I do not like the idea of incarcerating people at all. Depriving an individual of their liberty is something of an anathema to me.
However there are people amongst us who do not conform to the norms of civilized society and we have to signal our disapproval in some way. Floggings in the town square are out of favor in these enlightened times and anyway I think it is fairly well recognized that that sort of punishment is counter productive serving to make the anti social even more so.
Under Quaker(1) influence during the 19th century the emphasis on the administration of justice moved slowly towards the rehabilitation of offenders and away from the retributive aspect although both still exist in our system. The balance between the two is still subject of sometimes heated debate to this day.
And the discussion of prisoners, their rights and how much respect we should accord them is a matter of we will still be talking about for a long time to come.
Today it is the question of Prison marriages, raised by the Sunday Star times.
Apparently they have found there have been 18 such in the past three years.
On this my opinion is clear. If you have been deprived of your liberty for criminal activity it should mean just that. Your right to marry should be forfeit until you are released. As should all your civic rights such as voting.
Some of these marriages are just a sham anyway - the Sunday Times recalls Scott Watson has married and divorced whilst in prison, divorced because of his involvement with another woman. eh???????????
Interestingly enough canon law says that a marriage isn't complete until consummated so unless I've missed a trick Scott Watson's prison marriage was never a marriage. Such is the state of our prison system it wouldn't surprise me at all if it was consummated though, so I have probably have missed a trick somewhere as did the prison guards (or maybe not) if indeed this is the case.
We don't have an easy answer of how to deal with the anti-social but for goodness sake let's not pander to them. Let them earn the right to our respect before we do them any favors.
And if they have joined the ranks of the irredeemable well (expletive deleted) them.
(1) The Quakers while small in number have had a huge influence on how we have developed a more humane and civilized society.
I love and respect them for that.