Future Views Magazine
University Fees and Debt
Who is the main beneficiary of university education, the student, the employer or the nation?
Units of measurement and the end of space.
Six Point Pollution Solution
Part One: "Flowers In The City"
brighten our cities with many tiny garden?
Six Point Pollution Solution
Part Two: "The Transformation of Waste"
Instead of landfill, waste could be a valuable resource.
Hidden blueprints for the new cities of the sea.
Arabian Mights & Maybes
Plans for the future carefully copied by Brenda.
Arabian Might May Raise The Sea
Desalinated reverse rivers powered by nature
The Unpublished Manuscript
A hint as to what may lie in the future.
A curious twist to the laws of perception.
The Slop House
an alternative to the traditional public house
You Are A Winner
A willing victim is the best victim.
Maybe our prisons are not as wonderful as all that.
The Bright New Pants Manifesto
The hilarious solution to invevitable change
A raging argument is discovered
Prison For All?
Developing Euan's 'Slop House' ideas a little further and applying them in an unusual way.
"An Anthroposphical prison would incorporate all the principles used in schools and centres for the handicapped but applied to criminals instead," he enthused.
"Sounds very Christian,' Reinhardt said.
"What's wrong with that?" Euan replied, "Dr Steiner was very much a Christian himself."
"What do you mean?" I asked, "I don't quite follow."
"Very Christian, compassion for criminals," Reinhardt said.
"Oh I see," I replied, the penny had dropped.
"How would it work? What would it be like?" Reinhardt asked, "no doubt you have devised a kind of blueprint, or have you?"
"Oh yes," Euan chirped, adding, "well, kind of."
"Well?" Reinhardt challenged, looking at him with those famous raised eyebrows.
"Well," Euan let out a sigh as if embarking on a great marathon monologue. "First of all, we have to consider the principle that what we call 'criminality' is the product of what some sources call 'the false self' while others call it the product of 'error thinking'; the 'true', 'natural' or 'innermost ' self is always pure and innocent."
"We do?" I asked.
"OK, could. We could, if we wanted to." Euan smiled.
"And?" Reinhardt asked.
"And secondly," Euan said with dramatic emphasis, "we recreate ordinary life as it is in the real world, with bills, jobs, duties and interdependent, socially-inclusive activities. At the moment our prisons are run like hotels - everything is laid on."
"Pretty [expletive deleted] crummy hotels!"
"True, but prisoners are nevertheless served hand and foot."
"Put the buggers to work, that's the spirit," I joked.
"Thirdly," Euan continued undaunted, "they must be decriminalised."
"Well, yes," I said, "that's the whole point, isn't it?"
"No no, you don't understand. At the moment anyone who lands up in jail is a criminal. After your sentence is up this criminality is deemed to have expired, sort of - the criminal record remains. In other words, once a criminal, always a criminal and your record follows you about like a bad smell."
"You think convicted paedophiles should be allowed to work with children as if nothing had ever happened?" Reinhardt was incredulous.
"No no," Euan protested, "that's not what I mean. What I mean is the prisoners are treated with dignity and respect, the 'wardens' or staff do not look upon them with that evil eye of, 'I know what you've been up to.' Instead, everyone is given the benefit of the doubt and the way in which this is achieved is these 'prisons' are designed in such a cunning way that ordinary people actually pay to attend."
There was a moment of silence before Reinhardt and I spontaneously roared with laughter.
"Just because it's never been done before, just because you don't know what I'm talking about doesn't mean it won't work." Euan actually seemed rather annoyed.
"All right, carry on," I said.
"Instead of bunkers where we pack 'em in & stack 'em high, prisons would be villages surrounded by walls."
"Islands?" Reinhardt asked.
"Maybe. Instead of making them do menial chores like sewing mail bags they do a wide variety of work tailored to their temperament as well as participating in the day to day cleanliness and maintenance of the village."
"And where do non-criminal visitors come into this?" I asked.
"The range and scope of 'curative therapies' is such that people pay to attend, weekly courses, daily courses, month-long stays."
"You are out of your mind," I muttered. Reinhardt Laughed and shook his head, "that will never happen," he said. "Do you really think people will pay to spend four weeks rubbing shoulders with hardened criminals? When they come out they'll have no credit cards, no watches, no jewellery - even their identities will have been stolen and they could find they've lost their homes!" Reinhardt slapped his thigh. I was nodding and clicked my tongue.
Euan was silent, I looked out the window.
"Anyway," said Reinhardt, "continue."
Euan was disheartened but not defeated.
"The village offers a range of courses and services, prisoners and staff do not always know who is a paying guest and who is a sentenced crook. Everyone attends courses in self development and personal improvement, everyone does things like Tai Chi and daily chores. All these kinds of activities are of universal benefit, regardless of past actions."
We were silent, I was unconvinced.
"One of the reasons for turning to crime is exclusion. For some people 'Society' is a hostile conspiracy that robs individuals of their freedom, enslaving them to robotic, moronic strictures. Crime is their way of 'beating the system.' Punishment is humiliating, making people comply by breaking their spirit is not the ideal way to solve problems of behaviour."
"Nurture the good within?" Reinhardt suggested.
"Something like that," said Euan.
"You'll be calling them 'Your Lordship' next," I quipped.
Euan stabbed the air, "Exactly!" he exclaimed, "you took the words out my mouth."
Reinhardt and I exploded in disbelief.
"Imagine this: all kinds of riff-raff are brought in for crimes ranging from petty theft to robbery with violence. Instead of being berated all the time they are given titles and addressed as 'Sir,' it makes a difference. Do you like being called 'mate'? I know I don't. It shouldn't matter but such a detail can make a difference."
"People behaving according to what is expected of them?" Reinhardt asked.
"Something like that," Euan said.
"Ah yes but you're still talking about converting Rebels into obedient conformists," I said, "how do you do that without coercion?"
"Give a man a reputation to live up to, give him dignity and pride and he will avoid doing anything that might tarnish his reputation."
"You think you can do that in a prison?" Reinhardt exclaimed in disbelief.
"No, not in a prison but maybe in a supportive community," Euan replied, "the alternative is we chuck 'em in the dustbin."
"Death penalty for bank robbery?" I said.
"That's what some people today want to see," Reinhardt observed solemnly.
"You'll not be too popular," I said.
"You mean that our society is becoming more punitive, less tolerant, more vindictive, less forgiving?" Euan said.
"Rising expectations," said Reinhardt, "also materialism brings fear in its wake. People who have nothing are very different to those who own a lot. We would be different people if we owned properties and had high incomes."
Euan snapped his fingers, "that brings me onto another point," he exclaimed, "the, 'Anthroposophical Community'!"
Reinhardt and I both looked at him quizzically.
"Nobody owns anything, everyone owns everything," Euan was full of enthusiasm.
We were silent; "er, ye-s?" I asked after a moment.
"Later, let's go into that later."