The Prison Bus

Court days are like a Roman carnival of old. The justice system is archaic and medieval in this tropical paradise. For example, they still employ the cat-o-nine-tails -- a flogging whip here with 9 whips that are knotted at the ends and each stroke removes flesh from the back. They still hang people in the gallows. The secure wing of Her Majesty's Prison still has slop buckets instead of toilets.

Every Monday the prison bus arrives for court. The prisoners are dressed in stripes and chained together. Crowds gather to watch the human spectacle. Relatives of prisoners shout encouragement. They exchange quick shouted messages. Some prisoners do public service like cleaning the yard of government house. They shout this news and mothers bring their prisoner sons some lunch and drinks and leave it on the wall so their prisoner sons can eat home cooking. You often see the prisoners washing the police cars.

One thing that I have learned by being here is that capital punishment does not work. It is not a deterrent to crime and murder. The most valuable insight that I have gleaned, is that the single biggest reducer of crime in society is social, personal, economic and financial empowerment.

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