Stiftung Freiräume


The judicial point of view

1. The judicial point of view
2. The point of view of the specialists
3. The point of view of the detainee
4. Der judikative (rechtliche) Blickwinkel
5. Der Blickwinkel der Spezialisten
6. Der Blickwinkel des Gefangenen
7. Fazit
8. Strafvollzug - eine widersinnige Institution
9. Angst ... als Akzeptanzbeschafferin

Prison is not a punishment, it is only the deprivation of liberty, the jurists say. Difficult to be more hypocrite than this! It is as saying to my daughter:
Since you have not been nice, you will be deprived of your dessert, but take care: it is no punishment, it is only the deprivation of the dessert. Personally, besides torture, I can‘t see what can be more terrible to give as punishment to a human being. Moreover, to say that prison is a deprivation of liberty, is extremely reducing.
First, in a capitalist and repressive society freedom is something very relative. My dictionnary gives the following definition of freedom: „the capacity to act without compulsion“.
When you earn 40.000 frank a month, you have the freedom to spend 40.000 and not one frank more. If you‘re unemployed with 25.000 frank a month, your „freedom“ is totally bridled by these 25.000 frank. In a society where you need money for everything: to eat, to drink, to dress, to be housed, to amuse yourself, ... even to piss cause the urinals are not free, money will always be a serious hindrance to your freedom. On the contrary, the rich has the most freedoms and is the least subjected to compulsions.
Gilbert Cesbron wrote: How can one be happy living alone in seven rooms while the neighbours live with seven in one room?
At the other side, you do not have the freedom to drive 130 km/h on a deserted highway, cause you‘ll get a fine. You even don‘t have the freedom to be distracted, if you forget to put money in the parking meter, you‘ll be fined too!
That‘s something that will not happen to me in prison! It is true that my body isn‘t that free, but my mind is.
For exemple, I have the freedom to watch t.v. at ten o´clock in the morning, while you who work do not have this freedom! The detainee does even have freedoms which you outside do not have. It is thus not freedom that one has been deprived of, but life! One is robbed of everything that makes life human and of all pleasures of life, in short: deprived of life! I think that the greatest pleasure of life is woman, sex, love, tenderness. This does not exist in prison. The second pleasure of life, that‘s probably gastronomy. Well, in prison you eat shit. Wine and beer do not exist. One doesn‘t get something to drink at lunch. In some prisons there is no toilet in the cell - there is only a stinking bucket - ; there isn‘t even a tap: one drinks stagnant water out of a jug, that also serves to do the dishes and to wash yourself. In the morning and in the evening you get some coffee, but it is undrinkable for me. To see a bird on a branch, or to admire a sunset, that does not exist in prison.
To notice a comrade on a terrace of a café and to go and take a pint with him, that does not exist. Human relations do not exist in prison. In Sint-Gilles, I stayed 24 hours on 24 in a dirty cell (detainees who have known the prisons in France, in the Netherlands, in Germany, told me that the holes there are more comfortable than the cells here).
I never went to the recreation: Being bored by turning around in circles for two hours, looking upon ten meter high walls topped with barbed wire, is worse than being bored in a cell zapping before the t.v. or playing some card. So sure, prison is a deprivation of life and not of liberties. One is even deprived of lifeplans. No question of planning a day at the sea, or a movie, or an evening with friends... Prison is to die by pieces, to be bored, to be bored again, always to be bored. Alone between four walls. Or with two in a cell, which is even worse. For some, prison is even to be deprived of all hope: if one comes out, then it is without anything: no house anymore, no furniture, no car, no money, no job, no woman. At the contrary, millions of debts (civil parties, costs of justice, fines...) and, except for the rare privileged, it will be with 21.000 francs a month, on social security till death. Who still dares to say that prison isn‘t but deprivation of liberty? A comrade once said: ‚prison, that is to be buried alife‘.

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