Tuesday, 10 February 2009

That’s A Feature Of Prison, Not A Bug…

Six prisoners in British jails have applied to have children with their partners following a landmark European court ruling that their human rights would be breached if they are prevented from becoming fathers.

The inmates, all serving long sentences and including at least one murderer, claim they or their partners will be too old once they are released and should be allowed to donate sperm now for artificial insemination.
As opposed to receiving it from Big Ron in the prison showers instead, that is…
It follows a long legal battle over whether their right to fatherhood is guaranteed by the Human Rights Act.

The case was brought by Kirk Dickson, 34, who is serving a minimum 15 years sentence for kicking a man to death, and his wife Lorraine, 48, who he met through a prison penpal scheme while she was in prison for benefits fraud.
Oh, yeah. These are the people that should be breeding, are they…?

This is the culmination of a long battle, that at first the prisoners were losing:
Their original request under the Human Rights Act in 2001 was blocked by the then Home Secretary, David Blunkett. The High Court, Court of Appeal and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg also rejected the claim.
But Strasbourg's final appeal court, the Grand Chamber, then concluded that blocking the request was a denial of the couple's right to become parents.
And the government should have had the courage to say said ‘Yes. Yes, it is. So what..?’

But we don’t make our own laws now in this country, instead being beholden to the EU in all things:
The Government's current policy is to refuse permission unless there are "exceptional" circumstances, but the Grand Chamber said that was setting the bar "too high to allow proper consideration of the proportionality of any such decision".

That means the Government must now consider each prisoner's application to have a baby on a case-by-case basis.
Which doesn’t mean they can’t still throw it out, but they lay themselves open to legal challenges if their reasons aren’t watertight.

And ‘Because they are in prison, for god’s sake!’ isn’t considered a good enough reason, though the public would almost certainly disagree…
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said applications from six prisoners have already been received and are awaiting a decision by Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary.

Mr Straw has previously described being "frustrated" by the way the Human Rights Act has been interpreted by some judges. He said: "There is a sense that it is a villains' charter."
It’s certainly proving to be so here, isn’t it?

And even worse, win or lose, we are paying for these prisoners to indulge their dreams of a little bundle of joy:
The Dickson legal challenge has already cost the taxpayer more than £20,000 in legal aid.

Dickson and a friend killed 41-year-old George Askins because he refused to hand over his cigarettes in Lincolnshire in 1994.
And as far as the public are concerned, having a little Dickson running around isn’t of public benefit, so why are they permitted to bathe in taxpayers money?


Witterings from Witney said...

Julia, surely those that have broken the laws of society cede any right to partake in those laws of society ie the freedom to choose what they do day to day. Prison is a punishment and punishment means forfeiture of privileges.

For heavens sake, what is it about this that these Human Rights fanatics cannot understand? It is also a tad hypocritical of Jack Straw to voice doubts about a law he supported!

Anonymous said...

Why not let them donate sperm, to be kept frozen in the usual storage systems entirely at their expense to be used when they come out of prison?

That fulfills their complaint that their sperm will be too aged to be useful if/when they get out nicely, taps the silly sods up for money and fulfills the ethos of prison of deprivation of rights as punishment for breaking laws nicely.

Of course, if they fail to keep up the payments on storage of the samples, then said samples will be destroyed immediately as per standard commercial practice...

AntiCitizenOne said...

The couple have a right to ATTEMPT TO become parents when he is released.

Hopefully NEVER.