Via Ian QT, who quotes a very coherent and accurate comment that I recommend that you read in full, I find this appalling piece of utter bullshit from some rancid old bag called Julie Bindel. And we are used to piss-poor crap appearing on Comment Is Free, but this... this article sets a new low.
After watching Clean Break Theatre's wonderful new play, This Wide Night, written by Chloe Moss, I found myself thinking about Barry George. Let me explain the connection: This Wide Night is a story of how women cope after their release from prison. On the day of her release, Lorraine, a woman in her 50s who has served 12 years for murder, turns up at her former cellmate Marie's home. All we know about Marie is that she is 30 years old, is a recovering crack addict, and has an abusive former partner, from whom she is constantly trying to escape.
Right, let us be clear at this point: This Wide Night is a work of fiction. It is not based on a true story although it was, apparently, written after "a research period at Cookham Wood prison".
I am sure that it's a very worthy piece but it is, and I cannot stress this enough, a work of fiction and will have been written for maximum dramatic effect. It is important that you remember that this is a work of fiction for you will need to apreciate that it is a work of fiction in order to understand the stupidity of Bindel's article. Well, you will need it to understand some of the stupidity of Bindel's article (but you will not need to remember that, fortunately, to appreciate the sheer, man-hating evil which she deploys).
Shall we dive in?
Life can be a nightmare for women who leave prison.
Whereas for men, you understand, everything is just peachy.
They rarely have any support from state agencies;...
... because men have stolen it all.
... have often lost contact with, or been disowned by, their families;...
... whereas men are usually feted and a big party thrown to celebrate how brilliant their time in prison was.
... and in many cases have lost their children, housing, and friendship network during their time inside.
... whereas men immediately have their children returned although, as we all know, men actually couldn't care less about their children because men are uncaring motherfuckers (quite literally) who actually despise all children—most especially their own. And Fathers 4 Justice is just a figment of my fucking imagination.
Furthermore, men always get to keep their housing and their friends are always happy to see them. If, of course, men have lost their friend network, the state support are more than happy to whistle up a new one for them.
Naturally, this is all bollocks: men get no more support than women and, of course, men tend to get far more severe sentences for the same crimes. But, don't you see?—men deserve it...
Bearing in mind the fact that significant numbers of women in prison are there as a direct or indirect consequence of men's abuse,...
Women, you see, never commit crimes and they are never rude or unpleasant or downright vicious. The vast majority of women are as meek and sweet as those made of sugar and spice and all things nice: they were forced into it, guv, by eeeeeevil men.
... and many have mental health problems,...
... whereas men don't have mental health problems. They just use that as an excuse for beating up their girlfriends. Mental health problems don't exist in the male genome, in fact: did you know that?
... it is not surprising that some do not survive.
It is also, I am afraid, tough shit. Many men do not survive either. In fact, many men do not survive even if they haven't gone to prison: have you seen the suicide rate amongst young males, Bindel? (Just in case you haven't, the suicide rate for males is 11 per 100,000; the rate for females is 3.3 per 100,000, i.e. the male suicide rate is more than three times that of females.)
We just have to look at the story of Emma Humphreys to recognise that life on the outside can be harder than life post-release.
Surely "life on the outside" and life "post-release" are exactly the same thing: do you mean "life pre-release"?
Anyway, you are right, Julie; the case of Emma Humphries is tragic. However, the tragedy started long before she went into prison and I suspect that, sadly, even had she not been in prison, her miserable life would have ended the same way. Surely you can find a better example to make your point?
So, back to Barry George. On the day of his release, two psychologists who had supported George through his retrial, said that he "faced an uphill struggle to re-adjust to his new life as a free man," and that he may never be able to look after himself properly again following seven years in prison. Therefore, a comprehensive care package would be put in place for him.
First, let us remember that Barry George was mentally subnormal before he went into prison; he had a low IQ and had some trouble fending for himself as it was. As such, it seems sensible that he should be supported now, even were he not supported before he went to prison.
Second, Julie, he IS FUCKING INNOCENT, you moron; he has spent nearly a decade in prison for a crime that he didn't commit. If our resources are limited, as they are, I think that helping those whom society has falsely imprisoned should be a priority, no? We owe him that, at least.
(At this point, of course, I wonder what Julie would think of a rapist receiving such support; I imagine that she would have apoplexy. But if we are going to give support to all women who, let us not forget, have gone to prison because they committed crimes, then should we not give support to everyone? Probably not, in Julie's eyes: to the Bindelmeister, men aren't actually human beings.)
Where is the care package for women such as those portrayed through the characters in This Wide Night?
Well, This Wide Night is a work of dramatic fiction, you fucking bitch. Why don't you do some journalism and, instead of hauling your fat middle-class arse to the theatre, actually do some research. How much support do women get? Is it actually more or less than men? And perhaps you'd like to link to the data?
Who helps to wean the likes of Lorraine off the numerous anti-depressants and sleeping tablets such women become addicted to in prison, in order to block out the pain.
Who helps wean the men... No, no, I can't be bothered. You get the gist.
Who will help Marie build up her self-confidence to the point that she feels able to get a proper job and stop prostituting? What about the nightmares these women endure, dreaming about lost children, childhood sexual abuse, and other atrocities women on release from prison have to endure? Where is the support for them?
Go and see this play if you get the chance. It runs till Saturday.
Yes, it sounds good. Do: go and see this work of dramatic fiction...
Or join them in their campaigns to improve the life of these women who are so often regarded as disposable.
Clean Break has a long and impressive history of campaigning for better conditions for women in prison, and for the kind of rehabilitative support that seems to have been offered to George on a plate.
What? You mean those who are innocent?
Or are you talking about the women who have actually committed crimes and have been punished for committing a crime unlike Barry George who is—and I'll say it again—fucking innocent.
Those of you who believe life is a bed of roses for women once they leave custody need to see it.
Don't be so pathetic. Life isn't a bed of roses full fucking stop. It is certainly no more a bed of roses for men who leave custody than it is for women. Being is prison is a bad thing: it's actually meant to be. And living post-prison is very difficult too.
That is why we should try to ensure that as few people go to prison as possible. That is why we should ram home to people that they really don't want to end up there: the best way to avoid ending up in prison is to avoid committing a criminal offence.
And that applies to women as much as men, Julie.
And if you are someone who has no sympathy for former prisoners, perhaps This Wide Night will change your mind.
I doubt it. Committing the kind of crime that can land you in prison is a choice (no, no bollocks here: it is a choice). I do understand that it is hard post-release, but that is why you should make the right choice (even if you lack the common decency to understand why what you are doing is wrong).
Right, I can't be bothered with the last paragraph; I will simply end up repeating myself more than I have already. But this really is a big pile of shit.
* It goes something like this (from memory):
Banky: At the centre of a crossroads is a hundred dollar bill. At equidistant points on each road, there are four characters: Santa Claus; the Easter Bunny; a mild-mannered, no agenda, lip-stick lesbian; and, finally, a rage-filled, angy-as-hell, man-hating dyke. Which one will reach the hundred dollar bill first?
Holden: The rage-filled, angy-as-hell, man-hating dyke.
Banky: Correct. Why?
Holden: I don't know.
Banky: Because the other three are figments of your fucking imagination!