We took a ferry over to see the Rock. It was a very depressing place. There is one section of the prison where a special presentation by prisoners of age challenged my thinking about incarceration.
The presentation consists of a series of posters with photographs and quotations from older prisoners. There is a quote from Helmut Buxbaum. He is over 60 years of age. He was imprisoned for arranging the murder of his wife. The Buxbaum family were members of a church that we used to attend when we were in London, Ontario.
Everybody regrets. About five minutes after you commit a crime, you regret the crime. Many old people are in prison today because they committed a crime in 10 to 20 seconds. And for that they are sentenced to spend the rest of their life living in a washroom. It just doesn’t make sense.
The conditions for the prisoners of Alcatraz were very grim indeed. The cells were nothing more than a water closet, sink and bed. The environment was very depressing.
I’m not sure if all prisons are like this one. But it did make me think about the humanity of imprisonment for long periods of time in unpleasant environments. There is no doubt in my mind that such forms of imprisonment, even for short periods of time, is punishment.
On a brighter note, we had a bit of time to check out the Hyde Street Pier Historic Ships. Lorraine took a picture of me at the wheel of the Eureka. My new beard gives me an air of being a nautical person.