The Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, a local jail in the U.K., has started something new -- a customer satisfaction survey.
Apparently, 1,000 inmates will be given these questionnaires so the Chief Inspector can determine if their perception of how they are treating detainees matches up with how the prisoners feel they are treated. (For the full article and all questions asked,
One guard, who asked not to be named, said this is, "a bit rich." He says the inmates are starting to use the emergency buzzer in the cells like room service.
The questions include some about comfort, and about whether or not the prisoners feel safe while in custody.
Apparently some of the people in this local jail are not charged with crimes necessarily, but are here for assessment under the Mental Health Act. Or they have been charged, but not tried yet. So maybe this makes sense.
Still, it gives you reason to think about the purpose of jails, prisons, hoosegows, whatever you wish to call them. It seems to me that I was taught prison was supposed to do three things: Punish you for a crime, give you time to reflect upon what you have done and where you have gone wrong in your life to land you there, and rehabilitate you so you won't do it again. I don't remember that it was supposed to be pleasant.
I have one friend who believes that humans lived centuries without air conditioning and cable tv, and that prison inmates still should, but that may be taking things too far the other direction. A happy medium would be the a/c set on 80 degrees and a cable package that includes only History Channel, the Discovery Channels, maybe Animal Planet, and a kiddie channel or two. The "Pink Underwear" Sheriff, in Maricopa, Arizona, has a few good ideas, also.
A "how was your stay" survey longer than what most hotel chains give out, however? That does seem "a bit rich" to me, too.
Again, this boring blogger doesn't have the full answer, and I'm not sure anyone does. What's the fine line between punishment for a crime and torture/inhumane treatment? At what point can prisoners complain about their treatment?
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