Well everyone, here is a picture of the Christmas Cakes we never got before Christmas. Corrections informed us the day before Christmas that they were “out of stock”. This is despite them being pre-ordered by the men well in advance and knowingly available at many stores, even after Christmas.
The Cakes averaged up to $3 – 5 more for the men to buy them from Corrections and as some of the men are on the minimum rate of $2.72 a week they saved for a very long time to be able to afford them.
$2 a week goes out for the hireage of the TV’s so that was a lot of weeks the men sacrificed other items to be able to have the cake.
Its not the cake itself that is most important, but what it means to the men in here. Its a human reminder of home and family and Corrections themselves know that connections to family and humanity keep people from committing even more crimes in here, and out, or worse still taking their own lives.
Something Corrections likes to keep very quiet… the growing number of suicides inside the Prison walls.
Despite this latest bungle the men here cooked their own cakes and made their own ice-cream.. prison recipe of course, using what they had at hand and felt appreciative that Corrections reversed its original decision and allowed them to be unlocked to be able to call loved ones at home.
We all know these problems aren’t just affecting the men in here, these problems are rife in society as a whole. Lets not forget that many of the underlying reasons these men started on the path they are on is because of the factors in our society which are known to make a person more likely to commit crime.
Poverty, poor health, violence, State care, Poor housing, low wages.
No excuses for the crimes committed, yet it’s evidenced in other countries that when you address the societal factors which lead people to desperate acts to feed their family, the crime and imprisonment rates drop and the whole of society becomes happier and healthier.
Its more than a Christmas Cake, its a demonstration of the value these men place on their families and a small slice of humanity and how little Corrections can see how important that is.
Arthur Taylor is TDBs blogger inside prison – he is a prisoner rights activist.