Should Jails Have TV’s?

TV’s for prisoners rights or privilege?

Compassion and basic human rights point to prisoners having the right to watch television whilst they are detained, but to what benefit does a television give to inmates? Norway, for example, is a country which treats prisoners in a humane way and results show a positive outcome.

Boredom is a factor causing unrest and tension, so imagine a week without TV yourself! It may seem a great idea for a few days, but you will start to feel fidgety and anxious, even if it is access to news or current affairs programs, people have the need to be informed and aware of what is going on in the world. Whether television is a right or a privilege, that is up to the governor, but society relies heavily on media for entertainment and education.

TV protection

TV – luxury or weapon?

A television can become a lethal weapon which, if misused, may cause serious self harm or endanger life or injuries to others. The shattered screen creates a myriad of sharp implements with which to cause harm; a slice across a femoral artery could cause death in a matter of moments. This can be to the inmate or a member of staff, or even a visitor, depending upon the mental state of the detainee. One significant way of eliminating any dangers is to enclose the whole television set within a metal housing unit, also known as a Non-Loop or anti ligature TV enclosure. This particular enclosure has Intellectual Property Design Rights and is frequently requested and specified for by architects, as plans are drawn up to include televisions in hospitals, detention centers and mental health facilities, where protection is an absolute necessity, as all the cables and hardware is out of harms way. Not only is a broken television inconvenient, it is expensive to repair, whereas purchasing an enclosure is a one off expense, which will save in the long term.

Then again, prison is a punishment and the point is to teach people a lesson about unacceptable behavior. Is giving them the opportunity to watch television just like their current lifestyle, which got them into trouble? Television can be highly influential in both good ways and bad, even good programs can be misinterpreted by inmates. The fact that criminals have committed a crime is one which needs a debt paying back to society and their wrongful actions have severe consequences. It is not a holiday camp – book me in for a fortnight! And are you happy at paying your hard earned taxes for someone else to sit around watching daytime television all day (especially if you haven’t got time to enjoy that!). Prison is a place for punishment not luxuries, so are TV’s necessary?