Marja-Leena Rathje
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care of seniors and prisoners

Let us put our old folks in prisons and the criminals in old folks' homes! This way the elders get daily showers, exercise and fresh air. No one can steal from them... and they receive money instead of having to pay for everything. The criminals get cold food and have to stay in their rooms all by themselves. No money is given them, the lights go out at 20.00... and showers only once a week. Copy this and watch how far this travels.

A bit of humour with some truth, the best kind! Originally written in Finnish on one Facebook page, the above is my rough translation. I found this gem at hanhensulka, a Finnish-Australian's blog. He thinks that the author's excellent suggestion shows the makings of a future social security minister or interior minister in parliament.

Food for thought.... We should send this to Harper who plans to spend billions on new prisons when our crime rate has been dropping and also wants to privatize and destroy our health care.

Marja-Leena | 20/08/2011 | 18 comments
themes: Current Events


Not to mention very good food and medical attention, plus adequate heating and cooling as the seasons call for it.

I almost want to sign up for the exchange today, except that I'm not in an old folks home just yet. I'll keep my options open, though.

plus, in the UK I'd get to finish my degree studies for free instead of having to pay £850 a year.
I am not going to mention conjugal visits.

Mmm, kind of scary and not too funny really.

Gaak! Really? Your Prime Minister wants to privatize healthcare? That's incredible.

Well, here in California, where prisons are well over 100 percent capacity, there is talk of moving the mentally ill picked up for "crimes" and held in hospitals to prisons - and that's even before being convicted... so don't get me started. Seems that everything we knew about social responsibility is in free fall these days, along with the economy.

Martha, just goes to show you how the priorities are skewed these days, eh.

Mouse, now I didn't know about those benefits.

Lucy, it is indeed scary that some may find life in prison easier than 'outside'.

Bill, yes, if we read between the lines. He admires the US model in many things, such as prisons, security, big tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy.... (Hey, long time no see, Bill!)

Maria, that is shocking and scary. The treatment of the mentally ill even in parts of Canada is not good though I don't think I've heard of prisons for them yet. Years ago there used to a be a residence (asylym they used to call it) for the mentally ill in this region, Woodlands, a terrible place for many. When it was closed, many 'patients' had no place to go and ended up on the streets as homeless folk - now that is a disgrace. Ai, I did not mean to get started on that....

Definitely an idea to be taken seriously.

I returned to Canada after watching the creeping privitization of jails and so much more in the US over the course of 30+ years. Reaganism. How Harper was re-elected as PM would be a complete mystery to me except for my understanding that Canadians are equally prone to drinking the corporate Kool-Aid.

It's a good story but just a little too close to the truth to be funny.

Natalie, glad we agree.

Susan, it must be disappointing for you how Canada is falling down from its former ideals. I think you are right about the corporate Kool-Aid drinkers! To me the weird humour just grabs at first, then the truth hits between the ribs. I bet this thing goes viral on FaceBook because these are issues that are happening in so many countries.

Oh how true in Australia too! Not humour at all. My Mother spent the last two years of her life in a home and we had to scream for anysort of proper care for her! Our local prison is a brand new, 5 star accommdation centre with all the mod cons supplied! (and here the prisioners get a free education (tetiary or apprenticship if that is what they want!)).


Sally, there too! Does it not seem very strange that so much is done to protect the good citizens from the bad? Yet it's the bad ones that get all the protection and good ones are left even more vulnerable.

I think in most places in the US prisons are worse than old peoples' homes, and both are pretty terrible. We have a huge number people in jail in the US because of the stupid laws about drugs. Many petty criminals are locked up for various periods at great expense to the taxpayer, then released only to quickly re-offend and get locked up again. There must be a better way than to keep non-violent lawbreakers in jail.

No way to get adequate guards for the criminals for nursing home aide pay. The minimally educated, poorly paid nursing home 'carers' would be run over by the criminals. The guards, now taking care of the elderly, would probably do pretty well, but no entity would pay them what they earned as guards, so they'd be off to find real jobs.

It's one of those ideas that highlights the problem, but couldn't actually work. Criminals are not so much more valued, but more feared - so we pay guards well to keep them confined. The elderly, and the people who are employed to care for them, are not valued at all.

Anne, I don't doubt that most prisons are awful places, and I'm sure the writer was not serious about elders moving there, but only to highlight the skewed funding priorities by governments in many countries.

And yes, too many are sent to prisons for minor non-violent offences. There should be facilities where they can be counselled not to re-offend, and given job training so they can re-enter society as useful individuals capable of taking care of themselves and their families. The Nordic models are worth studying. Some years ago when we were on a short cruise from Helsinki to St. Petersburg, our table companions were an American couple. He was doing research on the Finnish and Swedish prison systems with the intent of trying to bring those models into the USA - doesn't sound like it is happening yet.

Zhoen, thanks for chiming in with your perspective from the nursing side. I agree this is an idea that highlights the problems, but doesn't really offer the solutions, complex as they are, but serve to raise awareness and discussion, maybe even activism.

You've certainly pinpointed the important issue of salaries. Are not the caregivers of elders a valuable and much-needed resource? Unfortunately many governments do not think so with their minimal or non-existant funding. Here in Canada, there is a push for funding for the care of elders in their homes rather than overcorwded hospitals and care homes, which actaully cost the system far more. Will we get it?

I forgot to address Susan's comment regarding the privatization of prisons in the USA.

This is one of the changes Harper plans to bring in, to hand over our prisons to US prison management firms, and we know that is one of the harshest around. They will just harden the prisoners into lifetime criminals, as we learned from the researcher we met (see my comment to Anne, above).

The concept of prisons as profit making entities has allowed for some shocking developments. In one southern state a prison was paying kickbacks to the police and several judges for hauling in teenagers. It allowed them to expand.

Oh Susan, that sounds just terrible, destroying the lives of those teenagers for greed and profit.