11 August 2009
Schapelle Corby -- Remissions and Mental Health...
The latest in the Schapelle Corby saga has seen her climb a water tower near her cell block in an attempt to escape the prying eyes of her fellow inmates. Corby's mental woes have been well documented, as have her annual trips to the hospital in an effort to get her mental health issues sorted out. However, this latest drama suggests that things are getting worse rather than better.
Her family even suggest as much. Mercedes has said that Schapelle is seeing a psychiatrist and still taking medication. This is not so bad, but then Mercedes goes on to say that every day is difficult and that Schapelle does not look good.
It is hard to know whether to feel sorry for Schapelle. The sympathy or empathy debate really hinges a lot on whether you believe that she is guilty of the crime for which she has been convicted. If you do believe she is guilty, then it is likely you are in a camp which says, "if you do the crime, you do the time", and in any event, "prison is not supposed to be summer camp or a picnic". You might though also be in the camp that thinks she is guilty, but that 20 years for smuggling 4 kilos of wacky weed was too severe a sentence.
I think that I am in the latter camp.
There is some good news on the horizon for Schapelle, and I guess that good news is relative. It appears that prison authorities are recommending that she be granted a 4-month remission as part of the Indonesian Independence Day celebrations. It might seem much but one needs to be thankful for small mercies. Over time, these remissions build up and can end up knocking years of your original sentence.
I tend to feel if Schapelle can keep a low profile over the next couple of years, preferably with little or no publicity, then an Australian government approach to their Indonesian colleagues with respect to an early release for Schapelle might be viewed favourably. It might require an admission of guilt if it is to be in the form of a pardon. This might be preferable to Schapelle spending any more time in jail than is absolutely necessary. In her fragile mental state perhaps now is not the time to be standing on principle but rather working to get her home.