Monday, February 13, 2012

Bar-L Museum

Derek McGill, governor of Scotland's most infamous prison, Barlinnie, , the Bar-L, said: "I would be sad to see Barlinnie completely demolished. There's a huge amount of history here. You could imagine them running tours. This could be the Alcatraz of Glasgow." showing how prisoners were treated from Victorian times to the present.
Barlinnie was criticised for its cramped accommodation. It was found to be more than 50% over capacity, with about 500 inmates more than it was designed for. Prison chiefs hope that the 130-year-old establishment will be replaced by a new building around 2020.

If only the rest of capitalism's structures can be turned into a museum exhibits


Tony S. said...

Can I ask the question, under real socialism would there be prisons or detention centers of some kind? How would the public be protected from the violent, the psychologically ill and the sexually perverted? Capitalism by its very nature creates crime and criminals. However I strongly believe that under any system there will be people that the public will need to be protected from. Yet it is very difficult to find any detail on how sexual predators and violent criminals will be managed. I look forward to your opinions on this.

ajohnstone said...

I think we can say with an amount of certainty that there would be secure establishments for the detention of high-risk individuals for the community's safety and their own.
The shape and form though is far from decided and will be subject to much debate and trial and error.
We can also say that those places of detention will not resemble the cages of capitalism and will be truly correctional and re-habilitation centres employing a selection of different approaches and therapies which will no longer be constrained by cost.

Socialism is no utopia, nor a panacea for everyone's personal problems and although much of the crime we see today will disappear with private property, we will still suffer the consequences of capitalism upon the individual's personality and character for some years.

Even many offences such as sexual ones can appear little related to capitalism but yet have been linked to feelings of powerlessness and the rape appears to be a "perverse" form of empowerment. As such we can see a reduction in such offences as our alienation is lessened.

Nor can we exclude mental illness or even crimes of passion from occurring. Perhaps as William Morris wrote in News from Nowhere our pity will be equally directed towards both the victim and the offender in the those.

Apologies if you haven't received a reply that is more definititive. Some things are just not capable of being decided beforehand, so just generalisations are possible. I think the literature of criminology and punishment currently has many alternative strategies to the ones used today and various communities will strive to incorporate the best of each.

Tony S. said...

Thank you for that reply, it is one of the most detailed comments on this subject that I have seen. How refreshing too that you state no doubt there will be a need for some form of protection provided to the public. It is amazing how many people shy away from such comments, how else do they believe the public would be protected from some very dangerous human beings?

I have heard it said that in such societies all needs would be catered for. I find this difficult to accept in some circumstances, especially in the case of child sex offenders. I cannot conceive how that would be done without creating victims.

It is the subjects like this that are a sticking point for many who then just resign themselves to maintaining the status quo as the only realistic option. However, by discussing the more difficult and sensative issues we will come up with a more realistic alternative.

The efforts of yourself and you're comrades now are the building blocks for a better future, thank you, Tony.

ajohnstone said...

Just want to add a further remark about some of the difficulties of trying to project the present upon the future.

In regards to child sex crimes i think it has been said that the majority of those occur WITHIN the family itself. Strangers carry out around 20 per cent of child sex offences and these are the cases often focused on in the media. However, the rest of child sex offenders are often a member of the family, a friend of the victim or a trusted friend of the victim’s family.(Many sex offenders are themselves children copy-catting adult behaviour, perhaps)

Again, once socialism is established there will be a time lag before its effects are fully felt throughout every aspect of daily social life but eventually every relationship will be transformed such as love and marriage and family!
Children will have the same economic independence through free-access as everyone else and will not be tied to the family structure for food and shelter. Some primitive communist societies children leave the home early and form their own sub-society. How this develops in socialism is again for speculation but personally i think it will empower children and give further protection.

From the Manifesto

"Abolition of the family! Even the most radical flare up at this infamous proposal of the Communists.

On what foundation is the present family, the bourgeois family, based? On capital, on private gain. In its completely developed form, this family exists only among the bourgeoisie. But this state of things finds its complement in the practical absence of the family among the proletarians, and in public prostitution.

The bourgeois family will vanish as a matter of course when its complement vanishes, and both will vanish with the vanishing of capital.

Do you charge us with wanting to stop the exploitation of children by their parents? To this crime we plead guilty."