Prison: Rehabilitation or Time out for Adults?

As always I want to give a new view on a much publicised news story. It seems no one has mentioned the major failure in this instance.

Yishai Schlissel, an Ultra-Orthodox Jew was sentenced to 12 years in prison back in 2005 for stabbing three people at a Gay Pride parade. After serving 10 years of this sentence he was somehow deemed fit for social interaction and released. Not long after his freedom was granted, he stabbed a further 6 people at the same parade in Israel. The prison system, in his case, was nothing more than a time out.

It is true that we find cases of drug rehabilitation, also cases of offenders who are shocked into normality by the difference of life inside a cell. The great work educators do to help those in need of more options in life is also frequently mentioned; more often than not we see radicalisation or a hardening of criminals.When we scrutinise the figures, especially in the west, prison offenders usually become repeat offenders & end right back in the hole. The system seems to take away any fighting chance of being a productive part of society. But aside from the many failings of the prison complex – Let us just quickly observe this case.

This man may well have been offered counselling in prison, or classes to help his anger; he could have been enrolled into a de-radicalisation program, of which I hear more and more recently. Either way, absolutely none of it has worked. I’m sure a few weeks of therapy cannot cure the many decades of religious conditioning and brainwashing this man has endured, but one would hope ten years to really think over your crime would be enough to bring about a more harmonious realization. Even in my darkest of days, when I feel utter contempt and hatred for someone, a few moments and some words of wisdom can always calm me down. How can this man let his hatred for gays stew for a whole decade without the taste fading?

Due to the rising wave of radical religious attacks (This guy-Jew//Breivik-Christian//vast  majority of terror attacks in last two decades-Muslims) (Notice how only one of these examples is bigoted & racist?) we need to find a new way of treating the illness of utter religiosity. Throwing someone in prison is not the cure for every crime, this is why medication and therapies have been adopted into the system – but this simply will not do. If anyone thinks putting a grown man, with deep & passionately held beliefs about killing gays for god, is going to do a 180 just by sitting in a room, then that person has a simplistic view of the human psyche.

Not only do we need a more thought-out approach to this problem, but it needs to be transparent, so we can all have a say in how effective the method may be – or how humane. Public money will be spent on it, so why not?

If this turns out to be a case where trying to take the religious fervor from a man is a human rights abuse, then I believe we need to re-asses human rights all together. We must also acknowledge that if a man is willing to:

A) Kill for God (which he was quoted as saying)

B) Believes fully in the barbarity & nonsensical claims of the Old Testement (snakes talk, sacrifice your children, women come from ribs)

C) Not able to change his mind or show remorse for his hate crimes, even after a ten year cooling period.

Then we have to admit, he is clearly psychologically damaged & needs not a prison but a mental institute, because I’m pretty sure another 20 years would do nothing for this man’s illness. One thing is for certain, if you brainwash children to think gays are an evil that must be killed in the name of god, those children will grow up to carry out the will of god, or support those who do.


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