Monday, November 23, 2015

It's official: Prisoners trump the disabled

This is the response of the spokesperson of the Ministry of Social Welfare to my inquiry about a prisoner rehabilitation program operating in our largest institution for people with disabilities:
The ministry believes in the approach that contact with and assistance to people with disabilities turns us into better people. This statement is applicable particularly to people who were convicted of crimes who have an opportunity to do something good.

The ministry of welfare takes precautions in that anybody who will come in direct contact with the residents of the facility will not have the potential for harming them. This is what happens in [that specific institution] too.

Confirm receipt
What struck me first was the spokeswoman's dumbed-down and supercilious tone.

Next, the content.

Apparently, her primary concern was the prisoners' welfare. Now if she had represented the prison authority, I could live with that. But since she works for the Ministry of Social Welfare, I figure that her top priority should be the welfare of the residents at that institution. Not "giving prisoners an opportunity to do some good."

I'd also like to know how in the world they are eliminating the "potential for harming them"? Isn't the most effective way to do that simply not admitting them to the institution in the first place? Short of that, you are taking an unavoidable risk.

Of course, those questions are all rhetorical. I am fully aware that in this country, for the vast majority, people with disabilities are on the bottom rung of society. And I mean in every area: accessibility, financial assistance, housing options, inclusion, education etc.

This was last week. No such fun for C
this week unfortunately
Prisoners, on the other hand, have it rather good here. This country has been dubbed a "prisoner's paradise". Here, the worst offenders, including murderers, enjoy furloughs from prison. Yes, that's right: unsupervised vacations from prison. Not once, but repeatedly. Some of them have spent their unjustified junkets precisely the way you'd expect them to - chalking up more violent crimes, at times even murders. A few grab the opportunity to  escape for a several years.

But, not to worry, those furloughs are still being doled out. 

Here at home, we are contending with a couple of pressure sores that have kept C. out of the pool this week. We did benefit from one of the most amazing perks of this country: the home-visiting nurse. He comes to draw blood from C. every few months for blood tests. Yesterday he came to clean and bandage the sores and will return tomorrow. The icing on this health-care cake is that he is one of the sweetest, kindest people I know.

The only problem with this service is that it isn't publicized; we were carrying C. up dozens of stairs to clinics for her blood tests for many years before I learned about it by accident.

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