This is a question raised by a radio program this morning. The cost for incarceration of prisoners is soaring and the numbers of inmates are increasing. This has put an enormous burden on governments and taxpayers who pay for them doing their time. It would make sense, therefore, to put a charge on them. Many prisoners in Australian jails are millionaires in the real world and can well afford to pay for their crimes in more ways than one.
In some overseas jails, such as in Venezuela, images were smuggled out to show how starving inmates are ignored by the government. That country is in financial crisis and would appear to have massive human-rights abuses in many sectors of the community. In its communities many are starving and the situation may turn into a civil war.
In North Korea the devastation among prisoners is often spoken of as bodies lie rotting where they drop after starvation takes its toll. There are reports, however, about Chinese jails and how relatives have to supply food to the inmates and then remove their bodies if and when they die.
While Australia would not take things that far one must question whether there is merit in charging prisoners for their time in custody. Surely this would give some a reason to think twice before breaking the law, were it enforced.
Where does the responsibility lie for people who defy the laws of the country and commit felonies that put the rest of us in danger. This is not just addressing the armed robber or drug taker but terrorists, some of whom own mansions. As four men were arrested in Sydney last week-end who intended to bring down an International Flight surely these things must be addressed.
If convicted they face life in jail. There are already hundreds locked away now who are equally described as terrorists. Most have come here as migrants or are second or even third generation of such and they choose to destroy life in this beautiful country. There is no understanding behind it.
Television footage shows their families live in multi-story homes in the Western suburbs. The price tags of them would be well above half a million dollars and yet the state has to pay for their keep. Some of them are millionaires who are serving time for fraud and other economic offences.
One inmate released a few weeks ago served his two years for insider trading and drove off in a luxury vehicle to his mansion in the Eastern suburbs. This is not right and he should be forced to pay for his upkeep, as well as for his crime. Perhaps legislators will see the light one day and things will change. As costs continue to rise and services improve then what right do they have for a free time in jail or anywhere else?
Norma Holt has knowledge that enables her to understand many issues. Political, social and behavioural problems are usually on her list for discussion as well as anything to do with the Spirit of the Universe and reincarnation, which she experienced. She is happy to hear from any of her readers.
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