Editorial: Prisoners’ rights

POSTED: 07/9/13 12:13 PM

Spending time in the Pointe Blanche prison as a non-paying customer is no walk in the park, but we learn now from a report by the Human Rights Board in the Netherlands that spending time at the prison in Bonaire is no pleasure cruise either.

St. Maarten, Curacao and Aruba were not part of the study, but the stark conditions in Pointe Blanche and especially the prison in Curacao are well-known.

Not all these conditions have to do with the physical state of buildings; the attitude of prison guards and management could also make a difference in the way inmates spend their days. This is of course a two-way street; the attitude of inmates also plays a part in it.

That prisoners have rights is not obvious to everyone. Even in parliament the prevalent opinion is that inmates ought to keep their heads down and take their punishment.

We disagree: taking someone’s freedom away is the punishment. Let’s not turn into barbarians by making the conditions behind bars inhumane.

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