The Magistrate's Blog (2005-2012)

This blog has migrated to www.magistratesblog.blogspot.co.uk This blog is anonymous, and Bystander's views are his and his alone. Where his views differ from the letter of the law, he will enforce the letter of the law because that is what he has sworn to do. If you think that you can identify a particular case from one of the posts you are wrong. Enough facts are changed to preserve the truth of the tale but to disguise its exact source.

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Location: Near London, United Kingdom

The blog is written by a retired JP, with over 30 years' experience on the Bench.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A French View on Prison Discipline

The estimable Éolas has a piece here about prison discipline. I'm afraid it's in French though.
The last couple of paragraphs would not go down at all well with the editors of Britain's tabloid papers:-
Et pour ceux qui ont un coeur désespérément sec, et qui estiment qu'il n'y a pas à pleurer sur le sort de délinquants et criminels qui ne savent pas bien se tenir en prison, une petite suggestion. Prenons un de ces mauvais garçons, au comportement violent. Enfermez le 45 jours dans un tel cul de basse fosse. Imaginez vous 23 heures d'affilée avec 4,15m² pour marcher, dans des conditions où si vous mettiez un chien, vous seriez vous même un délinquant ; ce pendant 45 jours.

Et pensez au jour où ce type va sortir de prison, peine purgée. Vous croyez qu'il sera calmé, assagi, devenu citoyen modèle, ayant mûri par cette expérience ? Le jour où vous le croiserez, j'espère que tel sera le cas.

Dans le doute, puisque vous n'avez pas pitié des autres, ayez pitié de vous.

Here's a (very) rough stab at a translation:- (any better efforts welcome)
And for those whose hearts are desperately hard, and who won't shed any tears over the sort of offenders who won't obey the rules in prison, here's a suggestion. Take one of these bad boys who has a violent temperament. Lock him up for 45 days in a cell. Imagine 23 hours a day of being locked up with 4.15 square metres to walk around, in conditions that would be illegal to keep a dog in, for 45 days.
Then think of the day when this fellow comes out of prison, sentence served. Do you think that he will be calm, wise, turned into a model citizen, having been matured by his experience? When you cross his path, I hope that turns out to be the case.
Since you don't feel any pity for others, at least have pity on yourself