Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘PRISONERS

TORTURE and ABUSE , PRISONERS, and ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION of Palestinians in Israel occupied territories

FACTS & FIGURES –

PRISONERS

‘Israeli military justice authorities arbitrarily detained Palestinians who advocated non-violent protest against Israeli settlements and the route of the separation barrier.

In January,a military appeals court increased the prison sentence of Abdallah Abu Rahme, from the village of Bil’in, to 16 months in prison on charges of inciting violence and organizing illegal demonstrations, largely on the basis of coerced statements of children.’

  • According to the Israel Prison Service, there were about 4424 Palestinian prisoners and security detainees being held in Israeli prisons as of the end of April 2012. According to prisoners’ rights organization Addameer, there were 4653 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel as of May 1, 2012.
  • Since 1967, Israel has imprisoned upwards of 700,000 Palestinians from the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, or about 20% of the total population of the occupied territories.
  • Those who are charged are subjected to Israeli military courts that human rights organizations have criticized for failing to meet the minimum standards required for a fair trial.
  • According to Amnesty International’s 2011 Annual Report on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories: “Palestinians in the [occupied territories] subject to Israel’s military justice system continued to face a wide range of abuses of their right to a fair trial. They are routinely interrogated without a lawyer and, although they are civilians, are tried before military not ordinary courts.”
  • According to Human Rights Watch’s 2012 World Report:

– TORTURE & ABUSE –

  • Until 1999, the use of torture by Israeli military and security forces was both widespread and officially condoned under the euphemism of “moderate physical pressure.” Methods included beatings, forcing prisoners into painful physical positions for long periods of time, and sleep deprivation.
  • In 2000 it was revealed that between 1988 and 1992 Israel’s internal security force, the Shin Bet, had systematically tortured Palestinians during the first, mostly nonviolent, uprising against Israel’s occupation, using methods that went beyond what was allowable under government guidelines for “moderate physical pressure.”
  • These methods included violent shaking, tying prisoners into painful positions for long periods, subjecting them to extreme heat or cold, and severe beatings, including kicking. At least 10 Palestinians died and hundreds of others were maimed as a result.
  • In 1999, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the use of “moderate physical pressure” was illegal, however reports of torture and abuse of Palestinian prisoners continued unabated.
  • Amnesty International’s 2011 Annual Report on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories states:

    Consistent allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, including of children, were frequently reported. Among the most commonly cited methods were beatings, threats to the detainee or their family, sleep deprivation, and being subjected to painful stress positions for long periods. Confessions allegedly obtained under duress were accepted as evidence in Israeli military and civilian courts.

  • Other abusive practices employed by Israel against Palestinian prisoners include the use of solitary confinement, denial of family visits, and forcing prisoners to live in unsanitary living conditions.
  • The harsh conditions endured by Palestinians in Israeli prisons prompted a series of hunger strikes, including a mass hunger strike by more than 1500 prisoners in early 2012 leading to some concessions from Israel. The concessions reportedly included an end to the use of solitary confinement as a punitive measure and allowing family visits for prisoners from Gaza.

– ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION –

  • Israel uses a procedure known as administrative detention to imprison Palestinians without charge or trial for months or even years. Administrative detention orders are normally issued for six-month periods, which can be extended indefinitely.
  • Administrative detention was first instituted by the British during the Mandate era in 1945, prior to the creation of Israel.
  • There are currently as of May 29, 2012, approximately 308 Palestinians being held in administrative detention.
  • Since 1967, some 100,000 administrative detention orders have been issued by Israel.
  • Although there are none currently being held in administrative detention, Israeli authorities have in the past used the procedure against Palestinian children as well as adults.
  • Israel’s frequent use of administrative detention has been condemned by human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, as well as Israeli human rights groups like B’Tselem.
  • An end to the use of administrative detention was one of the main demands of a recent wave of hunger strikes by Palestinians in Israeli prisons.
  • In May 2012, Israeli Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch implicitly admitted that Israel uses administrative detention for reasons other than stated urgent “security” concerns, urging authorities to “use it only if there’s a need.”

From prison with love: Lessons in business? On how to modernize you mischievous mind?

B.J. was one of many fellow inmates who had big plans for the future. He had a vision.

When he got out, he was going to leave the dope game for good and fly straight, and he was actually working on merging his two passions into one vision. He’d spent 10,000 dollars to buy a website that exclusively featured women having sex on top of or inside of luxury sports cars. (Laughter)

It was my first week in federal prison, and I was learning quickly that it wasn’t what you see on TV.

In fact, it was teeming with smart, ambitious men whose business instincts were in many cases as sharp as those of the CEOs who had wined and dined me six months earlier when I was a rising star in the Missouri Senate.

Now, 95% of the guys that I was locked up with had been drug dealers on the outside, but when they talked about what they did, they talked about it in a different jargon, but the business concepts that they talked about weren’t unlike those that you’d learn in a first year MBA class at Wharton: promotional incentives, you never charge a first-time user, focus-grouping new product launches, territorial expansion.

But they didn’t spend a lot of time reliving the glory days.

For the most part, everyone was just trying to survive. It’s a lot harder than you might think.

Contrary to what most people think, people don’t pay, taxpayers don’t pay, for your life when you’re in prison.

You’ve got to pay for your own life. You’ve got to pay for your soap, your deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, all of it.

And it’s hard for a couple of reasons.

1. First, everything’s marked up 30 to 50 percent from what you’d pay on the street, and

2.you don’t make a lot of money. I unloaded trucks. That was my full-time job, unloading trucks at a food warehouse, for $5.25, not an hour, but per month.

So how do you survive? Well, you learn to hustle, all kinds of hustles.

There’s legal hustles.

1. You pay everything in stamps. Those are the currency.

2. You charge another inmate to clean his cell.

There’s sort of illegal hustles, like you run a barbershop out of your cell.

There’s pretty illegal hustles: You run a tattoo parlor out of your own cell.

And there’s very illegal hustles, which you smuggle in, you get smuggled in, drugs, pornography, cell phones…

 And just as in the outer world, there’s a risk-reward tradeoff, so the riskier the enterprise, the more profitable it can potentially be.

You want a cigarette in prison? Three to five dollars.

You want an old-fashioned cell phone that you flip open and is about as big as your head? Three hundred bucks.

You want a dirty magazine? Well, it can be as much as 1,000 dollars.

So as you can probably tell, one of the defining aspects of prison life is ingenuity.

Whether it was concocting delicious meals from stolen scraps from the warehouse, sculpting people’s hair with toenail clippers, or constructing weights from boulders in laundry bags tied on to tree limbs, prisoners learn how to make do with less, and many of them want to take this ingenuity that they’ve learned to the outside and start restaurants, barber shops, personal training businesses.

3:35 But there’s no training, nothing to prepare them for that, no rehabilitation at all in prison, no one to help them write a business plan, figure out a way to translate the business concepts they intuitively grasp into legal enterprises, no access to the Internet, even.

And then, when they come out, most States don’t even have a law prohibiting employers from discriminating against people with a background.

So none of us should be surprised that two out of three ex-offenders re-offend within five years.

Look, I lied to the Feds.

I lost a year of my life from it.

But when I came out, I vowed that I was going to do whatever I could to make sure that guys like the ones I was locked up with didn’t have to waste any more of their life than they already had.

I hope that you’ll think about helping in some way.

The best thing we can do is figure out ways to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit and the tremendous untapped potential in our prisons, because if we don’t, they’re not going to learn any new skills that’s going to help them, and they’ll be right back.

All they’ll learn on the inside is new hustles

Patsy Z and TEDxSKE shared a link.
Jeff Smith spent a year in prison. But what he discovered inside wasn’t what he expected — he saw in his fellow inmates boundless ingenuity and business savvy. He asks: Why don’t we tap this entrepreneurial potential to help ex-prisoners…
ted.com|By Jeff Smith

 

Inmates in Norwegian Prison: Why US homeless should seek asylum into these prisons

The first clue that things are done very differently on Bastoy prison island, which lies a couple of miles off the coast in the Oslo fjord, 46 miles south-east of Norway’s capital, comes shortly after I board the prison ferry.

I’m taken aback slightly when the ferry operative who welcomed me aboard just minutes earlier, and with whom I’m exchanging small talk about the weather, suddenly reveals he is a serving prisoner – doing 14 years for drug smuggling.

He notes my surprise, smiles, and takes off a thick glove before offering me his hand. “I’m Petter,” he says.

The Norwegian prison where inmates are treated like people

On Bastoy prison island in Norway, the prisoners, some of whom are murderers and rapists, live in conditions that critics brand ‘cushy’ and ‘luxurious’. Yet it has by far the lowest reoffending rate in Europe

 posted on February 25, 2013

Before he transferred to Bastoy, Petter was in a high-security prison for nearly eight years. “Here, they give us trust and responsibility,” he says.

“They treat us like grownups.”

I haven’t come here particularly to draw comparisons, but it’s impossible not to consider how politicians and the popular media would react to a similar scenario in Britain.

An inmate sunbathes on the deck of his bungalow on Bastoy.

An inmate sunbathes on the deck of his bungalow on Bastoy. Photograph: Marco Di Lauro

There are big differences between the two countries, of course.

Norway has a population of slightly less than five million, a 12th of the UK’s.

It has fewer than 4,000 prisoners; there are around 84,000 in the UK.

But what really sets us apart is the Norwegian attitude towards prisoners.

Four years ago I was invited into Skien maximum security prison, 20 miles north of Oslo. I had heard stories about Norway’s liberal attitude.

In fact, Skien is a concrete fortress as daunting as any prison I have ever experienced and houses some of the most serious law-breakers in the country. Recently it was the temporary residence of Anders Breivik, the man who massacred 77 people in July 2011.

Despite the seriousness of their crimes, however, I found that the loss of liberty was all the punishment they suffered.

Cells had televisions, computers, integral showers and sanitation.

Some prisoners were segregated for various reasons, but as the majority served their time – anything up to the 21-year maximum sentence (Norway has no death penalty or life sentence) – they were offered education, training and skill-building programmes.

Instead of wings and landings they lived in small “pod” communities within the prison, limiting the spread of the corrosive criminal prison subculture that dominates traditionally designed prisons.

The teacher explained that all prisons in Norway worked on the same principle, which he believed was the reason the country had, at less than 30%, the lowest reoffending figures in Europe and less than half the rate in the UK.

As the ferry powers through the freezing early-morning fog, Petter tells me he is appealing against his conviction.

If it fails he will be on Bastoy until his release date in two years’ time. I ask him what life is like on the island. “You’ll see,” he says. “It’s like living in a village, a community. Everybody has to work. But we have free time so we can do some fishing, or in summer we can swim off the beach. We know we are prisoners but here we feel like people.”

I wasn’t sure what to expect on Bastoy.

A number of wide-eyed commentators before me have variously described conditions under which the island’s 115 prisoners live as “cushy”, “luxurious” and, the old chestnut, “like a holiday camp”. I’m sceptical of such media reports.

As a life prisoner, I spent the first eight years of the 20 I served in a cell with a bed, a chair, a table and a bucket for my toilet.

In that time I was caught up in a major riot, trapped in a siege and witnessed regular acts of serious violence.

Across the prison estate, several hundred prisoners took their own lives, half a dozen of whom I knew personally – and a number were murdered.

Yet the constant refrain from the popular press was that I, too, was living in a “holiday camp”. When in-cell toilets were installed, and a few years later we were given small televisions, the “luxury prison” headlines intensified and for the rest of the time I was in prison, it never really abated.

It always seemed to me while I was in jail that the real prison scandal was the horrendous rate of reoffending among released prisoners.

In 2007, 14 prisons in England and Wales had reconvictions rates of more than 70%.

At an average cost of £40,000 a year for each prisoner, this amounts to a huge investment in failure – and a total lack of consideration for potential future victims of released prisoners. That’s the reason I’m keen to have a look at what has been hailed as the world’s first “human ecological prison“.

Thorbjorn, a 58-year-old guard who has worked on Bastoy for 17 years, gives me a warm welcome as I step on to dry land.

As we walk along the icy, snowbound track that leads to the admin block, he tells me how the prison operates.

There are 70 members of staff on the 2.6 sq km island during the day, 35 of whom are uniformed guards. Their main job is to count the prisoners – first thing in the morning, twice during the day at their workplaces, once en masse at a specific assembly point at 5pm, and finally at 11pm, when they are confined to their respective houses.

Only four guards remain on the island after 4pm. Thorbjorn points out the small, brightly painted wooden bungalows dotted around the wintry landscape.

“These are the houses for the prisoners,” he says. They accommodate up to six people. Every man has his own room and they share kitchen and other facilities. “The idea is they get used to living as they will live when they are released.”

Only one meal a day is provided in the dining hall. The men earn the equivalent of £6 a day and are given a food allowance each month of around £70 with which to buy provisions for their self-prepared breakfasts and evening meals from the island’s well-stocked mini-supermarket.

I can see why some people might think such conditions controversial. The common understanding of prison is that it is a place of deprivation and penance rather than domestic comfort.

Prisoners in Norway can apply for a transfer to Bastoy when they have up to five years left of their sentence to serve. Every type of offender, including men convicted of murder or rape, may be accepted, so long as they fit the criteria, the main one being a determination to live a crime-free life on release.

I ask Thorbjorn what work the prisoners do on the island.

He tells me about the farm where prisoners tend sheep, cows and chickens, or grow fruit and vegetables. “They grow much of their own food,” he says.

Other jobs are available in the laundry; in the stables looking after the horses that pull the island’s cart transport; in the bicycle repair shop, (many of the prisoners have their own bikes, bought with their own money); on ground maintenance or in the timber workshop.

The working day begins at 8.30am and already I can hear the buzz of chainsaws and heavy-duty strimmers. We walk past a group of red phone boxes from where prisoners can call family and friends.

A large building to our left is where weekly visits take place, in private family rooms where conjugal relations are allowed.

After the security officer signs me in and takes my mobile, Thorbjorn delivers me to governor Arne Nilsen’s office. “Let me tell you something,” Thorbjorn says before leaving me. “You know, on this island I feel safer than when I walk on the streets in Oslo.” (And much safer than walking the streets in any US city, particularly the downtowns)

Through Nilsen’s window I can see the church, the school and the library. Life for the prisoners is as normal as it is possible to be in a prison. It feels rather like a religious commune; there is a sense of peace about the place, although the absence of women (apart from some uniformed guards) and children is noticeable. Nilsen has coined a phrase for his prison: “an arena of developing responsibility.” He pours me a cup of tea.

“In closed prisons we keep them locked up for some years and then let them back out, not having had any real responsibility for working or cooking. In the law, being sent to prison is nothing to do with putting you in a terrible prison to make you suffer. The punishment is that you lose your freedom. If we treat people like animals when they are in prison they are likely to behave like animals. Here we pay attention to you as human beings.” (The freedom of taking on all the tedious tasks for survival?)

A clinical psychologist by profession, Nilsen shrugs off any notion that he is running a holiday camp. I sense his frustration. “You don’t change people by power,” he says. “For the victim, the offender is in prison. That is justice. I’m not stupid. I’m a realist. Here I give prisoners respect; this way we teach them to respect others. But we are watching them all the time. It is important that when they are released they are less likely to commit more crimes. That is justice for society.”

The reoffending rate for those released from Bastoy speaks for itself. At just 16%, it is the lowest in Europe. But who are the prisoners on Bastoy? Are they the goodie-goodies of the system?

Hessle is 23 years old and serving 11 years for murder. “It was a revenge killing,” he says. “I wish I had not done it, but now I must pay for my crime.” Slight and fair-haired, he says he has been in and out of penal institutions since he was 15. Drugs have blighted his life and driven his criminality.

There are three golden rules on Bastoy: no violence, no alcohol and no drugs.

Here, he works in the stables tending the horses and has nearly four years left to serve. How does he see the future? “Now I have no desire for drugs. When I get out I want to live and have a family. Here I am learning to be able to do that.”

Hessle plays the guitar and is rehearsing with other prisoners in the Bastoy Blues Band. Last year they were given permission to attend a music festival as a support act that ZZ Top headlined. Bjorn is the band’s teacher. Once a Bastoy prisoner who served five years for attacking his wife in a “moment of madness”, he now returns once a week to teach guitar. “I know the potential for people here to change,” he says.

Formerly a social researcher, he has formed links with construction companies he previously worked for that have promised to consider employing band members if they can demonstrate reliability and commitment. “This is not just about the music,” he says, “it’s about giving people a chance to prove their worth.”

Sven, another band member, was also convicted of murder, and sentenced to eight years. The 29-year-old was an unemployed labourer before his conviction. He works in the timber yard and is waiting to see if his application to be “house father” in his five-man bungalow is successful. “I like the responsibility,” he says. “Before coming here I never really cared for other people.”

(The dislocation of family binds have isolated and weakened people from finding refuge in time of dire needs: A main factor in the increased rate of suicide)

The female guard who introduces me to the band is called Rutchie. “I’m very proud to be a guard here, and my family are very proud of me,” she says. It takes three years to train to be a prison guard in Norway. She looks at me with disbelief when I tell her that in the UK prison officer training is just six weeks. “There is so much to learn about the people who come to prison,” she says. “We need to try to understand how they became criminals, and then help them to change. I’m still learning.”

Finally, I’m introduced to Vidor, who at 72 is the oldest prisoner on the island. He works in the laundry and is the house father of his four-man bungalow. I haven’t asked any of the prisoners about their crimes. The information has been offered voluntarily. Vidor does the same. He tells me he is serving 15 years for double manslaughter. There is a deep sadness in his eyes, even when he smiles.

Killers like me have nowhere to hide,” he says. He tells me that in the aftermath of his crimes he was “on the floor”. He cried a lot at first. “If there was the death penalty I would have said, yes please, take me.” He says he was helped in prison. “They helped me to understand why I did what I did and helped me to live again.” Now he studies philosophy, in particular Nietzsche. “I’m glad they let me come here. It is a healthy place to be. I’ll be 74 when I get out,” he says. “I’ll be happy if I can get to 84, and then just say: ‘Bye-bye.'”

On the ferry back to the mainland I think about what I have seen and heard. Bastoy is no holiday camp. In some ways I feel as if I’ve seen a vision of the future – a penal institution designed to heal rather than harm and to generate hope instead of despair.

I believe all societies will always need high-security prisons.

But there needs to be a robust filtering procedure along the lines of the Norwegian model, in order that the process is not more damaging than necessary.

As Nilsen asserts, justice for society demands that people we release from prison should be less likely to cause further harm or distress to others, and better equipped to live as law-abiding citizens.

It would take much political courage and social confidence to spread the penal philosophy of Bastoy outside Norway, however. In the meantime, I hope the decision-makers of the world take note of the revolution in rehabilitation that is occurring on that tiny island.

 

 

 

 


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

December 2020
M T W T F S S
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  

Blog Stats

  • 1,442,870 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.adonisbouh@gmail.com

Join 789 other followers

%d bloggers like this: