Friday, August 14, 2009

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?


Today is:

Assumption Eve, France

Festival of Sassari, Sardinia

Husbands in Love Day

Independence Day, Bahrain, Pakistan

Kool-Aid Day

Krishna Janmashtami -- Hindu (Birthday of Krishna)

La Torta dei Fieschi, Italy

Liberty Tree Day, Massachusetts

National Creamsicle Day

National Navajo Code Talkers Day

St. Maximillian Kolbe's Day (Patron against Drug Addictions)

St. Werenfrid's Day

Anniversary Today:

V-J Day

Birthdays Today:

Halle Berry, 1966
Earvin "Magic" Johnson, 1959
Gary Larson, 1950
Danielle, Steel, 1947
Susan Saint James, 1946
Steve Martin, 1945
Lynne Cheney, 1941
David Crosby, 1941
Alice Ghostley, 1926
Russell Baker, 1925
John Ringling North, 1903
H.C. Oersted, 1777
Emperor Hanazono of Japan, 1297

Today in History:

The young Emperor Antoku and three sacred treasures are taken by Taira no Munemori and the Taira clan, fleeing to western Japan to escape pursuit by the Minamoto clan, 1183
Kublai Khan's invading fleet disappears in a a typhoon near Japan, 1281
Three years after Gutenberg, the oldest known exactly dated printed book is published, 1457
Queen Elizabeth I refuses sovereignty of the Netherlands, 1585
Great Britain annexes Tristan da Cunha (remotest occupied island), 1816
Oregon Territory created, 1848
Magazine "Field and Stream" begins publication, 1873
Japan issues its first patent, for rust-proof paint, 1885
Mt. Rushmore project first proposed, 1925

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