McDonalds – the great leveller. The Forbidden Fruit. The Holy Grail. If there’s one thing that’s sure to have the most headstrong of individuals weak at the knees, it’s a hot box full of burgers, chippies and nugs from the clown in the yellow tracksuit.
Police negotiators in the Northern Territory knew this, apparently, when they lured a mob of escaped inmates out of hiding with little more than a Maccas Happy Meal.
Former corrections commissioner Ken Middlebrook recently told a court of the time three teenagers attempted to escape the notorious Don Dale Youth Detention Centre by climbing into the ceilings via an air conditioning unit. The inmates remained in the ceilings for around four hours, apparently unreachable and causing close to $40,000 in damage, before staff and police negotiators – supposed experts in defusing these very situations – decided to simple dangle the greasy carrot and lure them down with the promise of cheeseburgers.
More recently, allegations surfaced of a so-called “sex romp” in the same facility, when a group of boys apparently snuck into the female inmates’ room after dark for a “Valentine’s Day orgy”. According to Middlebrook, however, this story could neither be substantiated nor confirmed.
Facing the Northern Territory justice royal commission over the authorisation of the tear-gassing of six Don Dale detainees in 2014, Middlebrook – now a corrections consultant – said he struggled with the daily “crisis” of a rising prisoner population and a poorly trained workforce.
He also had some stiff words for the punitive approach of the NT’s incarceration system. Middlebrook espoused the belief that a “just lock-them-up model” is an ineffective method of rehabilitation in the long run, and that a “punitive society where people want their pound of flesh” is potentially harmful when it comes to reaching a real solution to overwhelming crime rates.
“Tough on crime means more numbers, more overcrowding and stress on the system,” he told the court. “Building prisons is not the answer.”
Source: The Australian
Feature image: Munchies
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