Stiftung Freiräume

WHAT IS PRISON FOR?

The point of view of the specialists


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

Prisons are breeding grounds where one comes out more dangerous for the public security than at the time one entered it.(Philippe Toussaint, judicial reporter in Journal des Procès).
[...] imprisonment, paradoxally, is no means to fight crime, but contributes to its propragation (Georges Kellens, in Le Journal des Tribunaux nr.5888). The specialists, they have understood what the prison is for. But I‘d like to give one example, so that also the layman understands why one leaves prison ten times more dangerous for public safety then one has entered it.
A burglar told me his story, I change the details so one cannot recognize him: My girlfriend and me, we wanted to start a family, but we became both at the same time and brutally unemployed. I was persuaded by a friend who proposed to do a burglary with him. For some time I had a good life but i did exaggerate and was caught by the cops. My lawyer told me that I would get three years but I got five. He advised me to appeal. I got seven years! The money that I had put aside disappeared in the pockets of the lawyer. He told me I would only do two years and a half of the seven, but I am now in my fourth year in prison and parole is still not in sight. My girlfriend has left me for another guy since long. If I come out, it will be naked as a baby and it will not be me doing all kind of jobs for 35.000 francs a month for a boss who puts millions of profit in his pockets. So I‘ll have no other solution then to go stealing again. But this time I will be much more clever. The other burglars have passed all their tips on me. My accomplice was too afraid during the work, now I did find a good accomplice. I had a bad receiver, now I got the address of a good one. If I live in Brussels, I wil break in in Liège or vice versa. One will never again find stolen goods with me. It must be pretty clever cops who‘ll catch me again. When I did break into houses I was never armed, cause I wanted to risk some years for theft but not life for murder. Now it will be the contrary, I will always be armed when I break in. And when an owner surprises me, I‘ll simply shoot him down, as such he will not be there to denounce me.
There you have the effect caused by prison on a burglar who, said between you and me, would never in his life have broken in if he didn‘t become so suddenly unemployed at the moment he was arranging everything to start a family. And don‘t talk about remorse, about consciousness, about democracy or about respect for life to a detainee: these are notions that hardly exist in prison. In your f... society there is no „respect for life“ at all, cause respecting the life of a human being, that is not about respecting someone‘s biological existence, but it is about the quality of his life. A boss who has the right to make, with one stroke of the pen, 3.000 people unemployed and to rebuild his factory at the other side of the world where labor costs hundred times less then in Belgium, that boss has no respect at all for human life. A rich proprietor who has the right to call the police and bailiffs to expel a poor tenant who can no longer pay his rent, has no respect for human life. This being said, the „constitutional state“ is nothing else than the legalisation of the right of the strongest to kick the weakest. As long as there is no economical and social democracy, political democracy will remain a lie, M. Bakunin wrote. Have you understood now, reader, why one leaves prison ten times more „dangerous“ than before?

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