Possibly this may be a part of the current Government policy that may not have been thoroughly thought through yet, but it seems to us here at the Fish that there may be some parts of this policy that may not work.
I’m talking about the proposal to construct some additional prison space for all the naughty boys by using standard shipping containers, and getting the prisoners to help construct their own prisons out of them. I confess, I had to check my calendar – no, it was not the 1st of April – and my sceptical mind thought that there may be some flaws in the proposal. While it would, on the surface, make some sense, to use the very cheap and very strong steel boxes to construct some short term prison structures, there may also be some similar setbacks.
Letting inmates lose with steel cutting equipment (oxy-acetylene gas axe anyone?) or giant sledge hammers and cold chisels would seem to be short sighted, although yes, it could well give them construction skills for the outside world. The chance to design in and build your own escape route would be tempting for at least a few.
Collins says “it is only one of the options we’re looking at – another is double-bunking” and that the reason is that Labour did not build enough prisons when it was in power. On the other hand, second-hand containers can cost as little as $3000 each (on National Radio this morning, a cost was mooted of $20,000 for a basic container was mooted, rising to $300,000 after fitout).
I’m confused by the claim that Labour didn’t build enough prisons – anyone talking to architectural stalwarts Stephenson and Turner (and others) will know that prison building has been going on non-stop for the last few years. I’m also confused that a cost could be attained of $300,000 for the fitout of containers could cost that much even if this hare-brained scheme did go ahead.
There’s no doubt that containerisation does offer many possibilities, including for accommodation, of which many options exist. Just not sure that this one has really been thought out yet.
Are containers really the way we should be going? Your thoughts on this one – very welcome! And feel free to post links (one link at a time, or they end up in the spam queue with the viagra merchants) as well.

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