic police or prisons (can’t remember) saying wtte that it isn’t possible to watch over every prisoner all the time as if that is a perfectly adequate explanation for why a man was killed in state care.

    No follow up from the interviewer, no response from anyone else, and just like that, the system is absolved of any responsibility it may bear for the man’s death. Unbelievable!

  3. I have little interest in which particular prisoner it was – I haven’t followed the “gangland” thing closely at all – but I do have a concern about the responsibility of the prison system to look after its charges. The line from the Hun that it doesn’t really matter because they’re criminals is dangerous, disturbing nonsense.

  4. Unless you want to keep every nasty felon in solitary confinement all of the time there really is no way that you can guarantee their safety. Apparently he was killed by someone that he considered a friend and considered “safe” Prisoners have demonstrated time and time again just how inventive they can be in turning otherwise innocuous items into deadly weapons. But when a scumbag like Williams is killed It is very hard for most people to be concerned because crim on crim violence is just an environmental hazard that just can not be totally eliminated.

  5. “Apparently”? Source?

    It’s a prison. They should have control over it. And if a prisoner is high risk – like this one was – there should be options to keep him away from potential threats. It’s fairly obvious from his lawyer’s remarks that he was very concerned for his safety on the morning this happened.

  6. And it’s also interesting to contrast Williams with the death in custody of that aboriginal man who died in the back of a prison van.

    Is the Hun (and that Vic Police/prison person from radio) suggesting there are degrees of acceptability for those who die in state care? It’s ok so long as the death is that of a really, really bad criminal? How do they feel about juvenile offenders or mental health patients detained under the Mental Health Act?

  7. I heard it on ABC news Breakfast program this morning Jeremy. From what I can gather he was with two other prisoners including one who he asked to be god parent to his daughter and it was this chap who killed him.
    As i suggested in my previous comment if they are all kept in solitary then that is considered intolerably cruel punishment so just how can any system be perfect?
    You know its fine to suggest as you do that no prisoner should face death in custody but just how can you make it so?

  8. Splatterbottom

    It is a shame Williams was killed, at least before he had finished spilling his guts to the police. The question is whether the prison management could have done more than to have an officer 10 metres away. Probably not, unless you are going to deny all contact between prisoners.

    I would be asking questions about who leaked the information to the press, maybe some disgruntled cop under investigation from internal affairs, and whether the guard did all he could to prevent the attack.

  9. Wisdom Like Silence

    …Did SB just say something reasonable?

  10. Blast Tyrant

    Wisdom, SB has his moments.

    Confessions “And it’s also interesting to contrast Williams with the death in custody of that aboriginal man who died in the back of a prison van.”
    Did that receive much press at all?

  11. Splatterbottom

    That kind of comment doesn’t help either of our reputations, Wisdom!

  12. Did that receive much press at all?

    It did, yes, although not the wall to wall tabloid coverage of Carl Williams of course – Mr Ward’s life wasn’t the subject of a TV drama series. But there was a 4 Corners program about the circumstances surrounding his death, as well as talkback radio segments where one of the drivers gave ‘her side of the story’.

    The prevailing sentiment in the media appeared to be that Mr Ward didn’t deserve to die. I raise the issue here because like Williams, Mr Ward died technically while detained by the state, yet the WA government (and the privatised prison transportation company) copped plenty from the media for its negligence in Mr Ward’s death, but there is an eerie cheering over the death of Carl Williams. As I understand it the WA government recently offered compensation payment to the Ward family.

    Somehow I can’t see the Williams family getting the same treatment from Brumby government without the Hun and related News Ltd outlets bursting a blood vessel!

  13. baldrickjones

    Too much supervision and controls – inhumance imprisonment conditions. Too little – criticism flows forth. The general population doesn’t care about the conditions that prisoners serve their time under – thats just the way it is. Prison guards can be corrupted/threatened just like anyone else.

    But I only care about Carl Williams daughters in this case. He can rot 6 feet under for all I care – no qualms whatsoever about saying that. After all, he sent enough people there for less….

  14. The general population doesn’t care about the conditions that prisoners serve their time under – thats just the way it is.

    I see. So those serving out corrective sentences detained in state care should expect it is reasonable to fear for their lives (in addition to reforming their tendency towards criminal behaviour – which is why they are imprisoned in the first place btw), simply because the general population doesn’t care about them once they are out of sight?

    Silly me thinking we lived in a Post-Enlightenment civilised society free from 16th century barbarism.

  15. I wrote a comment on AdelaideNow asking whether News Limited were going to take responsibility for causing his death – surely even a dim reporter would put two and two together (hmm, wonder why the police were paying the school fees, couldn’t be because he was a prison snitch?) and realise this really isn’t something you should make front page news.

    Surprise, surprise, guess whose comment hasn’t been approved?

  16. Wisdom Like Silence

    Probably want to have a coffee and put your feet up waiting for that one Fi.

  17. “Silly me thinking we lived in a Post-Enlightenment civilised society free from 16th century barbarism.”

    Yeah, silly you.

    I’m not having a go tho, its a mistake we all make. I honestly dunno if humans will ever be free of barbarism.

    Its true that any death in custody is a failure of the state in its duty of care.

    Prisoner on prisoner violence tho, its a difficult thing to police without enormous changes. Especially given a prison culture that supposedly rejects snitching.

    Then you have corruption …

    Thats just how it is right now, so changing it will be hard, and even harder given there is a tacit acceptance of and support for violence and brutality in prison. People joke about prison rape ffs. And its accepted among people.

    And we know prison is a violent brutal place with some violent brutal people, but as a society we accept thats what happens in prison. Its part of the deterrent.

    And if you grew up in the western suburbs of anywhere odds are at some time you had a conversation with your mates about violence in gaol, maybe with people who spent time in there.

    There’s a good film actually – “Ghosts of the Civil Dead” – its probably the best and most accurate film about prison apparently. Its worth watching wrt this whole prison violence issue.

  18. And not that I give a shit but Carl Williams is a joke. AT least now he’s dead people might shut up about him. And he won’t be wasting good oxygen.

    BUT this morning I saw a major national newspaper gloating about him being dead. Cos he was bashed in prison. Its hard to give a shit about him or care that he was murdered enough to even care if the person who did it gets charged.

    Its even harder to reconcile a national newspaper gloating about a murder.

    Especially a murder in custody.

    Then god knows how many pages of crap about it. Newspapers deserve to die if thats what they print.

  19. I honestly dunno if humans will ever be free of barbarism.

    Thing is jules, we pretend we are better and more civilised. Especially when we compare our country with others.

    I’d be interested to know how many of those who are cheering his death and claiming that the violence and rapes is just how it is in prison complained about Indonesia’s jails wrt Schappelle Corby.

  20. Wisdom Like Silence

    This man who killed Carl Williams, I think he should be in prison. Where he wont be able to kill again.

  21. Confessions, I know we pretend we are civilised, but if we were really a civilised people then we wouldn’t need laws against rape or murder.

    Cos we wouldn’t do it.

    The real trouble with all this is that no one likes to think they are capable of being as brutal and nasty as a Borgia. Most people “know” deep down they are not capable of such banal and terrible brutality. Thats why time and time again normal people do terrible things.

    They don’t think about what would provoke them to do their worst, and about whether keeping self control in those situations is worth it, and if so how would you do it.

    Cos ultimately all evil belongs to the “Other”. Its not like any of us could be capable of beating a guy to death with a bike seat, under any circumstances ever. No way.

    Thats why criminals are “the other” and brutal people who should be brutalised by gaol.

    And Schlappelle Corby is “one of us*” (after all whats a few cones on a beach holiday,) and its the evil other brutalising her with their vicious barbaric prison system. Where she hasn’t been beaten to death.

    * Obviously thats the “us” that doesn’t include Muslim fathers who try to look after their children and get called “terrorist” by dumbfuck cameramen who, if anyone deserves to be raped in prison …

    Or female “ex” police commissioners who eat.

    Or non anglo gang rapists.

    Or blackfellas.

    Or people whose innocent relatives die as a indirect result of a police chase, then wonder about police chases.

    etc etc

    Thats the beauty of something as hard to actually define as not “us”.

    Anything we can project the worst of ourselves onto – its not us.

    Except of course it obviously is, and until we realise that we won’t even begin down the road to actual civilisation.

  22. Splatterbottom

    Jules, the left has its ‘others’ as well. It sees non-leftist ideas as a threat to its power and it demonises all who propagate those ideas. When the left are dissenting, dissent is the highest form of patriotism. When someone else holds up a sign protesting against taxes, that person is committing the crime of sedition.

    The left loves minorities and absolutely craves the opportunity to be able to take offence on their behalf. On the other hand it loathes ungrateful minorities and pours its scorn down on them. Sarah Palin is an anti-abortion woman and she is constantly vilified by the left, as is any supporter of the Tea Party movement.

    Although the left loves victims, a special place in hell is reserved for ungrateful victims such as a black person who joins the tea-party or supports a conservative cause. Surely you remember the racist jibes at Condoleezza ‘Aunt Jemima’ Rice and Colin ‘Uncle Tom’ Powell.

    People who dare disagree with the new left cognoscenti are abused as red-necks, racists, fascists or whatever term of abuse is flitting through their unicellular mind at that moment.

    What do you think is going on in the head of a psychologist who performs a study with a view to showing that conservatives are less intelligent than liberals? Surely their aim is to stereotype people they don’t like, to ‘otherise’ them.

    This list could go on for quite a while, but the point is that leftists have no moral superiority when it comes to this issue. They are full of vile hypocrisy like the rest of humanity. They just think they are better.

  23. I was talking about all of us SB.

    On the left, the right, the middle, the top, the bottom, the other side, the front, the back. Those other dimensions whose names we can’t pronounce.



    And me.

    And everyone else.

    I wasn’t just talking about the left or the right.

  24. Splatterbottom

    Sorry, jules, I didn’t pick up the even-handedness of your comment.

    Now that we are on the same page, we should consider why almost all humans have the urge to stereotype. In a sense stereotyping is a means of generalisation, and is not always negative.

    I think negative stereotyping arises out of fear. It is a defence mechanism that may have served tribal societies well, but is not helpful in the modern world. To minimise its negative effects we need to listen more, and understand more the motivations of other people.

    Of course, in some cases the fear may be justified, as in the case of jihadists. Even then we need to be careful to properly identify the danger, and not expand the category to include, say, muslims.

  25. jules: actually ‘the other’ is probably the most accurrate way of describing the hypocracy of the concern trolls in the tabloid media. Mr Ward was generally regarded by the MSM as not deserving of his fate, but there was a section particularly in wingnutsville who claimed it was his own fault for being arrested by the police. Of course, not being white meant he was ‘other’.

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