I can’t comprehend parole for good behaviour when it comes to murderers, rapists

How on earth can prisoners be rewarded and given time off their jail sentences for good behaviour?

There are many things in life I do not understand.

The splitting of atoms, hunting rhinos, eating spiders and walking barefoot over hot coals have always been at or near the top of my list of incomprehensibles.

Today, I’m adding one more to the list: good behaviour.

As a small boy, I can’t recall having been subjected to the concept of good behaviour.

There was only expected behaviour – and bad behaviour.

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Making my bed in the morning didn’t earn me a Noddy badge, but it did result in a scolding or a quick whack on the backside with a wet dishcloth – depending on Mother’s mood – if it wasn’t done to the set standard.

The same applied to washing dishes or making tea. Those were basic tasks expected to be performed whenever called upon.

There was no reward for those chores, but failure to comply would lead to punishment.

The same applied to doing my homework and presenting my report card at the end of each term.

Even now, as a grown-up, I often ponder what constitutes good behaviour.

Is it allowing a fragile, old person to jump a queue? Or opening a door for someone carrying a heavy item?

What about drawing a stranger’s attention to the fact that they dropped their wallet or forgot their phone in a restaurant?

In my book, none of these constitute good behaviour, but rather the behaviour all of us should be displaying all the time.

Which brings me to my point: how on earth can prisoners be rewarded and given time off their jail sentences for good behaviour?

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What do the members of the parole board tell one another?

“Here is Johnny, he shot three people in a tavern, but he has been making his bed every day for the last 10 years. He deserves five years off his sentence.

“And here is Peter, he raped a teenager, but has been an absolute star in the prison laundry, so let’s reward him with eight years off his prison sentence.”

I cannot, for love or money, comprehend good behaviour – especially when it comes to fraudsters, murderers and rapists.

But what do I know?

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