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Crime and Punishment in Modern Singapore

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Praefectus Praetorio

Brother of the Quill
By a strange coincidence, I worked on it today. But there is a lot to do before I can start posting. In the meantime, there's my Friday Night Barb story
I am trying to navigate through the Singapore police system. Too bad I can't just steal Goldman and Moore from the NYPD.

My lodestar here is Cardinal Richelieu: "Give me six lines written by the most honorable of men, and I will find an excuse in them to hang him."

Praefectus Praetorio

Brother of the Quill
The Sequel that had to be written! Ripped from the Headlines! A courtroom Drama! Barbara Barbaric Punishment! Not for the faint of heart!

I couldn't resist starting. But, be warned, it is only 10% written. So it will be posted slowly.


Death Penalty News

Striving for a World without Capital Punishment

Singapore: Preparing for Impalement Executions?

Published Sunday, November 1, 2018

[As a follow-up to our earlier exclusive on possible introduction of slow impalement as an alternative to long drop hangings in Singapore, we were able to conduct an interview with Major Mamat bin Osman, Commandant of Changi Prison Complex. If the new punishment is approved and implemented, Major bin Osman would be responsible for carrying it out. The major is a tall, stern looking man with black hair, greying at the temples. He maintained a rigid, military posture throughout the interview in his Prison office.]

Death Penalty News (DPN) Thank you so much Major, for granting us this interview.

Major Mamat bin Osman (MbO) You are very welcome. The Republic of Singapore wishes to be fully open and cooperative with all legitimate media, even those who oppose some of our basic principles.

DPN Thank you very much for that. Can we start by you telling us a little about yourself and your career?

MbO Of course. I am of Malay descent and, like many Malays here, I am a practicing Muslim. Singapore is a wonderfully multi-ethnic society with an open attitude toward all faiths.

DPN So we have seen, and admired!

MbO Thank You. Early on, I was attracted to the military life and for High School, I went to a military academy. After graduation at 19, I went into the army. Eight years later, rising through the ranks, I was a commissioned a Lieutenant. Three years later, at age 30, I was offered a transfer and promotion to the Perkhidmatan Penjara Singapura, that’s the Malay name for the Singapore Prison Service.

DPN Why would you want to leave the army for the prisons?

MbO I always had a great belief and respect for discipline. I had observed the superior way in which the army had maintained discipline and effectively punished wrongdoers. The Prison service at the time was in the midst of reform. Several scandals had occurred, and a new director had been appointed. He personally recruited me. After a long interview, I was convinced that this was a man I wanted to follow and his goals and mine were in sync. I accepted the transfer.

DPN Have you been happy with that decision?

MbO Most totally! You see, to me, the Prison service is not about punishment. That is only a tool. The two noble goals are first, to protect society by removing dangerous persons from the streets. The second goal is to teach those persons the error of their ways and to prepare them to be productive, trustworthy members of our society. The greatest rewards I have ever received have been to see criminals who formerly harmed others, be released and working for the good of their fellow man!

DPN That does sound rewarding. How long have you been in the Prison service?

MbO Twenty-One years. I am 51 and was promoted to major three years ago, when I took command of the Changi Complex.

DPN Congratulations on that. May we now discuss something on which you and we strongly disagree, the death penalty?

MbO Most certainly. Though I would say we don’t strongly disagree. I agree with you it is a tragedy anytime a human being is killed prematurely, whether on the street by a criminal or in Changi by the State.

[Part II of our interview with be published next Sunday]
Death Penalty News

Striving for a World without Capital Punishment

Singapore: Preparing for Impalement Executions?

Published Sunday, November 22, 2018 Part IV Conclusion

DPN You said, suspension method?

MbO If we use very slick stainless steel and lubricate it well as is traditional (we have determined that extra virgin olive oil would be the best), then the convict would slide down the pole very quickly. Remember, this is meant to be “slow” impalement. Also, if unsupported, the body could tilt and not sit upright. Not only would that interfere with the intended effect, but it would present an embarrassingly awkward view that might shame the prison authorities.

DPN We wouldn’t want to do that, would we?

MbO Definitely not. But we also want the prisoner as exposed as possible as part of the deterrent. Remember any such executions would be broadcast, countrywide.

DPN Really?

MbO Maximum deterrence of potential wrongdoers. What our researchers came up with is an inverted “Y” frame. Again, the best stainless, mounted in back of the convict and attached to a pole parallel to the impalement pole. This would also be made by Lambertz Maschinenbau. They are actually working on a draft design. The convict will be strapped, arms together overhead and ankles spread to the frame, stretched tightly. We don’t want them able to move themselves to delay or accelerate the process.

Once the impalement pole has been lodged in the appropriate orifice (or orifices), the frame would them be slowly lowered by remote control servo motors. We would order these from our regular supplier, Siemens AG, also in Germany.

DPN You seem to only use the best.

MbO Most definitely. That way there are no embarrassing surprises. Much thought has gone into the motion and speed of the motors. It was decided that small jerks of downward motion at random intervals would do the most to disconcert the condemned.

DPN Disconcert?

MbO Yes. Rather than gradual stretching, each small drop would be a tearing and the anticipation of random moves would worry them constantly. Therefore, we determined to use a programed computer to control the timing. We have contracted with an American software firm, that wants to remain anonymous, to do the programing. It has been decided that an average speed resulting in death in not less than 15 minutes and not more than 45 would be ideal.

There you have the full details. Can I answer anything else?

DPN No, [gulp] that is very complete. Thank you for your candor!

MbO I’m very glad to help. Can I give you a quick tour of the prison?

DPN Yes, that would be very nice.

[MbO gave us a tour which demonstrated his pride in the institution, which, indeed, was the cleanest, most cheerful prison we had ever seen

So is MbO a monster? You’ve heard his words. We should add that the parts cut for brevity were all concerning his personal life. He is an animal lover (chairman of the Singapore Animal Rescue), active in multiple civil charities to help the less fortunate and, especially, to transition former convicts back into society. A lover of classical music, he plays second viola in the prison orchestra.

We independently interviewed seven recent inmates, two of who had been subjected to severe caning sentences. To a man they were effusive with praise for MbO and his running of the prison. Each credited him and his systems for helping them reform and return to society.

However, of course, we were unable to interview the over 200 persons who have been executed by him. Their voices are forever silenced.
Is this interview a spoil of "Punishment in Modern Singapore part 2?"


In time honoured fashion,we`re going to give you a fair trial and then hang you,seems to be the way its going.
The story has been excellent so far, if it has a flaw, it is that Frost would have taken about a nano second to work out that Barb, a foreigner in a foreign jail,whose only outside contact was her lawyer , was unlikely to have access to drugs and that it was a set up by Rose and her accomplices. He would also be scrutinising the decision to put Barb and Rose back in the same cell, and the decision to leave them alone unsupervised which was negligent to say the least. I hope I am not reading ahead, but there goes.
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