Jails are going to the dogs – race-hate couple could finish up with puppy training duties

This looks like a good source of paper for wiping inmates' bums.

A nasty pair of southerners are being banged up for setting dogs loose on Asian people.

Jail, of course, is the best place for the buggers, although they will spend too little time there before being let loose.

Trouble is, our prisons are going soft and sappy.

Among other things, the couple could well finish up – good grief! – being given puppies to train.

Alf would not want to be a disabled person who was given a dog they had trained.

The couple’s callous crimes with canine accomplices are reported at Stuff –

Using dogs to attack Asian people in Christchurch streets have brought eight-month jail terms for a man and a woman, and death for their dogs.

Phillipa Ann Parker, 18, and her former boyfriend, Steven Brian Donaldson, 25, had both admitted the attacks had racial overtones.

Donaldson and Parker admitted assault charges and charges of assault using dogs as weapons.

Alf does not know all the evidence.

But the Stuff report paints the couple as a particularly unpleasant pair.

The judge said that Parker had yelled abuse at a Vietnamese man, told her dog to kill him, punched him and tried to hit him with a beer bottle.

When he took shelter in a shop, she stomped on the bags of groceries he had dropped, threw items at the shop door, and yelled for him to go back to his own country.

A few months later, the pair met a man from the Philippines and set their dogs on him in Lincoln Rd, Addington.

Parker let her dog off the leash to let it chase him. The dogs jumped up and tried to bite his shoulders.

A Japanese woman was then confronted nearby.

The dogs were encouraged to attack her while she huddled in a corner until other people arrived. She was taken to hospital for treatment for a bite wound and scratches.

Does anyone have a nice word for the buggers?

Oh, yes.

Presumably intended as part of an attempt to paint her client in as a caring individual, defence counsel Angela Grant said Parker visited her dog every day in the pound until it was put down.

Donaldson’s lawyer, Jeff McCall, likewise said his client had a real affection for his dog and did not consent to its destruction.

The judge said the main purpose of the sentencing was deterrence.

Jailing them both for eight months, the judge said: “Your actions haven’t done New Zealand’s image any credit at all in the international field.”

Alf will be having a chat with Anne Tolley, our Corrections Minister, to urge her intervention to ensure the couple don’t become prison puppy trainers.

He will also ask why our prisons are going soft, on her watch.

He will be doing this having learned from the Herald that she has launched a Puppies in Prison programme which she says will reduce re-offending and lead to increased number of dogs trained to help people living with disabilities.

The programme is being undertaken in partnershi with the Mobility Assistance Dogs Trust.

It will see a number of low security prisoners provide full time training for mobility dogs, which will then go on to assist people living with disabilities.

Tolley launched the programme at at Spring Hill Corrections Facility.

It seems this is the first of its kind in a male prison and follows the success of a similar programme running at Auckland Women’s Prison since 2009.

Even worse news comes from a development with private prisons.

The Herald says jailbirds will be getting telephones, televisions and “electronic menu” systems in the cells of a private prison in south Auckland under plans being considered by the Department of Corrections.

The culprit here is a British-based company, Serco, which will manage the new 960-bed prison at Wiri.

It has introduced the technology in its prisons overseas and wants to do the same here.

The proposal includes introducing “custodial management system” screens to prison units – and in some cases to individual cells – so inmates could order meals, write shopping lists, add credit to phone accounts and see weekly timetables.

Serco said the introduction of in-cell telephones in its overseas prisons had resulted in significant improvements in prison security, including a drop in the number of prisoners trying to smuggle cellphones.

TV sets were allowed in cells, depending on prisoners’ behaviour.

Serco wouldn’t tell the Herald if it plans to use the new technology in the Wiri prison, but a Department of Corrections spokesman confirmed it was in the company’s proposal.

Canterbury University Professor of Sociology and former Paremoremo Prison inmate Greg Newbold points out this is clearly a cost-cutting exercise.

Private prisons have to run at a profit and 80 per cent of the cost of running prisons is in manpower.

Corrections Association president Beven Hanlon explained how the in-cell technology could save prison officers hours of mundane paperwork.

“At the moment if the prisoner wants something they have to come up to an officer and request it, so introducing these screens would mean if they’re short on toilet paper or they need a new toothbrush etc they can just enter it in.”

“But they should use it in the right way – let’s not get crazy on it and turn these places into the Hilton.”

Toilet paper?

Throw the buggers some old newspapers from the nearest recycling bin.

Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesman Garth McVicar said he was “dumbfounded” by the proposal.

” I’ve seen no evidence that making prison a more comfortable place to be is any more likely to reduce offending than making prison a place that is unpleasant and where offenders should not want to go back to,” he said.

Damned right.

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