Incarceration

Photo of the Day

Mademoiselle Blanche Monnier: May 23, 1901, a police commissioner forced the door of a house from Poitiers and discovered in a dark room with shutters locked a woman lying on a bed in the midst of filth. Immediately a rumor through the city: the unfortunate Blanche Monnier, was kidnapped by his family for twenty-five years, following a thwarted love. The national press got hold of the news, and L'Illustration does not hesitate to publish a monstrous picture, which shows a gaunt creature, with abundant black hair hiding her nakedness.

Mademoiselle Blanche Monnier: May 23, 1901, a police commissioner forced the door of a house from Poitiers and discovered in a dark room with shutters locked a woman lying on a bed in the midst of filth. Immediately a rumour through the city: the unfortunate Blanche Monnier, was kidnapped by her family for twenty-five years, following a thwarted love. The national press got hold of the news, and L’Illustration did not hesitate to publish a monstrous picture, which shows a gaunt creature, with abundant black hair hiding her nakedness.

The Miserable Incarceration of Blanche Monnier

A Truly Sad, Despicable, Wretched Story about a Poor Young Woman

Do you ever feel a little bit claustrophobic from sitting the office a bit too long?

Now, imagine you were confined to a room smaller than your cubicle for 25 years. There is no light, no central heating or air conditioning. The only food you eat are scraps from someone else’s table and your only friends, the rats who scavenge what little crumbs that fall to the stony floor. Mademoiselle Blanche Monnier experienced this for a quarter of a century. The most shocking thing about this? It was Blanche’s mother who imprisoned her.

While it looks like something from an old horror movie, the above is a real photo taken in 1901 of Blanche Monnier, a French woman who was imprisoned in a padlocked room for 25 years prior to being discovered. Monnier was initially imprisoned by her mother and brother because they didn’t approve of her marrying an attorney she was in love with. Years later, even after the object of her affection had died, the mother and brother still refused to free her.

May 23, 1901, following a denunciation by an anonymous letter, the Attorney General of Poitiers ordered a search of Louise Monnier, widow of a former dean of the Faculty of Letters. On the second floor of a mansion from the city center, the central Commissioner discovered a skeletal woman, completely naked, lying on a rotten bench amid his excrement. This is White’s daughter, Mrs. Monnier. It would be sequestered by his family for twenty five years…

This discovery ignited the city. How, indeed, imagine that a mother can have the barbarity of locking his daughter to abandon the hunger and suffering? How imagine that such torture can last a quarter century without anyone cares? What crime had committed the unfortunate to suffer such a punishment?

The press immediately seized of the news. While different organs Republicans and monarchists take the opportunity to settle accounts, a journalist from the local press overcomes their quarrels to conduct its own investigation.

Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Brianna

Forever Young

Electra, Texas—1985

She was a pretty girl, thin, with a spray of pale freckles across her face and light brown hair that curled just above her shoulders. The librarian at the high school called her “a quiet-type person,” the kind of student who yes-ma’amed and no-ma’amed her teachers. She played on the tennis team, practicing with an old wooden racket on a crack-lined court behind the school. In the afternoons she waitressed at the Whistle Stop, the local drive-in hamburger restaurant, jumping up on the running boards of the pickup trucks so she could hear better when the drivers placed their orders.

Her name was Treva Throneberry, and just about everybody in that two-stoplight North Texas oil town knew her by sight. She was never unhappy, people said. She never complained. She always greeted her customers with a shy smile, even when she had to walk out to their cars on winter days when the northers came whipping off the plains, swirling ribbons of dust down the street. During her breaks, she’d sit at a back table and read from her red Bible that zipped open and shut.

There were times, the townspeople would later say, when they did wonder about the girl. No one had actually seen her do anything that could be defined, really, as crazy. But people noticed that she would occasionally get a vacant look in her blue eyes. One day at school she drew a picture of a young girl standing under a leafless tree, her face blue, the sun black. One Sunday at the Pentecostal church she stumbled to the front altar, fell to her knees, and began telling Jesus that she didn’t deserve to live. And then there was that day when Treva’s young niece J’Lisha, who was staying at the Throneberry home, told people that Treva had shaken her awake the previous night and whispered that a man was outside their room with a gun—which turned out to be not true at all.

But surely, everyone in town said, all teenage girls go through phases. They get overly emotional every now and then. Treva was going to turn out just fine. She didn’t even drink or smoke cigarettes like some of the other girls in town.

Then, that December, just as the Electra High School Tigers were headed toward their first state football championship and the town was feeling a rare surge of pride, Treva, who was sixteen years old, stopped working at the Whistle Stop. She stopped coming to school. “She disappeared,” a former classmate said. “And nobody knew where she went.”

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Liberal hand-wringing over Kiwi criminals in offshore jurisdictions

Watch as the clamour to try and bring our criminal scum back home to  face “justice” in New Zealand rather than the much harsher treatment they will get offshore.

One such person is this Anthony De Malmanche fellow.

The liberal panty-waists are all upset that he might face the death penalty. Well boohoo, only the congenitally stupid don;t know that in most Asian countries the penalty for smuggling drugs at the very minimum is a sound beating and a long time in prison or the worst, a death sentence.

i have little sympathy for them.

The crim-hugging panty-waists though think this is terrible and one such womble is Alexander Gillespie who is supposedly a professor of law at Waikato University (snigger).

He is having a moan that these criminals are hard done by.

Two recent incidents involve Kiwis allegedly involved in trafficking large amounts of methamphetamine. The men were caught in Indonesia and China. These are not cases of attractive females with relatively small amounts of marijuana which would cause debatable social damage.

These are people who, if convicted, will be found to be responsible for the destruction of the lives of hundreds of others. Indonesia and China have a strong interest in putting these individuals on trial. This is standard practice as each state jealously guards its laws to protect its citizens, society and principles.

Accordingly, when people are tried for crimes in foreign countries, it is no defence to say they are foreigners. As the recent debate over the Malaysian diplomat returned to the New Zealand judicial system has shown, the public expect the law to be applied regardless of nationality.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.

Mass incarceration

What’s wrong with stringing them up?

The justice secretary in the UK, Chris Grayling wants hardened crims to stay longer in prison:

Hardened criminals should serve more time in prison and not be granted automatic early release because locking them up cuts crime, the Justice Secretary has said.

Surely we could just string up the baddest bastards?

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Chris Grayling says that he would “ultimately” like to introduce a system under which only prisoners who have behaved well are released early.

Casting aside the doubts of his predecessor, Kenneth Clarke, Mr Grayling insists that putting “people behind bars reduces crime”.

However, he warns that “there are financial constraints” and that such radical changes cannot be delivered “overnight”.

The vast majority of prisoners are automatically released after serving half their sentence under rules introduced by Labour, which removed discretion within the system to release only those who had behaved well.

As a result, thousands of dangerous criminals and rapists have been returned to the streets after serving just a few years in prison.

Looks like they have the same problem over there as we do. Soft judiciary, panty waist politicians soft on crime…and criminals walking the streets instead of crushing rocks.  Read more »

As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.

Learning from New York

Sydney Morning Herald

Yesterday I had a guest post from David Garrett that provoked agreat deal of comment. Later on I read an article in the Sydney Morning Herald that suggests that we have much to learn from the New York experience:

New York has achieved twice the national rate of the decline in crime in the past 30 years while reducing the incarceration rate.

The tide turned when a Democratic mayor, David Dinkins, an African-American liberal in denial about black crime, was replaced by the city’s leading prosecutor, Rudy Giuliani. New Yorkers, who vote overwhelmingly Democrat, were so weary of crime they turned to a Republican.

Under Giuliani, the police began swamping areas where street crime was brazen. They conducted stop-and-frisk operations. They collected fingerprints. This raised the ire of civil libertarians and civil rights warriors but it had a dramatic impact.

Police identified what they called hot spots and although most of those frisked were black and Hispanic, the black and Hispanic communities benefited most from the new policies because they were disproportionately the victims of street crime. Giuliani was re-elected. After two terms he was replaced by another Republican, Michael Bloomberg, who later fell out with the party, but Republicans have been running New York for the better part of 18 years.

Professor Zimring concludes that the police, by inhibiting street crime, inhibited crime generally. They took away a milieu. This had the greatest impact on the greatest source of crimes – criminals coming out of prison – who found their old comfort zones were gone. This led to a reduction of crime, not because prisoners came out ”reformed” but because a reduction in criminal activity on the streets had changed the social environment. It created a virtuous cycle.

Recidivism declined. The incarceration rate declined. The police also took a more pragmatic approach to victimless crime, especially marijuana possession. This led to a further reduction in the prison population.

As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.

Guest Post – Rebutting Rudman

David Garrett has sent in a guest post to rebut Brian Rudman. Apparently the NZ Herald prefers running opinion pieces from Labour hacks like Bryan Gould – Britain’s answer to Bill Rowling. They refused to look at a rebuttal of Rudman’s crim hugging whine.

A watchtower at the northeastern corner of Mou...

In a recent Herald article Brian Rudman writes – utterly predictably – that imprisonment does nothing to reduce crime, and we should not follow what he calls  the “…bray of the ‘lock ’em up’ lobby.” About the only surprise in his piece is the admission that New Zealand doesn’t after all have “the second highest imprisonment rate in the world” as is  claimed ad nauseum, by those on the left  but  is in fact fifth in the OECD.

Leaving aside that the imprisonment rate in a population is meaningless unless one also considers the offending  rate in that same population, Rudman’s conclusion is simply not supported by the evidence from overseas jurisdictions, particularly the United States. Nor is it consistent with an emerging trend here.

It is well known that  crime rates have plummeted in New York State since the introduction of  so called “broken windows” policing in the early 1990’s. Homicides in New York City fell from a high of 1,946 in 1993, to 673 by the turn of century – a  decline of  more than 60%. What is less well known is that as well as “broken windows” policing, New York also introduced “sentence enhancement” laws,  of which New Zealand’s “three strikes” law is a variant.

In California – the home of “three strikes” – the decline in  crime has been second only to New York’s, with violent crime reducing by 43% during the decade after the introduction of “three strikes” in 1994. Although the rate of decline has since leveled off, crime rates in California  remain about half what they were at their peak in 1991.

On the left, there has always been the greatest reluctance to ascribe any reduction in crime rates to more punitive policies. As the late Dennis Dutton once observed, the precipitate decline in homicide and crime generally  in New York prompted a feverish search by left wing academics across the country to find the “real” explanation – any explanation would do – because it couldn’t possibly be the result of more intense policing and longer prison sentences. Could it?

On this subject as on  others, left wing commentators such as Rudman have no hesitation in massaging data, or selectively quoting from scholarly works. The best example is the theory promulgated by economist Steven Levitt –  in ‘Freakonomics’ and elsewhere  – that more readily available abortions from the mid 1970’s onwards led to a drop in crime twenty years later  According to Levitt’s theory, children of the poor –  who are supposedly  more crime prone -were aborted instead of growing up to be the next generation of criminals.

Aside from the huge holes in that thesis itself, what those who quote Levitt  never  say is he identifies six factors which in his view explain the drop in US crime over the last 25 years. The sixth and  least effective, says Levitt, is more readily available abortions. The top two, in order of effectiveness,  are more comprehensive ‘community’ type policing, and more punitive sentencing laws.

When New Zealand’s “three strikes”  was passing through parliament, the Howard League for penal reform toured a Californian prison chaplain through New Zealand to talk up the iniquities of the Californian law – notwithstanding that New Zealand’s version is utterly different, and under it the famous “locked up for life for stealing a   chocolate bar ” simply cannot happen.

Columnists such as Mr Rudman breathlessly reported the view of Mr Kim Workman, once head of prisons  before he lost his job following a disastrous rehabilitation program he designed  called He Ara Hou was abandoned in the mid 1990’s following its spectacular failure. Mr Workman confidently predicted that if “three strikes” was enacted, the prison population would triple in two years, assaults on prison officers and policemen would increase sharply, and if there was any effect on offending at all, it would likely increase.

Almost two years later the  reality  has been very different. Prior to Christmas, Justice Minister Collins announced that the prison muster per head of population  had fallen for the  first time since the 1930’s. Recently it was announced that a new prison at Wiri would be built after all, after serious consideration was given to abandoning it because of falling prisoner numbers.

For those willing to examine the evidence honestly, and without ideological bias, the reasons for this change are clear. In 2010, the police quietly adopted a New Zealand style version of “broken windows” in Manukau, the country’s most crime ridden district. Offenders coming before the courts for serious violent “strike” offences – more than 900 thus far – are now warned that if they continue to so offend they will spend much longer in jail than earlier in their criminal career.

What is happening in New Zealand mirrors what happened in New York twenty years ago, whether Rudman  acknowledges it or not. A combination of more effective policing and more punitive sentencing has led to a decline in crime. If we do not lose our nerve, that decline will continue. The worst thing we could possibly do would be to repeal “three strikes” – as Labour has pledged to do.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.