Tuesday, February 8, 2011
This morning in the Netherlands, the 6'9'', 500+ pound inmate I discussed earlier here and here was denied further accommodations to his conditions of confinement. You can also see a drawing of the dimensions of his prison cell (below) made by the inmate's attorney. There's more information about the case here, but it's in Dutch.
The author of the piece, Stijn Bronzwaer, has given me the gist of what happened today. He tells me that, according to the judge, "Angelo M.’s treatment in prison was not proven to be ‘inhumane’. [Prison administrators] did things for him: they adjusted his bed with multiple mattresses, they had a special chair for him and he didn’t have to work like ‘normal’ prisoners do. That was enough, according to the Judge, to make his life in prison more humane. His physical complaints where already there, before he entered prison."
The piece also states that, "professor Gerard de Jonge [of] Maastricht University says the idea that Dutch prisons are ‘luxu[ry] resorts’ is a stereotype. There is a lot of discussion about this here: some people think prison life should be ‘harder’, while UN reports still say there is still a lot wrong with the Dutch prison system. For example: there can be two prisoners in one cell, even though we have too MANY cells here: some prisons are empty."
Of course, the fact that this inmate failed to demonstrate, as a matter of law, that his conditions of confinement are inhumane does not speak directly to the question of whether we ought to consider various sensitivities of prisoners when sentencing or confining them. Indeed, the inmate in this case already received some accommodations that were, apparently, deemed sufficient.