Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Should Prisoners Be Allowed to Blog?

Last week, John Hirst, who runs the JailHouseLawyer blog, sent me a link to a blog by someone called Prisoner Ben. Ben is in prison for murder. Hirst's view is that prisoners are perfectly entitled to blog, and there is nothing in the rules to say they can't. He's written on the subject today on CommentIsFree.

Prisoner Ben's blog is very well written and often gripping. On Saturday he addressed the question of whether he should even be allowed to blog. His main point was this...
My punishment was the loss of my physical liberty; not the loss of anything else.
Hmmm. Not sure about that. Yesterday he wrote about rehabilitation in a very thought provoking piece.

There is a real dilemma here. On the one hand, it is great for all of us to hear about prison life and what it's like - how else could we do that? It's the same reason as a lot of us found the now defunct Nightack so gripping. We're led into a world we know nothing about.

But can it really be right for someone who has committed a crime so heinous as to warrant a life sentence to be able to share his thoughts with the world like this? Aren't there security risks too? Couldn't there be some sort of code included in a blogpost in theory?

I'd be interested to know what readers think.

72 comments:

Graham said...

First you're reposting unsourced News of the World articles as fact, now you're hypothesising that prisoners might use blogs to send out coded messages.

What next Iain, a tinfoil hat?

Come on.

Blue Eyes said...

I have to say that I assumed that most prisoners were not allowed much communication with the outside world. Aren't they banned from having mobile phones or am I out of date?

Michael Heaver said...

Corr blimey, it could end in a right palava surely Iain? Obviously there are restrictions on the serious criminals (I hope?) but even the smallish drug dealers could control their networks from the inside and maybe dob in those they suspect of being grasses?

Put it this way, if you played a part in sending down a wrong 'un, would you be happy knowing they're writing a blog that all of the people they know can read?

Think I'd prefer them to write on paper and then blog it up or print it in a book later if they're that way inclined. Wouldn't you?

Matthew said...

This raises similar issues to the question of whether or not prisoners should have the right to vote.

In my view, the state is perfectly entitled to deprive prisoners of both the right to vote and the right to blog. A prison sentence entails loss of freedom, and the state is entitled, within limits to stipulate what freedoms it wishes to deprive the prisoner of.

But that doesn't mean that it should. I'm not sure that denying prisoners either the right to vote or their freedom of speech does anything to enhance the deterrent effect of the sentence. So who benefits?

Both public debate in general and penal policy in particular would probably be better if the people at the receiving end of prison sentences had a louder voice in the process.

Rich T said...

Murder covers a wide range of killing. From mercy killings through to the Rose West's of this world. How are you going to draw the line there?

The legal position is:
"under English law, a convicted prisoner, in spite of his imprisonment, retains all civil rights which are not taken away expressly or by necessary implication . . ."
Raymond v Honey [1983] 1 AC 1, 10.

Free expression in this context is invaluable for casting light on miscarriages of justice and ill treatment in what are by definition closed institutions.

You might like to read Simms v Home Secretary (1999).

Of course if the posting is being used for coded messages then it can be lawfully stopped. But otherwise it might help with the reform and rehabilitation of offenders. Presumably we don't want people reoffending when released?

strapworld said...

I am an old man. I am disabled. I need my wife who cares for me. My link to the outside world, when I am not driven out of my shang-ri-la here in Wales, is the computer and the internet.

Many old people do not have internet access. They have the ever rising fuel bills to contend with.On a state pension, with of course the winter fuel allowance.

I doubt that this prisoner has to pay towards his keep! Indeed the taxation on my pension goes, in part, towards keeping this man in the lap of luxury which our modern prisons have become.

More importantly the innocent victim of his crime cannot blog! He/She is dead. Killed by this individual, whom I am sure,
weeping liberals will want to release before he has served ten years imprisonment.

This is our modern penal system. Computers etc for inmates.Colour televisions, DVD's of any film. And drugs can be supplied if they want them!

They are fed far better than NHS patients, indeed their treatment is better.That was reported on quite recently.

Now I am not a 'lock em up and throw away the cell key'individual. BUT there has to be some punishment and just placing them in prison is no punishment.

Prison should be a place nobody would want to return to.

As it is, I am sure there will be many pensioners who would gladly swop places with this prisoner, and enjoy free meals, free accomodation and no bills for electricity, gas, water and heating!

Let the punishment fit the crime? This makes a mockery of the word 'justice'

Anonymous said...

according to the header of the blog, he blogs 'via Royal Mail and the kind efforts of friends'. So if anyone tries to argue that he shouldn't be allowed to blog, what they are saying is that he shouldn't be allowed to write letters, which all prisoners are allowed to do. Or that his friends, who aren't prisoners, shouldn't be allowed to blog.

Which would be an odd argument. Though I don't doubt that someone will try to make it on the specious grounds that he seems to enjoy blogging and therefore should have it taken away from him.

canvas said...

It's a very tricky problem. I don't know enough about the current laws, rules and regulations to be able to form a solid opinion...but my initial instincts tell me that anyone in prison for a violent crime should not be allowed access to the internet.

I know many say that the purpose of prison is to punish but also to rehabilitate - but there are certain privileges that violent convicts simply don't deserve.

Anonymous said...

Given that if we had justice in this country most murders would be hanged, it follows that in the meantime justice dictates they should be maintained in as near-death a condition as possible.

Eddie said...

This idea that prison is simply about a loss of liberty, and nothing else... Is it an urban myth that the liberals encourage the perpetuation of?

Is it set down in law somewhere?

It is often repeated, but my guess is that it is a fallacy that has been allowed to become the accepted view.

Anyone know?

Newmania said...

Iain,how can you even think of reading the whiney self justifications of a murderer inflicted on the parents and relatives of the cold meat left over from his evil. Such a blog is not far off a snuff movie and the possibilities of profit are to sickening to even think of .This is why we ought have the death penalty.
It would be nice to read the blog of a murder victim ...Until that happens ....NO NO NO

Philipa said...

I think prisoners should be allowed to write/post letters and there is no reason why someone else shouldn't blog those. RichT has a point. However, Strapworld also has a point and I agree with it - computer technology should not be made available free to prisoners. I think there is a debate that could be had on whether they have TV and a gym. A library and some useful work would surely be more effective in rehabilitation?

AMW said...

No way, think of the damage they could do to innocent people on the outside.

We saw the damage Derek Draper caused and that tit wasn't even in prison.

Simon Gardner said...

But can it really be right for someone who has committed a crime so heinous as being a Tory to be able to share his thoughts with the world like this?

Anonymous said...

As long as the blog is checked by the authorities before the release button is pushed, I don't have a problem with it. If it's constructive and thought provoking, then maybe it could do some good. I guess it depends who's doing the blog - someone who is genuinely remorseful, which would be fine, or an evil, hardened lag who is beyond help, which would be no use to anyone. I'm of the opinion that while prison is of course there to help rehabilitate, the criminals must also realise that the loss of rights and liberties is all part of the punishment. If they can't handle that, then don't commit the crime!

Ben said...

There's a practical consideration here, surely. He's not blogging directly, so to prevent a free third party publishing his views (verbatim or otherwise) you would have to prevent him from having any contact with the outside world, whether through phone calls, mail or visits.

sgl said...

Killed his friend at 14, 30 years in prison.

Earned o levels, a levels,a degree, MA, now studying for a phd.

Why's he still inside

WIlliam Blakes Ghost said...

I think the answer to find the answer to this question is to answer the question of whether prisoners allowed to communicate with the outside world?

Of course they are - through visits and traditional mail and telephone. From this perspective it seems difficult to argue that they should be denied the ability to communicate by other means. However the key issue is that all these forms of communication are controlled to some extent (or they used to be).

So consequently it seems to me that such communication should be restricted and controlled in the same manner as other methods of communication.

Of course this puts yet another overhead upon the Prison administration and probably an unwelcome and costly one so I can only suggest that whilst it may be allowed that in some other way an inmates communications privileges (let them choose which they lose) are reduced in order to keep the task of administering Prisons rational?

After all they are inside as a punishment and as such they should not expect to have the freedoms they might expect outside.

Daz said...

If this prisoner IS doing it through snail mail to friends, then that's fine. I don't think prisoners should have access to the internet though. That would just make life too comfortable.

IanVisits said...

I do have some concerns about unfettered communications between prisoners and "other people", as it can and often has been abused.

However, I think the upside of letting us laypeople see what life is like inside a prison, its problems and how things work is not only useful, but indeed, vital.

Every time I have visited a court for one of their periodic open days, I have come away both awed and depressed.

I think more people should be as informed.

Incidentally, for London residents, the Greenwich Magistrates' Court will be open to the public on 19th Sept, and four of London's Familiy Courts will have open days on 10th Oct.

Frank said...

The very fact that this topic is under discussion is a powerful arguement for the death penalty.

Chris Nicolson said...

The few comments that have criticised this prisoner being allowed to blog have only made one thing clear: they haven't bothered to read what they are criticising.

As other commenters have pointed out, he blogs by sending letters to his friends who post them on the site.

Far from "weeping liberals will want to release before he has served ten years", he has been imprisoned for 30years for a crime committed when he was 14 years old.

He has no internet access, his TV rights are earned through good behaviour and cost him two fifths of his £2.50/week income. I think you need to stop reading the Daily Mail.

Anonymous said...

Aren't there security risks too?

Such as?

British MPs blog; and I do not recall you questioning whether their blogging efforts pose any "security risks".

This, despite the fact that it is politicians who take us to war, politicians who steal our money, politicians who introduce illiberal and disgusting laws which are not merely eroding, but removing forever our rights to privacy; and it is politicians who are behind so much else that makes life so utterly fucking miserable in 21st century "Great" Britain.

The "risks" involved in allowing prisoners to blog pale into insignificance against the (continuing) destruction brought upon us by the "honourable members".

Uncle Bob said...

I'm not in favour. This prisoner has committed one of the most serious crimes. The only communication he should have with the outside world are through letters and visits. Not only his physical liberties should be denied but also his intellectual ones too, I am in favour of a far more spartan prison lifestyle. I know people who have been sent to prison and some of them treat it as little more than a locked in holiday camp. One lad who is a brother of a girl I know actually enjoys going in 'so I can concentrate on my weights and come out ripped!' and brags about his time like it's some sort of badge of honour. Most prisoners have it far too easy in this country and are also sentenced to far too short a time. A large reason for that is because there are so few prison places yet the government has been reluctant to create new facilities even though they haven't somehow miraculously eliminated crime.

ToryHome said...

Most definitely, ANY convicted criminal should not be allowed to use the internet, let alone allowed to do his own blog.
(Whatever next? The'll be allowed to watch TV soon!)

A criminal's physical freedom was taken away from him/her as a punishment as well as to protect the public from further criminality.

Allowing a prisoner to blog is granting him a right to communicate to a wider audience and is therefore an intellectual freedom which should also be denied as part of the punishment. (Letter writing is not in the same league and in any case recipients can be restricted).

Too many times you read about the criminals rights and not enough about the effect those criminals have on the victims and their families.

trevorsden said...

Should a crude mass murderer, a child murderer, a rapist or violent criminal be allowed to blog?

I suggest any such 'privilege' should be earned not given as a right.

A prisoner is entitled to his civil rights (like he should be fed and not beaten up or kept incommunicado) but it is not a civil right to have a blog which many free individuals cannot afford and allow you in effect an unlimited platform to spout any old load of self justifying rubbish.

I can understand prisoners writing letters but I would imagine that is not an unlimited not an uncensored privilege.

All in all the notion is a sick joke on society by lefty apologists for criminals. It is of course society which is really guilty, we the running dogs of capitalism are to blame for crime and criminals.

JuliaM said...

"In my view, the state is perfectly entitled to deprive prisoners of both the right to vote and the right to blog."

Seconded.

"I'm not sure that denying prisoners either the right to vote or their freedom of speech does anything to enhance the deterrent effect of the sentence. So who benefits?"

We do.

Anonymous said...

Given that if we had justice in this country most murders would be hanged,

that's not a given.


it follows that in the meantime justice dictates they should be maintained in as near-death a condition as possible.

no it doesn't.

Logic = not your strong point.

jailhouselawyer said...

The legal position is covered by the Human Rights Act 1998 and Article 10 of the European Convention which permits freedom of expression.

The MoJ is way behind and the prisoners way in front in relation to the new media.

A security implication which the MoJ is aware of and attempting to stop is prisoners acess to mobile phones. Some of these have internet acess. Recently, a prisoner ordered a murder from his cell on a mobile phone. I do not condone this. But, security is not the issue with Ben's Blog. He is acting legally, the MoJ acting unlawfully trying to gag him.

Rich T: I followed and expanded on Sim, in the case mentioned in the Guardian article.

Penfold said...

Crime and Punishment.

Commit crime lose your freedom and do the punishment.

Crims should not have any rights to do anything other than suffer and atone for their wrongs.

This country has become far too lenient and in the thrall of the social re-engineers who try to ascribe crime to social ills and imbalances. Criminals do crime because they want to and because its the easy route to money for drugs etc.

Time for a seachange and real punishment, combined with forced de-toxing for addicts and proper probation to ensure re-offending is minimised.

As for the industry that has grown out of penal reform, it needs to be told to eff off.

Joe Public said...

There was me thinking prisons are a punishment for criminals.

What next, TV & Play-Stations?

Iain there are law-abiding citizens in this country who can't afford the Internet, so find it impossible to blog.

Joe Public said...

jailhouselawyer said...

"The legal position ....... permits freedom of expression."

So, let them stand in their cell & talk to the wall.

The internet & blogging is a privilege; crims in custody don't deserve it.

Newmania said...

Killed his friend at 14, 30 years in prison.

Earned o levels, a levels,a degree, MA, now studying for a phd.

Why's he still inside



Why is his friend still dead ?

Verity said...

Simon Gardner - You diminish the murder victim and his/her family with your repulsive post.

I am with Strapworld, Newmania and JuliaM.

Yes, this man has been banged up for a crime he committed when he was 14, and has clearly been diligent about getting an education, but he's an exception. Most are not so diligent and were banged up after several run-ins with the law. They should receive no privileges except the privilege of food and exercise and a place to sleep.

Anonymous said...

Should a crude mass murderer, a child murderer, a rapist or violent criminal be allowed to blog?

oh, FFS.

He's. Not. Blogging.

He is writing letters to his friends, who aren't murderers. They do the blogging.

Whether you like it or not is immaterial.

Pam Nash said...

Having read, since Iain's post, articles on that blog, I would like to know more about Ben Gunn. There's a link on his blog to a bio http://bit.ly/14vgtr and that says he’s served 29 years when the recommended tariff at sentencing was 10 years; that’s a substantial difference in time served, which would, possibly, indicate severe transgressions whilst in prison?

JailHouseLawyer, can you shed any further light on the reasons for this? I am, genuinely, curious. It would help me to understand his position in greater depth and, as such, assist me in taking a more informed view.

Grump to Inspire said...

I get the feeling from you blog Iain that you are uncomfortable with an inmate blogging. I am too; however, if he is sending his blog snail mail then he is within the rules. The biggest irony has to be that you have now stated on a subsequent blog that Jeffrey Archers Prison Diaries is one of the most influential books on yourself. Did he not have these dispatched whilst incarcarated?

jailhouselawyer said...

Pam Nash:I know Ben having served time with him in two prisons. However, without acess to his parole dossier I am not in a position to give the official reason. What is plain, those prisoners who are a thorn in the side of the prison authorities, like Ben is, are given "extra-judicial" longer punishments. I had to sacrifice 10 years for my legal challenges. The Bulger killers got out on tariff, but they never challenged the authorities.

Mostly Ordinary said...

If he is writing letters that are then being published surely that is okay? Don't see what the fuss is, he doesn't have Internet access and lives in a concreate box.

Carl Gardner, Head of Legal said...

My take is a bit different. I don't really mind whether this is permitted - but if the government permits this, then prison officers should also be able to blog on the same terms. I expect at the moment a prison officer would be sacked by the Prison Service if he or she did write a blog, and would be outed by the Times, and perhaps sacked, if they tried to do it anonymously.

As for human rights, of course article 10 guarantees freedom of expression, as John Hirst says - but of course it's not an absolute right, as Max Mosley's case showed. Certainly if there are security concerns this would justify preventing his blogging - whether there are, or whether anything could actually be done to restrain blogger.com, I don't know.

Verity said...

Re the absurdly named Jailhouse Lawyer's post (jailhouse lawyer is an American term and this wanabee has never even been to the US and will never be going).

This fellow we're discussing committed a capital crime at the age of 14. People of that age have a chance of learning and changing.

You were an adult - I can't remember how old you were - when you "manslaughtered" your landlady with an axe because she left the lid of your jar of marmalade.

And yet you are out and he is in.

Rich T said...

For anyone interested in tariffs for murder take a look at this. Notice how the judges are firmer than the posturing pigmies that purportedly run this place.Probably because they have sat through the trial, seen the offender and are appraised of all the facts.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_prisoners_with_life_tariffs

From my limited experience of visiting prisons they are emphatically not hotels. Not that they should be. But they should be humane and decent.Penal populism may feel good, but it does little all to reform or rehabilitate offenders. The end result of populism will in all probability be a king size mess as they have in California.

Churchill put it so well, and he should have known having been locked up himself: 'The treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of the civilization of any country.'

Anonymous said...

When did Verity get early release?

Hamish said...

Let them blog; nobody needs to read them.
But please don't let them comment on other blogs.
We have enought trolls already.

jailhouselawyer said...

Hamish: I get them commenting on my blog and even seen them comment on Iain's but I have yet to see them trolling. Why spoil verity's bit of fun? They tend to be serious commenters.

Houdini said...

Why's he still inside

Why is his friend still dead?

I wish I had access to the best of everything, and could afford to study and feed myself and family, along with keep a roof over their heads, while doing it.

Houdini said...

However, without acess to his parole dossier I am not in a position to give the official reason.

So what is the unofficial reason?

What is plain, those prisoners who are a thorn in the side of the prison authorities, like Ben is, are given "extra-judicial" longer punishments.

So sentences can be summarily extended and even trebled because a prisoner is a thorn in the side of the prison authorities? Rubbish, and you know it. What are you hiding on Gunns behalf Hirst?

I had to sacrifice 10 years for my legal challenges.

Liar.

You sacrificed ten years because you were and are a very nasty piece of work prone to very nasty outbursts that saw you get further time.

The Bulger killers got out on tariff, but they never challenged the authorities.

Ahhhh, so you and Gunn are hard done to?

This is the unacceptable face of scumbags being allowed a voice. You were given a fuirther and longer sentence because you were a very nasty piece of work who never showed any compassion or regret to murdering the little old lady who had shown you compassion and took you in. Try explaining what Gunn did to the audience here, and also try explaining the further charges he faced while inside? Not want to?

Neither you or Gunn are victims; you both thoroughly deserved what you got, and more if there was real justice.

The victims are what count here, not the people who made them.

Houdini said...

They tend to be serious commenters.

Anyone capable of repeatedly smashing an old ladys head in with an axe while she lies on a sofa is bound to be a serious commenter.

Anonymous said...

and the opportunity for a genuine discussion, which prisonerben invited in his post, has been lost amongst mindless and pointless invective. It says something when the murderer contributes a more thoughtful post than some who are commenting upon it!

jailhouselawyer said...

Houdini: You come across as a very bitter, twisted and ignorant individual.

I note "Why's he still inside" is missing a question mark, it's a question which needs answering. You have failed miserably on this point. Instead you ask the stupid question "Why is his friend still dead?". Because dead is dead, it's final, and nobody has yet invented a way to bring the dead back to life. Satisfied?

Your diatribe continues: "So sentences can be summarily extended and even trebled because a prisoner is a thorn in the side of the prison authorities? Rubbish, and you know it. What are you hiding on Gunns behalf Hirst?". Yes. No. Nothing.

"Liar". Prove it, because I can prove that instead you are.

"Ahhhh, so you and Gunn are hard done to?". Yes.

"Neither you or Gunn are victims; you both thoroughly deserved what you got, and more if there was real justice.

The victims are what count here, not the people who made them". The ECtHR said I was a victim, as it's the highest court in Europe, obviously I am inclined to accept that reasoned judgment above your ignornce of the subject. It could well be that Ben is a victim too, especially if our claims are valid. Whilst we deserved life sentences, we did get more but this is not justice but instead injustice. There's a difference. As it happens, I am reliably informed, Ben intends to post on the subject of victims today. That could be quite interesting, and may get the Daily Mail lot up in arms! I am glad you said it's the victims that count here. Every prisoner who serves more than is warranted is a victim.

Houdini said...

As usual, the long diatribe of nothing but breast beating on how hard done to by the system John Hirst and his murdering friends are, and of course careful avoidance of any admittance of remorse and apology to the victims. You Hirst have even said your murdered victim deserved what she got, and fairly recently, so you should still be inside. However, some of us do have experience of the system but don't shout about it because we recognise we deserved what we got.

Also as usual hiding behind the ridiculous human rights acts and the ECHR to admit nothing but cry foul on your own behalf.

As for a murderer having a more considered view than most of us here...well, they have the time to make the considered view don't they? They also have the character.

For all those moaning about commenter's being a bit rabid I would ask; whether through a blog and discussions from inside, or after release and whining constantly, how many further victims are their human rights worth and how much more pain is their victims to go through?

Surreptitious Evil said...

Ah yes, Article 10. Let's actually have a look at HRA98, Schedule 1, s10.2:

"The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of ... public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime"

Hmm, penalties and restrictions. Like on, let's see, convicted criminals in prison? So, maybe, it would not be an HRA offence to deny prisoners access to blogging. So Hirst's immediate "murderers have all the rights" reaction is completely consistent and consistently wrong.

Separate from the is he / isn't he blogging query (he isn't, somebody is on his behalf - but that doesn't stop it breaking Prison Service rules), can blogs cause a security risk? Well, yes. In both a technical and a societal sense.

Covering the latter first, clearly you can send coded messages via any form of communication. Prisoners are allowed to communicate, even if it may be subject to monitoring, therefore we have to accept that risk generally. I don't see why blogging increases that risk significantly.

In a technical sense - blogs can carry scripts (all the little blogger widgets) - therefore blogs can host malware. But I am assuming this was not Iain's question.

cassandra said...

Crime and punishment?

The state acting on behalf of the people defines what constitutes a crime and what constitutes a punishment.
The issue has now become a social dilemma for us all, do we punish criminals or attempt a social reformation both within and without a custodial enviroment.
What consitutes punishment in a modern society?
Hard labour,bread and water regimes,physical punishment such as beatings?(it didnt work before)
A criminal chooses to be a criminal, the choice is simple apart from mental defectives of course.
A rapist chooses to rape, a killer chooses to kill, a thief chooses to steal, a conman chooses to fleece people, a violent bully chooses to batter people.
The victims of this free choice of the criminal have to suffer, the victim has no free choice, they are made to suffer for the free choice of the criminal.
An OAP battered senseless for their savings has their life ruined yet the criminal can fully expect a defined limit on the consquences of their actions. Where the victim often suffers for the rest of their lives IF they live through the attack the criminal has no such life sentence inflicted.
A killer ends the life of not only the victim but effectively destroys the lives of the victims family, a young woman murdered is deprived of any children so in effect the murder of a young woman could in fact deny the lives of many.
Reoffending rates are high, criminals are often free to ruin the lives of yet more innocent victims, these and previous victims had no choices, the victims simply were forced to be victims.
The vast law abiding majority wish to live their lives in safety and peace, asking only that their elected representatives ensure as much as possible that the tiny criminal minority cannot inflict their criminality on them and where criminals are caught due care is taken to prevent those criminals from further crimes.
Where a criminal can be reformed that is to be welcomed as long as they pay the price of their crime in full to the victim, where a criminal cannot be reformed but chooses instead to reoffend and shows no sign of real remorse they should be locked away for as long as it takes to reform them, time limits on sentences should reflect the reformation of the criminals character, set time limits often hinder the chances of those criminals who wish to reform and assist those criminals who wish to continue their crimes, a way must be found to assist the former and hinder the latter!
Its interesting to note that unlimited time sentences with release dependent on character reform tend to produce more real prisoner reform and rehabilitation, reoffending rates are much lower because they will only ever be released when the criminal shows real remorse.

jailhouselawyer said...

Houdini cannot escape from Ben's Blog latest post...

Bloody Victims!

Chris Paul said...

For goodness sake. "Lord" Archer was allowed to write complete drivel as a prisoner - same old, same old it's true - AND to keep the proceeds of his crime and punishment.

I've no idea what this man did to whom etc but there are plenty of prisoners on short-ish sentences who are evil and likely to be ongoing criminals and they might use a blog to send code etc. But they're unlikely to have anything much to blog.

And there are plenty of lifers whose killing or whatever was either an extraordinary uncharacteristic one off or by reason of treatment or rehabilitation completely a thing of the past.

And then there's that extremely violent chap who draws extremely crappy drawings and seems to have several websites.

Hamish said...

Jailhouse lawyer,
I have just followed your link and read the article 'Bloody victims'.
I made me feel physically sick.

jailhouselawyer said...

Hamish: You are the victim of a weak stomach unless it is all in the head. I think it is a thought provoking piece.

Something to do with "Wood" & "Trees" said...

Newmania, "It would be nice to read the blog of a murder victim ...Until that happens ...."

How would that be transmitted then, by 'Ether'net?

On a more serious note: Strapworld.

This guy says everthing that needs to be said. End of.

John Cooper said...

http://erwinjames.co.uk/

Any of you read the Erwin James column in the Guardian taht ran for over a decade?

Gaol doesn't stop people being human. Murder is a vile thing but noone deserves to loose all their liberties for life.

I'm impressed by the inginuity of the individual by their use of Royal Mail and hope that through the blog we'll go from the usual Daily Mail screamer headlines (eg Shock as Prison allows daylight in) to honest reflections on prison life.

With Regards

John

Anonymous said...

hamish, are you sure that wasn't your stupidity fighting free from your body? Or do you think that victims should determine criminal justice policy? Though hearing that argument from a murderer was 'interesting'. The man has some stones, i will give him that!

Houdini said...

And still he says nothing and refuses to apologise or admit remorse.

I read the post, which is self serving and obviously designed to appeal to people who are not victims, and therefore incapable, of rational thoughts on what should constitute justice.

You and Ben spent time in jail over and above your allotted times, which were actually not allotted but minimum tariffs, because you were completely unrepentant and therefore seen as a further danger to the public; how can you be anything but a danger when you refuse to recognise you did anything wrong and refuse to acknowledge any remorse? You still EVEN NOW refuse to admit your crime was wrong and refuse to apologise; you and Ben seem to hate the victims and portray yourselves as the victims.

You should still be in jail along with your mate. Only when you show real remorse and can recognise what you did as a crime against another human being, when serving a minimum tariff, can you be considered no longer a danger, and let free.

You will no doubt prevaricate and accuse others of attacking poor, unrepentant John and Ben as right wing rabid fanatics, but the truth is recognised by many as plain.

Anonymous said...

houdini, you seem to know a lot about ben. Please tell us you have some facts to back up the ranting?

jailhouselawyer said...

I am grateful to Iain for the publicity he has given to Ben, who I might add is deserving of the reognition.

It is not right to write off someone for one act of violence, even if it did prove fatal. Ben has turned his life around inside against the system. He deserves credit for that. It is so easy to become angry, bitter and twisted.

At a time when some would advise he keeps his head down, he sticks it above the paraphet. Iain says he says interesting things. He does. Is that a crime?

Now Ch4, the BBC and Sunday Times are interested in learning more. The issues need a serious airing.

Houdini: You cannot escape your chains of ignorance. Are you jealous by any chance that your blog is not worth a mention?

Houdini said...

houdini, you seem to know a lot about ben. Please tell us you have some facts to back up the ranting?

What ranting? Mind you I suppose it is usual for a supporter of things like Hirst to call anyone with a differing view a ranter.

As to Hirst:

I am grateful to Iain for the publicity he has given to Ben, who I might add is deserving of the reognition.

What seems obvious just reading these few posts of yours is that you and your killer pal consider the only people capable of deciding your tariff and time inside as you yourself. The system is evil, the justice meted out is wrong, victims are evil, you are good and have been wronged.

Houdini: You cannot escape your chains of ignorance. Are you jealous by any chance that your blog is not worth a mention?

Keep saying that and perhaps a few will believe it, and I don't need a blog that is even read to feel validated as a decent human being. You keep telling yourself that you are a victim as a way of trying to validate your miserable existence and wasted life if that is how you get through the day, but I would advise it would be better to confront your demons and emerge a better and decent human being, but somehow I doubt whether your own over-weaning arrogance, carefully honed over so many decades, would allow that.

You have still carefully avoided any notion of remorse or even empathy with your victim, and I don't suppose that has been missed by the readers.

I have now wasted enough time with you.

cassandra said...

The given by JHL to Bens blog and a post entitled 'bloody victims' is reason why unrepentent criminals shouldnt be given the privilige of blogging, reading it made me quite ill!
This Ben character shows all the signs of being proud of his chosen life path, those meddlesome victims eh? I mean who do they think they are eh? Bloody victims poking their noses in where they dont belong.
It seems our proud criminal actually resents and despises his victims, after all they were 'weak' and they 'failed' didnt they?
I get the distinct feeling that 'Ben&Co' hate the victims because they feel that the victims are in fact to blame for their incarceration, I mean if the victim(s) hadnt provoked/angered/enraged them or if the victims hadnt existed in the first place there would be no crimes would there?
It seems our Ben harbours a grudge against his 'persecuters' perhaps Ben feels he is the real genuine victim and the so called victim(s)/family are even now taking evil pleasure and gleefull selfish satisfaction at Bens awfull suffering, its just not fair is it Ben!

Anonymous said...

cassandra, did we read the same post?? All ben said is that victims shouldnt have a veto on policy. You attribute lots of motives to him, put words in his mouth, all from your own imagination. So, should victims determine policy? Fair question, i thought.

Anonymous said...

hang on, i have been reading ben gunn's comment on the insidetime.org site for ages. So how is a blog any different?

Rebel Saint said...

Wasn't "Pilgrims Progress" written by someone banged up in Bedfordshire County Gaol?

Marky said...

Other than being treated well and allowed visits from close relatives, criminals should be treated as civil dead.

jkisinnocent said...

Since I was posting daily from 2001 you'd better tell Ben he was not the first but I love him anyway.

Houdini said...

So, should victims determine policy? Fair question, i thought.

Only a victim can quantify the amount of suffering they have been forced to endure, so yes, they should.

You honestly think that killers with a persecution complex and who refuse to admit guilt or display and admit any remorse should be allowed to dictate policy as displayed here by Hirst and this Ben?

They are claiming they are the victims and the victims of their terrible crimes should be disallowed from making judgements.

Now that is sickening.

Anonymous said...

sorry, when exactly did ben refuse to admit guilt or remorse?