Thursday, October 02, 2008

Why Some Workers Like Prison

"A retired judge, Sir Holman Gregory, is writing articles on crime for the Sunday Dispatch....he admits that some workers commit crimes because their lives when at 'liberty' are worse than in prison:- Their lives when free are so drab and cheerless that a few months' imprisonment with regular food, under the care of a medical officer, is a relief. "

The above is taken from the September 1938 Socialist Standard. Over seventy years later, long after the Dispatch's demise, some workers exist in such intolerable conditions that life in prison is considered preferable. The recent news item titled Turkish beggars plead for return to jail in Spain is just one example of many. More and more of the have nots are being imprisoned. Millions more die every year of poverty-related causes in this world of abundance. Even the most basic needs of many go unmet, and this despite the explosion in the number of charities. But this is to be expected, as the penal system and the charity industry deal with effects, not causes. News that these bedfellows are becoming even more entwined should come as no surprise. Take for example the report last month titled Charities bid to help build prisons.

For all the well-intentioned but misguided effort that goes into charity, the task, it has to be realised, is Sisyphean. Only in a Socialist world will both these permanent features of capitalism be cast into the dustbin of history.

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