Brian Holden: It's time for our authorities to toughen up

By Brian Holden


What a botch-up. In the case of the Corrections Department, the head is well and truly off the chicken.


Somehow, after a long history of offences including cell destruction and escaping, New Zealand's most notorious "Houdini" prison escaper was placed in a supposedly non-destructible cell - only to smash it up.


The Department blew $180 grand refurbishing one of two cells in the Paremoremo maximum security prison.


But weekend before last, within hours of being placed there, surprise, surprise, Houdini ripped into it.


This time he was reported to have totally wrecked everything, including the "shatterproof" glass, with the help of a cover ripped from a security camera.


As well as blocking the sink to flood his cell, Houdini was also reported to have kicked a hole through one of the stainless steel-lined walls.


Abominable behaviour, yet the authorities reacted like wussies. The Auckland Prison acting manager describes the damage as "minimal".


Really? Well then why was a request refused to release photos of this "minimal" damage?


All we got was the usual "security is constantly being reviewed" crap and "Such actions by our prisoners are disappointing and disruptive - and repair costs are expected to be minimal in line with the damage."


Prison guards were also concerned that "If Forden [Houdini] had set the cell on fire, they wouldn't have been able to get him out."


Well, I say tough titty to that. If this character utilised his Houdini status, he would have been able to wriggle out somehow and if not - well, that's his problem.


Simple as that.


As I first said, when it comes to our country's attitude on true justice and how it wastes our money, the head is definitely off the chicken.


There is a thief in our neighbourhood and he has been working the area for several weeks.


Everyone knows who he is and notices have been distributed to letterboxes in the area.


His name is Louie and he is a cat, who specialises in collecting tea towels and face cloths.


Louie's owners, who live across the street from us, are so embarrassed about his behaviour that they decided to come clean and make everyone aware of the goings-on.


Investigations revealed that most of the stuff was being - and still appears to be - snatched from the laundry at number 60.


Ideally the thing to do would be to close all doors and windows into the house, but in this stinking hot weather, during the day that's hardly a realistic option.


Meanwhile, Louie's owners have taken the liberty of simply putting the stolen items into number 60's letterbox for retrieval rather than go through the humiliation of having to knock on their door every other day.


And while on the subject of cats, thumbs down to all the meanies who drove past a kitten lying badly injured in the middle of Malfroy Rd up near Pukehangi end.


It wasn't until my good friend Ronald came to the rescue that there was hope of another life for the little moggie. A mercy dash to the vet revealed that the kitten will make a full recovery.


So why did so many people ignore the kitten's plight, content to just let it lie in the middle of the road and suffer?

"Bystander Effect" - that's what is - where people will just stand there and do nothing, either because they believe that somebody else is more qualified to jump in and help, or simply not wanting to become involved.


Curiously when somebody does step up to finally help, others are then quick to do the same.


It's a funny old world.

 

- ROTORUA DAILY POST

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