Today’s Opinion: The carrot-experiment

POSTED: 06/3/11 7:05 PM

We remember from last year that a prison in Great Britain declared itself a smoke free zone and that this had a positive effect on the regional crime rate. Potential criminals were so scared to end up in a place where they are not allowed to get their shot of nicotine that they switched to more honorable careers.
Somehow this message did not reach Pointe Blanche, but to explain the roaring crime rate from this detail alone probably goes a bit far. The British initiative did reach New Zealand however, but we fear that the Kiwis did not fully understand it. All prisons and detention centers down under will become smoke free per July 1, but now the government wants to soften the blow in a most remarkable way.
Inmates will receive slices of carrot to help them get over their nicotine addiction. A memorandum that was leaked to media in New-Zealand states that it is possible to cut sixteen “sticks” from a large carrot.
The union for prison guards apparently supports the idea, because its president was quoted as saying that the point of the carrot-experiment is that smokers have something in their mouth. The union leader admitted that it was probably not the best idea, but that it was worth a try.
New Zealand media report that 70 percent of the 8,700 inmates in the country are smokers. They are not allowed to buy cigarettes anymore and from next month on cigarettes will be considered contraband.
We wish that Pointe Blanche director Ricardo bans ganja from the prison together with all tobacco products for all new prisoners. Applied effectively, it will probably make a lot of aspiring criminals to make a different career choice, or – even better – to emigrate to New Zealand if they are fond of carrots.

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