Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Milk, It Does A Prisoner Good

Look, I don't know what all of the customs and norms are down under in Australia or anything like that, but I do know what's normal and what isn't. OK, I know what's fairly normal, but I definitely know what is NOT normal AT ALL under ANY circumstances! And in the Australian jails...well....OK, you decide.

In Queensland (that's in Australia), they are considering issuing condoms to prisoners. This isn't the first time they've thought about doing this. They actually did it once before, but then rescinded the program (more on that later). Back in 1999, they installed condom vending machines in three of the Queensland prisons. And during the time when the 10,285 prisoners had access to condoms, they went through about 30,000 a month. That's approximately three per inmate. Now, three times a month might not sound like much to you, but for those in prison? Three times a month sounds great! (Hey, three times a month sounds great to a lot of people who aren't in prison. Unfortunately, those people tend to hook up with people who think that only twice a month sounds good enough. You can tell how that ends up.) But again, considering it's prison and the prisoners are usually segregated by gender, three times a month? Seems like a lot.

But Matilda Alexander from The Prisoner's Legal Service says, "I think that the Government has a basic duty of care to provide access to or at least allow access to mechanisms to allow safe sex. Consensual sex in the prison environment is a reality and people who are engaging in that should be allowed to engage in it safely." Huh. Interesting perspective. So they're going to do a survey that will involve about 900 male prisoners and about 150 female prisoners. (Look, if you're wondering about the whole "female prisoners" and "condoms" angle of this, you're going to have to find another blog. I can't get into that. I mean, I could. I haven't. Well, lately. Gotten into...look never mind. Just use your imagination, OK?) The survey will contain questions about sexual behaviors (obviously).

But what isn't so obvious is why, if they all feel so strongly about this, they stopped doing it when they had already implemented it before? Well, what would you say if I told you that the condoms were being used for things other than sex? What about if I told you that they stopped the program because the inmates were using flavored condoms to sweeten their milk? Wait. What?

That's why the program was discontinued. The inmates somehow figured out that a flavored condom would be a nice additive to sweeten up milk. Aside from the "EEwwwww!" factor, WHO figured this out and HOW?!?! Look, I don't care if I'm in prison or not, sweetened milk will NEVER be so important to me that I'm dunking a condom in it like some sort of prophylactic teabag! I don't care if all of the other inmates are doing it! I'm NOT!

And "flavored condoms"? Geez, I thought the whole "condoms for prisoners" thing was pretty generous to begin with. But they're definitely going the extra mile there by making flavored condoms available. I don't know what would have been wrong with just regular 'ol condoms. I would have thought that if they were going to jazz things up a little bit, they'd offer "Ribbed - For Your Pleasure" or something along those lines. I didn't know that flavors would have even been an option to offer the prisoners.

Wow. I guess Australia has it's own set of issues I'd never even considered. What's up next on the prison reform agenda? Free porn and Hooker Tuesdays?

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