The barbarity of life in the State Prison was beyond credibility. The prisoners unable to support themselves were kept on a diet of dried salt fish and only the guards had barrelled fresh water. The prisoners depended solely upon rock puddles for water so putrid that for a little more palatability they sucked it through porridge oats. In bad weather they starved until calmer seas allowed boats to land provisions and at the whim of the governor, a hated prisoner was confined in the lowest dungeon which was deathly cold from continuous sea spray. Those who did not perish in its vile and stinking cells suffered and died later from lung infections, fevers or rheumatic type ailments as freed men.
Some of the luckier ones were banished. Banishment, the removal of an individual from a community or state, together with the removal of his accompanying rights and privileges has been praticed all over the world before the birth of Christ. The Icelandic Sagas are full of examples; indeed, Leif Erickson was removed from his home as a child after his father had been banished for murder. As a punishment, it could be brutal and fatal. Those banished from communities were reduced to vulnerable penury, devoid of the luxuries of communal living, and the protection.
Ever been sent to your room for being naughty? How did it feel?
Those who become outlaws in our society nowadays benefit from the maturity and mercy of our society. Prisoners in this country enjoy opportunities that many are denied in freedom. Prisoners get a bigger budget (three times as much as hospital patients) for food. No longer are prisoners considered to go to prison as a "punishment", and certainly, their standard of living and care exceeds that of the poor in Britain.
And now, because the EU has decreed it, Prisoners in Britain are to be allowed to vote. It is considered to be contrary to their human rights if they are prevented. John Hirst, the convicted axe murderer and blogger (jailhouse lawyer) took the government to court on this issue - and won.
We have seen the erosion of sovereignty by the un-elected commisioners of the European Commision. This is merely their way of undermining the legitimate right of ordinary, law-abiding citizens to run their communities their way. Sooner or later, they will abolish voting altogether, so perhaps this is me ranting about nothing. It is not prisoners who lack a voice in society today, it is you and me.