The Government's crime-crackdown campaign took another
step forward today when Corrections Minister Judith
Collins announced that from now on, the problem of
overcrowded prisons would be solved by putting prisoners
in sow crates.
Describing the crates as 'spartan but humane and clean,'
Ms Collins said that the Government was not in the
business of molly-coddling offenders and that many of them
already had far too much room to move in.
She had personally visited a maximum-security cell, she
said, and had been able to swing a cat in it. Why prisoners
were allowed to have cats in the first place was a mystery to
her, but one thing was clear: punishment regimes were far
Moreover, if allowed to mingle with other prisoners for
meals or recreation, there was a high risk of them harming
each other, especially if pregnant, weaning or suffering from
Tests show, said the minister, that a basic sow crate is an
effective form of maximizing prison efficiency, with minimal
throughput costs and plenty of bars to chew on, while
providing a major incentive for rehabilitation.
Asked if a prisoner in a sow crate would not get cramped
and stiff, especially while serving a 10-year sentence, Ms
Collins said she often felt cramped sitting in her seat in
Parliament but nothing in life was achieved without
She reinforced her argument by citing the memorable
words of former US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld,
who, when asked to sign a document authorizing
Guantanamo Bay guards to keep prisoners standing for
four hours at a time, commented that he was on his feet at
least eight hours a day so why stop at four?