what rights does one have when one is imprisoned and also happens to be vegan? here are some links that provide information about what is, or might soon be, available to vegan prisoners in the UK, and some info about, you know, human rights and stuff:
~ article from Telegraph;
~ VPSG website;
there’s a lot to digest here… it’s a complicated issue. frankly, this doesn’t seem to be black and white to me, and i’m not sure how i feel about it. i think we’re going to start seeing a trend here as far as how it is i go about posting, but, really, this brings forth a lot of questions. namely, what exactly is the purpose of imprisoning someone? to what end is the system working toward, and is the system effectively achieving that end? are we seeking to reform these individuals? are we seeking to punish them? or are we seeking to isolate them from a society in which they fail to function at a level at which they are not a danger to themselves or others?
if imprisonment is all about punishment, then i would suppose providing prisoners with vegan or fair trade chocolates would be absolutely ridiculous. but it doesn’t seem ethical to me to create a system into which the citizens of the world pump millions upon millions of dollars solely for the purpose of making someone’s life miserable. i was, in my half-hearted, incredibly lazy attempt at research, not able to find any statistics on the world’s prison population that detailed exactly what it is people are being imprisoned for, but… isn’t it true that a lot of these folk are probably imprisoned because they stole a car or something? i mean, i would be totally pissed if someone stole my car, but i don’t think that means they should have every human right stripped from them. on the other hand… murderers? rapists? child molesters? i’m absolutely on board for these folk to have everything taken away from them; chances are, they took everything away from someone else, and you bet if someone hurt someone i love in this fashion, i would be out for blood. maybe that’s not very ‘liberal’ of me, but it’s the truth, and i would probably be absolutely livid were i to discover that the man who raped my sister or the woman who molested my son was being provided these amenities for which people ‘on the outside’ have to work so hard. that being said… i’m having a difficult time imagining a vegan rapist, and maybe that’s also totally off, but, sort of strange, don’t you think?
essentially, if the goal of the prison system is to rehabilitate, which i think it should be in those circumstances in which rehabilitation is an option, ain’t nothin’ wrong with giving them law-breakin’ vegans something to hold on to. i work for a transitional home for ‘at-risk’ teens – they get to leave the house and use the phone and smoke cigarettes, and i know how hard it is for them to be penned in… i can’t imagine how difficult it must be to literally be locked away from everything you once knew… if having a few creature comforts keeps your head screwed on tight, keeps you feeling like a person, then what’s the harm? even more importantly… let’s imagine we live in a world where the prison system actually does at least attempt to rehabilitate people – and, let’s imagine we had a bad day and we stole our ex-boyfriend’s car – and, let’s also imagine we got our ass busted for stealing that car, and we suddenly find ourselves locked behind bars. assuming that the act of rehabilitation has to focus on repairing or restoring or ’embiggening,’ if you will, one’s sense of mental health, or one’s sense of self… what’s to keep us interested or invested in rehabilitation if we have no control over our lives, and don’t have the ability to maintain at least some remote semblance of the self image we had before we made such a silly mistake? people are easy to break; it’s not a simple thing to keep the long-term effects of one’s actions in mind when one is trudging down a long, mundane, monotonous, soul-sucking path, and, it seems that not providing people with a few small things here and there might actually mean we’re pumping more money into the system, or that we are preventing people from having the ability to rehabilitate.
this is all theoretical. but that’s my schtick. it would be awesome to see some actual research about some of this, or to hear other people’s thoughts on the whole vegan prisoners thing.