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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

PRISON BLOG 21


The Shawshank Repetition

This unit’s library is rather pitiful. The spiteful former occupant of the room the library is in has withheld many good books in a locked side room and no-one can get in. I’ve tried – because I’m the librarian. It’s an honorary non-paying job and since I founded and co-owned a secondhand bookshop (Nostromo Books 598 Gt. North Rd, Grey Lynn) I guess I must be over-qualified for the role of managing less than 100 titles.

Wilbur Smith’s epic chronicles of super-macho Victorian elephant slaughterers seems to be the backbone of a bleak expanse of Readers Digest condensed novels and 80’s paperback fiction. Half of the Stephen Kings have had the last couple of pages torn out of them as well as parts of the covers cut into to provide rigid ends to rolly cigarettes, or “other cigarettes”. There’s one cookbook from 1982 with photos of burnt dishes and other inedible fare that makes our dry mash dinners actually look appealing – and that is certainly saying something.

There are a few good titles and I still haven’t seen the return of the one about Mafia and some of the more modern fiction. Ben Elton’s ones are still untouched however.

The National Geographic’s are circulating, like most of the library’s other magazines, privately now without the need to go through me. I guess most books too are passed from one another and won’t see the library for a long time – which is fine – as long as people are using them. I try to open each Sunday after the old re-runs of the original Star Trek finish on Prime and after the game of Touch is over.

Eventually I’ll have to get into that room and liberate all the good books that are trapped therein. But things move glacially in here. So, to avoid accusations of being part of the problem and not part of the solution and having seen the Shawshank Redemption and the efforts that Tim Robbin’s character went through to get a decent library up and running, I now appeal to those with unwanted or surplus books and magazines to send them in to broaden and enlighten the twisted and criminal minds of the prisoners in this unit.

Please send your books and magazines to:
Tim Selwyn
Librarian/Unit 8
Hawkes Bay Prison
Private Bag 1600
Napier, NZ


Tim Selwyn (Editor of Tumeke!)
PRN 60477981
Hawkes Bay Prison
Currently appealing sedition conviction

20 Comments:

At 26/9/06 3:23 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Criminals have a habit of thinking they are entitled to something for nothing.

Donate good books in good condition so that those nice criminals can destroy them - come on.

Probably better to donate them to schools or clubs where they might have a chance of surviving for more than a week.

People rarely value things they get for nothing so maybe you can come up with some work ideas where the criminals can set up a fund to buy books, maybe then they would value and look after them.

Many prisons have criminals making good money out of things like bone carving - but true to their selfish me, me, me attitude they only want make money for themselves.

In the real world people never get anything without working for it, so I am sure someone as smart as Timmy can think of some work ideas and then come up with a plan to put to people like Whitcouls to buy up the cheap bin books for their library.

Work, saving, paying taxes, and all those other things most of us have to do to get anything really is not so bad and just maybe it would bring some self-respect to those who have never tried it. Sometimes we even do those things to give rather than to get.

 
At 26/9/06 4:10 pm, Blogger bomber said...

..
Tim is trying to get books for prisoners and your comeback is 'in the real world bloody crims need the bash' - is there still time to nominate the above person for the Nobel Peace prize folks? What a hard heartless arsehole you are anon, I see why you won't put your name to the post - your cup of compassion runneth over mate. I mean honestly what a stupid post, 'out in the real world' bullshit - out in the real world people help one another even when they fuck up rather than spout your holier than thou crap.

Oh and as for the carving room - the prison Tim is in have closed theirs, but seeing as you know it all - you would know that too right Anon?

 
At 26/9/06 6:02 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Calm down..... why the swearing and abuse ?? I would expect someone of your superior education and character to be able to express themselves less violently – and yes it is violence, do you behave like that to peoples face or just on the net ?? If you find yourself doing it in real life I would suggest some anger management before you hurt someone.

Talking of violence who said bash ??? If I did it was an error and I take it back and apologise.

Just suggesting giving can sometimes be more rewarding than getting, and working for things can bring self-respect.

Isn’t that part of the criminals problem – they want what they think other people have without having to do the work they did to get it.

As for not appreciating things that are easy and free - that is not an opinion I think there is evidence to back that up, but as always I will bow to your greater education.

It’s one reason why responsible parents don't just give their kids everything even when they can easily afford it - they teach things like working for what you need (or want), and sometimes even working and then giving to others.

Many of the poorer (not where you live I suspect) areas have pathetic public and school libraries maybe the criminals could think of ways to earn funds to help them.

I know you love to brag about your good deeds (actually I haven’t read anything about actual deeds only talk) but I did donate a set of encyclopedias that my family know longer needed, I gave them to the local primary school – shame on me.

Why was the carving room closed down ?? That was, of course, just an example of how crimanls can make money.

Some prisons have bands, not sure where the instruments came from, most have gyms – no membership fee, I think where Tim is there is a tennis court, units have TV – I read the new ones are getting LCD, I would love one of those but can’t justify spending the money at present.

Sure there is a shortage of (paid) teachers and instructors in prisons, just like there is a shortage of nurses and teachers where I live, but volunteers are generally welcome. Just put together a program and submit it to the local prison management. A tip if you want male criminals to turn up take food and if possible a couple of pretty women.

As for books, when there is a title that someone really wants there are ways of getting it, prison chaplains, prison visitors etc. often bring things in for criminals. At least one high profile QC liked to bring things in for his favourites.

 
At 27/9/06 6:59 am, Anonymous Jimmy said...

I take it you have started up a collection for our imprisoned brothers Bomber.
You are not that big on property ownership, so you won't mind giving away your own books.
Why don't you also tell the inmates your address, so they have somewhere to stay when they are released.
Lead by example.
Btw, anon is right, you seem to have serious anger management issues. We don't all agree, so don't get angry if people have differing viewpoints than you.

 
At 27/9/06 9:41 am, Anonymous Badge said...

I do agree with anon on this blog also, a lot of what he says makes total sense. I note on Tim's blog, he open's the library on Sunday after watching re-runs on Prime TV. This is yet another example of a Willy-Nilly soft Government under the U.N thumb. Tv's should be barred from Prison's along with all other freedoms and life's pleasures. These people are jailed for a reason, despite their claims of innosince and appeals. Correct me if I'me wrong but the whole point of being locked up was to remove certain rights and freedoms? Excellent post Anon.

 
At 27/9/06 10:15 am, Blogger bomber said...

...
Nice to see Anon finally learned some manners after I challenged him/her (oh and grow some balls and put your name to your posts Anon)– yes I was very angry folks – I always am when Sensible sentencing bandwagon puppets who don’t know what they are talking about pop on site and give the usual bullshit prison arguments that things need to be harder, that we need to have prisoners breaking rock. Chained up, singing negro spirituals. It’s this mindsets sold to you by your idiot conservative politicians that you lap up because they confirm all those racist stereotypes you have about other people. I’m astounded that Tim tries to set up a library and all you have to add is shit on him – I’m staggered actually – but then again not. This weird puritanical steak you folk seem to have is all a bit creepy to me, oh and yes Jimmy, I sent a load of books yesterday – will you be doing that jimmy or are you all mouth son?

What really astounds me is that we dehumanize people in prison, so that when they come out they are animals (7 out of 10 re-offend in NZ), commit a worse crime and you all stand around going ‘Why? It must be because it’s too soft in there” – you only exasperate the issue because of this vengeful anger you want feed. People who say what you have to say about prisons are the same people who have never visited one.

 
At 27/9/06 2:10 pm, Anonymous Jimmy said...

Bomber
How do you know I haven't been to prison?
How do you know I haven't donated books?
Son? Son! Who the fuck are you to call me son?
Is that why you want people to put names to posts, so you can abuse them?
Patronising piece of shit aren't you.
Sensible sentencing puppets? Now I don't accept everything they do, but to call people who have lost loved family members to horrific crime muppets shows how little empathy you have for the average person.
Instead of going on about prisoners, just go spend a couple of hours with these people who have had their sons, daughters, mothers, fathers etc... brutally murdered, and tell them they no nothing of suffering like prisoners do.
You, Bomber, a just some university educated, middle class white boy who thinks he knows everything.
You haven't got a fucking clue.
If you want to be more productive, get that fucking chip of your shoulder and try to discuss issues, not berate people for thinking opposing thoughts than you.
And no Bomber, I am not right wing.
I am left wing with just that little bit more empathy than you.

 
At 27/9/06 2:55 pm, Blogger bomber said...

...
Grin - There you go Jimmy, look at you all fired up and congrats for finally putting a name to your posts. BTW I’m not a middle class kid, I worked hard to get to University, came from very poor background and that gives me an empathy for those who screw up and don’t succeed, so don’t go throwing class around. I made the call that you haven’t been to prison because if you had, I couldn’t see how you would be coming up with half the sensible sentencing crap you’ve been claiming about prison. And you didn’t actually tell us if you had donated books Jimmy, have you or are you just asking rhetoricals to take the sting out of my questions? As for patronizing everyone who disagrees with me, no Jimmy, I am only patronizing to people who don’t put names to their posts, and now I seem to have goaded you into standing by your comments we can debate things.

For the thousandth time Jimmy, I have made posts here saying that those who have suffered from crime deserve more funding, more aid, more support. Rape Crises lines demand more support from the Government, Victim Support isn’t given the level of support they deserve and phone counseling lines for the after math of Crime get a pittance from the Government. I have always made these points and I stand by those concerns. I am on the Board of Trustees for Youthline and I can tell you, the Government support simply doesn’t cover the need for those seeking help with the trauma of crime.

As for the chip Jimmy, it sounds like you have one on each shoulder making you very balanced person. Where can we talk about the conditions inside Prison Jimmy? Where can the discussion about the rights of Prisoners be held Jimmy? How about a website where the editor who is in Prison for SEDITION writes prison blogs, could we discuss prison conditions here Jimmy or is that never allowed Jimmy? Those conditions inside prison which damage those already fucked up criminals even worse should never be discussed? In a country where the sensible sentencing bandwagon has created a mass crime hysteria (at a time when Crime is steady and falling while media attention gets more and more hysterical – what bleeds leads) and where conservative politicians make their bread and butter out of convincing middle NZ that prisons are hotels – we can’t have any space where the other side of the story can be told? The prison system is exasperating the problem – I understand from your near hysterical post that crime is a very emotional issue. It is totally human to feel angry and want vengeance on those who commit crime, but that isn’t justice and this weird Presbyterian streak that runs deep in NZ psyche is as much part of the problem as the conditions inside. Are some of these people inside prison awful human beings – yes they are. Have they committed awful crimes, yes some have. But is the system that we are putting them in making things worse or better – I argue that it is making it much worse, and that Tim’s insight to what life is like in there is actually pretty new in NZ and is important.

I’m staggered that this level of animosity could have come about simply from Tim’s desire to get books for prisoners, if this is your reaction to books for Prisoners, I’m surprised you label yourself left wing. Empathy goes beyond those who it is easy to feel sympathy for, it is a deeper connection to what it is to be human, and as humans we make mistakes, sometimes they are dreadful mistakes, and while my deepest concern and sadness goes to those who have been the victims of crime, my mind must turn to ways of making the future better. And the current prison system is not making things better.

 
At 27/9/06 11:19 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are ignorant bomber - you falsely accuse people of saying things and then are too gutless to retract your lies. Quote where anyone said they wanted anyone bashed – if you can’t then tell the truth for once.

Manner your family obviously never bother to teach you any you foul mouthed jerk.

Your are the one talking about bashing, rock breaking and the like - no-one you are sick.

Your one claim to superiority - you can spell apparently - good for you.

I see you are also afflicted with selective reading.

 
At 27/9/06 11:42 pm, Blogger Blair said...

I'm staggered at the idea that anyone could be scathing of a request for books in prison.

The retard known as Anonymous believes prisoners should work hard and get their own damned books. Ummm... they can't, they're in prison and the government, typically, doesn't give a fuck about ensuring they better themselves and become decent human beings.

I think prison should be an uncomfortable and punitive place that nobody would want to return to. But I also think that reading broadens the mind and exposes people to things they may not have considered before, raises their intelligence and knowledge, and keeps them occupied. All wonderful things which maybe, just maybe, will prevent more people from becoming victims of your average prisoner in future. Because they know better. Because they read some stuf that inspired them to better themselves.

The trolls can get fucked. Send the man some books. I am going to scrounge around and see what I can find.

 
At 28/9/06 7:37 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was a suggestion - help yourself by helping others, an alien idea to some.

Prisons have a budget for books etc. but of course it is limited just as the budgets available to schools and other groups is limited.

My neighbours gave their magazines away - to a hospital, does that make them evil and nasty, personally I don’t think so.

There are things criminals can do for themselves and others, occasionally some do.

If you give your books to Time good for you I just wonder how long they will last.

I think you and Bomber have accused people of things you have imagined they said rather than what has actually been said

Bomber has not apologized for his false accusation yet – but then who ever thought someone like him would, he is the one obsessed with bashings, like you he projects his bizarre ideas onto others.

Maybe Bomber will start a drama, literature and reading group for his local prison – I am sure his very well known actor friends will go along and assist him. Geee talk sure is cheap.

As someone said Lead By Example – keep us updated Mr Bomber.

 
At 1/10/06 5:19 pm, Blogger Oswald Bastable said...

The libraries are a mixed bag. Some units have rather good ones, others don't seem to have anything.

If the funding used to buy TV's were used to buy books (cheaply from the second-hand shops) I would consider the money better spent.

Books in prisons do far more good than a raft of other money-wasting ideas...

 
At 3/10/06 2:48 am, Anonymous Tim said...

Heya, heard about the call out for books from my mum! I'm part the local anarchist scene here in Welly and have been following his story here closely (17 months inside!?!). We have a vast library of books here and we'd love to send some. I'll post a list of the books we have in our library to him + any books I that I can find...

And why do people still call for the police to get REAL criminals??? What do you mean by this? do you realise that 85% of people in prison are actually reasonably decent people but just have been fucked over by the police and the completely disgusting inequalites in NZ law?

an Anarchist Black Cross is on my mind...

p.s. Indymedia feature is on the way too i think :0)

 
At 3/10/06 2:50 am, Anonymous tim said...

whoops forgot the link:
http://www.anarchistblackcross.org/

 
At 3/10/06 7:45 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tim
If your mother is raped by a gang member who do you call?

 
At 3/10/06 1:21 pm, Anonymous Tim said...

I'd probably call the hospital. Hmmm.... 19 police currently in court facing rape charges and you think I would call them for help...

Any more stupid questions?

 
At 4/10/06 8:06 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tim sounds like a hardman, in his teenage years.
You, Tim, if anything went wrong, would call the police.
Nobody said police are perfect, but anarchy?
You will be some gang members bitch before you could blink Tim, and all your big talking on an anonymous talkboard will count for shit.
Ah, the angry ideals of youth.

 
At 5/10/06 12:09 pm, Blogger bomber said...

...
Hey Tim, great counter to that bullshit 'who would you call' question when challenged 'how dare you criticise our blessed boys in blue'. You can tell when the above post is all they have left to throw at you, congrats

 
At 5/10/06 4:45 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just shows you live a nice peaceful middle class existence bomber.

Or do you have a gang behind you to settle debts.

Face it bomber, if and when you need the police, it is they you will call.

 
At 6/10/06 7:21 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps Bomber gets his mates to sort problems out.
you know, vigilantism.

 

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