Simon Power Vs. the Internet (or a storm in a mouse pad)
Press Release: New Zealand National Party Corrections must stop inmate’s travelogue
The Corrections Department should stop a prisoner writing a website blog in which he describes life behind bars and criticises the judge who sentenced him, says National’s Law & Order spokesman, Simon Power.
He is commenting on a report that a prisoner is using email to write the blog, which is against Corrections policy. He is the same prisoner who was found guilty of sedition following an axe attack on Prime Minister Helen Clark’s electorate office.
“This is ridiculous. This prisoner is being allowed to write what is basically a travelogue of life behind bars.
“It is concerning that Corrections does not seem the least bit interested in stopping him writing whatever he likes.
“What’s to stop him compromising prison security by writing about how things work in there?
“If Corrections doesn’t shut down this type of activity then the next step will be prisoners using mobile phones to take photographs and put them on the web – if it isn’t happening already.
“This sort of carry-on is hardly sending a message to people that prison is a place where you are deprived of many of your liberties.
“Corrections has a responsibility to ensure that sentences are seen to be done and some liberties denied.
“That hardly seems to be the case in this instance, and I will be asking Corrections Minister Damien O’Connor what he is doing to put a stop to this.”
A film, videotape, or piece of writing, or a lecture accompanied by pictures, video or film, about travel, especially to interesting or remote places, or about somebody’s travels in particular.
Back when Simon Power was young and hip and down with the kids, Travelogues were given daily in the seminary halls of St Peter’s College in Palmerston North. There Simon stared in wide eyed awe as black and white reels of the Orient and cannibal tribes of the South Pacific were played each Saturday before the local ‘Evict the Gypsies’ youth group. Fast forward through to the digital age and Dear Simon seems to be at a loss to cope with the realities of a world where people can use their voice freely. A view of the future that might shake the sensible haircut for Nationals poster boy of hip.
What Simon seems to have missed is that any prisoner has the right to write letters, it is just in this case Tim has access to a blog via me, this is not illegal and no crime has been committed, yet Simon wants this site shut down…
‘…Power said he would this week be asking questions of the Minister of Corrections in the House about the blog and demanding what steps were going to be taken to shut it down…”
Herald on Sunday
Here’s what I don’t get – how come a Politician like Simon Power who has made his name from convincing NZ that prison is a hotel, that criminals get tucked up in bed with a hug, that the place is effectively an adult Disneyland, how come Power gets to call for the shutting down of a voice inside our overstretched Prison system that is telling a different story to the one that Power is using to scare New Zealanders who are frightened of crime? The violent environment inside our overstretched Prisons is contributing to the problem by dehumanizing the prisoners. They come out of that environment more damaged than they went in and all we do is tsk tsk over the Sunday papers at lunch when we see the re-offence rates. Of course people need to be punished for crime, but if the environment we use to punish them only ends up warping them further we are not only being counter-productive, we are actually exasperating the problem.
Here we have Tim reporting on a violent bashing of a prisoner who was supposed to be in segregation, yet was sent into mainstream. Did the authorities do it on purpose? Was it a mistake? How can anyone think that approach of brutality will work? Is Simon Power calling for an investigation of that event? No he’s not, he’s demanding the voice that is telling a different story from the one he has scripted be silenced and shut down. It says something of the pathology of Simon Power and those angry, frightened New Zealanders that don’t care about the wider issues, that they can only grasp uncomplicated reactionary answers to complex social questions.