A TURNKEY’S TRIBULATIONS, part 6. The Child Killers

As an officer you had to perform your duties and supervise prisoners of all descriptions regardless of who they were or what crime they had committed. It wasn’t rocket science, basic principles were involved, communication and fair dealings. Prisoners were sentenced to time in jail as punishment, not for punishment. The general populace has a skewed image of life in jail, that once inside you have no rights and that inmates should suffer various ill treatments for their crimes. I worked with some officers who went out of their way to make prisoner’s lives as uncomfortable as possible. We weren’t supposed to know what they were in for, and if we did it shouldn’t have made our dealings with them any different.

If you were sentenced for five years or more, any property or monies you owned were put into the hands of the public trustee, and your right to vote was taken away. The removal of your freedom is the punishment, yes they have recreational facilities and a cell, three meals a day and so on. Over time it’s come up in conversation about prison and I’ve heard some, ‘normal’ people describe what they would do to prisoners for their various crimes. From beheading and disembowelment to continual whippings, etc, this is from people who get upset when a pet is hurt. My question was, “Okay, would you feel the same way if your son/daughter ended up inside for some crime they committed?” The answer was always the same, “Of course not.” So it was quite okay for a stranger to suffer but not their son or daughter.

Crime and punishment has always been a contentious issue in society and I am well aware that there are some people who, by the very nature of the crimes they commit should never be free again. So what more can you do to someone who has no hope of walking free? I would say to people if you want to know what it’s like to be in jail, do the following: Clean out your bathroom of everything but the basic toiletries put a bed in it along with your hobby (perhaps leather work) some books, a bible, a change of clothes. If you are in solitary, you will be let out into a small yard for an hour a day, with no other human contact. The rest of the time you are in the room. If you are a working prisoner, let yourself out for about twelve hours, work for eight for a few dollars, get told when to eat, shower and play then spend the rest of the time in your room. If you can’t look after yourself, or you are young and vulnerable be prepared to become someone’s girlfriend.

If you aren’t a career criminal and you haven’t been inside before, look forward to spending the time out of your cell in a constant state of apprehension. There are two groups inside, predators and prey. Everyone is looking for an edge a way to survive, to get through another day.  People who are ordinary on the outside change their ways inside, they grow a new persona, a protective skin. Jail is without doubt a behaviourist’s delight, to observe how people adapt to their new surroundings, or on the downside, don’t. Some come out stronger; others wither and are changed for life. The ideal would be that they come out better people with an understanding of why they were inside in the first place. (I can see the pigs flying overhead). The following crimes made it extremely difficult to keep up the ideal of fair dealings.

Child Killer 1. We will refer to him as Bob, he’d been inside for fifteen years by the time I started at the jail. A short, tubby individual he always had an ingratiating smile on his face. He never back chatted, always did as he was told and was a dog of the worst kind. Nobody was safe, he would tell on other crims and officers alike. He had an outside job as a truck driver, delivering bread, milk and produce to other state institutions, under the guidance of an officer. This also made him feel as if he were above the others because of his position. Good jobs in jail are like gold and long timers will do anything to hang onto their position. The whole jail knew what Bob had done. He came from a provincial city in Queensland and as a young man plucked a young girl from the street. He kept her for a day or so, raped her, murdered her then secreted her body in the back of his utility (pickup ) under a tarpaulin where he kept her for three days.  He made a point of going to a garage where a search HQ had been setup and volunteered to help look for her.

It was difficult to separate Bob from his crime. To look at the individual and know what he had done, then go about a normal routine where you had to interact on a working level left you feeling a little tarnished. I treated everyone the same but it didn’t stop me having thoughts and opinions about him and what he had done. He injured his wrist and had to go to hospital twice a week for physiotherapy, which involved placing his whole hand in melted wax for a while. After taking it out he would remove the wax and knead it in his injured hand. All prisoners, no matter what their status, when under escort to hospital had to be handcuffed. Bob was no exception, he whined about his hand, about how he normally drove down this way, blah, blah, blah. It rolled off me, no way was I taking him into a crowded hospital unsecured.

We sat with the other outpatients and waited our turn; a nurse came out and began to give me grief about having her patient handcuffed to me. His injured hand was free, what more could she want. She led us into the room and clucked and fussed around him. Bob lapped it up and put on the hurt puppy eyes, she kept glaring at me. Bugger this, I wasn’t going to cop the bad egg role for Bob. I took my cuff off, fastened it to the bench, took her aside and told her exactly what he had done. I don’t think I could have shocked her anymore if I had punched her.  Bob soon lost the puppy look as she none too gently worked on his wrist. Unethical, probably? But I didn’t see why I should be the bad guy.

Child Killer 2.  This prisoner to me epitomised the worst humanity has to offer and as of last year he’s still working on a low security farm and awaiting parole.  I’ll refer to him as Doug, a most disagreeable personality you would ever wish to meet, his face had set in a constant sneer and he thought that everyone was beneath him. The consummate barrack room lawyer he’d argue the point on everything. He too had served about ten years before I started there and for some reason had been given one of the cushiest lifer’s jobs, assistant storeman. He eventually wormed his way into an outside, unsupervised job as a green-keeper before I left the service.

As is the way he worked in those positions because he was a dog, he was that loathsome the other crims didn’t even talk to him let alone beat him up. I can understand that people kill, it’s gone on since time began. I can understand that people rape, it too has been a constant but what I can’t understand is that a man can rape and kill a child. Bob was way out of Doug’s league. All I know of Doug’s crime is this, he tried to rape a small girl, found it difficult to enter her and using a lid from a can cut open her sex organs to allow him entry. After he finished he killed her.

People who commit such heinous acts are beyond rehabilitation. Their mindset is skewed beyond the norm and their sexual drives are such that they will continue doing what satisfies them until they die. The day came for Doug’s second parole hearing, this was held in the small office near the store, where the visiting magistrate heard charges. One of the officers, Ray had escorted Doug up for the hearing. The board consisted of the magistrate, a police officer, chaplain, the prison superintendent and a few others. Now Doug may have been a vile murderer but he could talk eloquently, Ray saw how he was charming the board, excused himself and ran back down to the compound. Grabbing the keys from the wing officer he went into Doug’s cell, came out with a school writing/exercise book and ran back up to the hearing. Five minutes later he escorted Doug back to the compound. If looks could kill we would’ve been shrivelled lumps. Ray gave me the book. I opened it to find every page contained cut out pictures of babies and toddlers of both sexes, taken from adverts in women’s magazines. And every page had been ejaculated on. Apparently when Ray slapped the book down in front of the board, the magistrate picked it up and started looking through it. He soon flung it on the desk when Ray told him what the stains were. Unethical, probably? But it saved a psychopathic child killer/rapist from being let out.

Child Killer 3.  The sad thing about all of this is that these men were in the same wing at the same time. Barry was many things, a petty thief, con man and child rapist. He was serving time for raping a twelve-year-old girl and had about three years to go before being eligible for parole. Once again he fit the profile, he was a dog and never missed an opportunity to try to con the officers. His time inside was unremarkable and when I left to join the police he was still there. Roll forward a few years and there is a twelve-year-old girl raped and murdered out western Queensland way. Her mother is devastated and her new de facto husband stands by her side, comforting her on TV. Guess who? Yes our old mate Barry. He’d wormed his way into this woman’s affections for the purpose of having her daughter. It didn’t take the investigators long to link him to the killing, his parole is revoked and he received a life sentence. He’d been out a little while before re-offending but he couldn’t control the old urges and an innocent child paid the price.

One of those ‘click like if you agree with this’ messages hit my Facebook page the other day. It had an automatic pistol on it and the words, ‘like if you think every child molester needs a bullet in the head.’ I didn’t hit like or comment, mainly because of the simplistic argument involved. I can understand the need for vengeance and know quite well the ordeal that children can be put through.  We have laws in place to contend with these acts and I say that if you aren’t satisfied with them, take steps to have your voice heard and try to have them changed. Where do you stop with that type of mentality? Is it a bullet in the head for anyone who goes against your personal beliefs or ideas about justice?

My point is this, very few children are murdered by paedophiles and I know even one is too many. If the offence carried a death penalty (which wouldn’t happen here) then the death rate of abused children would increase. Dead victims have less to say. I remember reading about a case in Sweden back in the eighties. Authorities chemically castrated a paedophile and gave him a reduced sentence. When he was released he took out his anger and inability to have sex on young girls by killing them. He was more than likely a psychopathic personality anyway. Those who murder and rape children, when convicted should never be released. They need to be segregated from the prison population and given the basic necessities of life. Maybe that way they could ponder on their crime and hopefully come to some realisation of the enormity of the offence. With Doug though I don’t believe he has ever regretted his actions. It came to me that with every masturbatory act he would be reliving that poor child’s ravishment and death over and over again.

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11 thoughts on “A TURNKEY’S TRIBULATIONS, part 6. The Child Killers

  1. Raani York

    Laurie,
    This is one of the most difficult blog posts I’ve read so far… the emotional controversy it leaves me in is shaking me. There is this strong voice of a reporting eye witness – YOU. In many ways neutral – but always objective and true – and still human! And there is this rage in me who “could kill” child molesters and murderers… What can I do?
    I know, self justice isn’t a way to make this misery having sense…. but still… the need is there… am I bad?
    Thanks for sharing this Laurie!!

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    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      Hi Raani, I must say it was one of the hardest to write. I understand your emotions and the moral controversy. The mind cries out for vengeance, the heart calls out for meaning and understanding and the soul knows. No you aren’t bad, we all go through the feelings. People say that you should put down the wolf who kills the sheep. It works in that context because animals don’t reason, they work on instinct. The person who kills and rapes innocents needs to spend the rest of their days locked away from society to ponder their actions.
      I have to stay as neutral as possible in the blog, I wouldn’t want to rant on. Being the ‘eye witness’ is hard, putting the subject out there for people to read and comment on. I haven’t had anyone throw tomatoes at me yet.

      As feeling thinking human beings it is hard to understand the workings of a deranged mind. or even worse the mind of the ‘normal’ person who commits such acts. They are harder to fathom and make you think WTF were you thinking.

      Life is hard and the road is long Raani, we meet many along the way who trouble us and make us think. Along this road I’ve met you and Pat Garcia and I’m a happier person for it.
      The next instalment is Christmas inside so it’s not gut wrenching.
      Cheers
      Laurie

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  2. patgarcia

    Hi,
    What can I say? Reading this article has caused me to think. The injustice done to children is enormous, and they are the victims of many hideous crimes, not only from outside the family but inside the family as well. Sometimes we who live in our society found out about these crimes when the child becomes an adult, and for many of these children the revelation of how they were abuse comes to late to help them mount up and walk above it.

    I am thinking about the twelve year old that died because her mother fell in love with her abuser and murderer. I asked myself, why didnt the woman have the man checked out? Are women in our society so put down, so rejected that they have no self esteem and belief in themselves?

    Secondly what makes things like this happen? I honestly believe it is because we have turned away from what I call the true north in our lives. Today, we find an excuse for everything. There is no such thing as God, judgment, hell or wrong doings. Everybody does as he feels because the mentality is when we die, it is all over. This kind of mentality has led us down a dead end street!

    If we have only the now, the present, today, to live, then why should we try to make life for someone else liveable, comfortable, and why should we try to help our fellow men and women?
    I believe there is a God that we all must stand before, and there is a judgement. This is not a sermon, because I don’t believe in preaching my faith with words, but living it with the things I do, and how I live among my brothers and sisters of this world.

    Some may say that I am dreaming. I say to all those who call me a dreamer, “we will see!” At the end, if I have made a mistake and there is nothing out there but this world, then I have still lived a life that I don’t regret, because it is my dream to leave a legacy of good, But, if there is a heaven and hell, then I am still a winner and you are the loser, and hell will be your place of residence.

    So, in regards to child killers, according to the Bible that I believe in “Whoever harms the least of these,meaning Children, will rot in hell. Those are not my words but words from the Son of God, Jesus Christ, the Saviour of this world. And I believe that.

    I love you Bro. Thanks for another great article that made me do a reassessment of my own way of thinking.
    Ciao,
    Patti

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    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      Hi Sis, Your reply is quite reflective. Yes the sad thing is that many of the things that happen to children don’t come out for years. The damage is well and truly done by then.
      I think the mother was in a position where anyone who came along would have been suitable. Lack of self esteem and fear of loneliness is a common thread. I think that sometimes the mother is aware of what is happening to the child, and allows it to go on because she has companionship.
      When it comes to people’s desires, their hatred and need for violence I’m afraid that any thought of a God goes out the window. The time of any judgement is down the track, later and here and now is what matters. which of course makes for people who then do what they want.
      ‘You, you may say. I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope some day you’ll join us. And the world will be as one …’ John Lennon.
      No I don’t think of your answer as a sermon, you are a lovely person speaking her truth, it doesn’t get better than that.
      Love from your
      Bro.

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  3. Patricia Salamone

    Laurie, you have such emotional courage to be able to convey such an important subject. If only the penal system all over the world would put these sex crazed child molester killers away forever, but some of them slip between the cracks only to repeat their offence. I applaud your courage.
    It took me two days to comment on this one.

    Bless You
    Pat

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  4. kelihasablog

    I agree with you Laurie. I have never thought that child molesters/killers could be rehabilitated. There are several reasons I believe that, but there is no point in going into it… I don’t know personally, if someone had ever hurt or killed one of my children… I’m not sure that I would be able to handle the desire for vengeance… I’d probably be crazy enough to try to find a way to torture them and then kill them. Maybe it’s a “mother” thing, Im not sure…. but I honestly don’t know how these parents do it… I’d totally flip out! Great blog, as usual… Oh, are your books available on the Nook yet? If they are, let me know and I’ll get one. 😀

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    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      It’s a hard call the desire for vengeance. In the heat of the moment we are capable of many things. The harming of our children can turn the most placid person into a grizzly bear. In the cold light of day exclusion from others for life is a formidable sentence. That type of isolation can be worse than death. I guess that this subject can make us look at our children and be thankful that they have loving parents.
      Laurie.

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  5. liz blackmore

    Laurie I would like to applaud you for your ability to tell it like it is. I do not have any problem with never releasing a person who intentionally hurts and/or murders children. The men you have mentioned above deserve what befalls them while incarcerated. There should be basic necessities of life provided, period. No magazines to create future fantasies from, no pictures of the ‘right’ potential fantasy copulation victim. Torturing a babe, just makes me see red! The females who perform these acts, seem to go under the radar moreso than men. Too bad, as their crimes are just as devasting.
    Thank you for sharing Laurie. I am upset, only because of the cord this strikes.

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    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      Thanks Liz, I try to tell it like it is and this is one subject people like to avoid. Children have no voice when it comes to abuse and there is usually no one to speak for them when they’re dead. It’s a strange world when our most vulnerable are mistreated, when more coverage can be given to cute animal stories than the plight of the helpless.( big sigh ).
      Laurie.

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