An outrageously misleading piece of garbage “reporting” from the hacks at the Herald Sun this morning:

A VICTIMS support group says it’s disgusting that Victoria’s worst criminals are feasting on gourmet delights including duck, prawns, rib-eye steaks and sushi.

The Herald Sun has learned murderous fiends including Peter Dupas, cop killer Bandali Debs, CBD killer Christopher Wayne Hudson and rapist John Xydias are chowing down on a smorgasbord of delicacies.

Roast turkey, porterhouse steak, prawn cutlets and smoked salmon also feature on a delectable list of items served up to inmates at Barwon Prison.

In documents obtained by the Herald Sun under Freedom of Information laws, the State Government revealed inmates gorge on mountains of cheese, delicious pastries and fresh fruit.

Sounds delicious. No wonder the families of the victims, who the Herald Sun chose to provoke with the above absurd rubbish, were outraged. One murder victim’s father the journalists cruelly taunted with this unbelievable tale was quoted advocating capital punishment by starvation:

“Some of them shouldn’t be given anything. They shouldn’t be alive,” he said.

But here’s the kicker:

Over nine months between October 2009 and July last year, the prison, which held on average 317 inmates a day, spent more than $623,000 on food – about $218 a month an inmate.

Or $7 a day. Or $2.42 a meal.

Yeah, “gourmet” meals.

Whiskas cat food sometimes claims to have “duck” or “fish” in it (often it even pretends to contain “meat”), but I’ve never seen it look anything like the picture the Herald Sun concluded the prisoners’ meals must resemble:

$2.42 worth, if you believe the Herald Sun. Those prison contractors must be MIRACLE workers.

Seriously, who believes this guff? Prisoners are fed slop. Of course they’re fed slop. The prisons are increasingly managed by private companies whose motive is profit, not prisoner comfort. Of course they cut corners. Of course they do the bare minimum they can get away with without losing the contract. And our governments – prompted by the culture of hate and fear promoted by tabloid charlatans at the Herald Sun and on talkback radio – are happy to turn a blind eye to it. Prisoners “have it too easy”? Have any of the following commenters ever visited a prison?

Jack of Gippsland Posted at 11:41 AM Today

It’s time the people of this state/country actually stood up to the government. This is bloody disgusting when we have hardworking decent people living on the poverty line or below and they cannot afford a decent meal. STAND UP PEOPLE, GET ORGANISED, STOP YOUR TAXES KEEPING THESE PIGS SO WELL FED!


jorge rodriguez of brisbane Posted at 11:42 AM Today

obviously crime does pay, where do we sign up ?

Seriously, if any Herald Sun commenters think it’s so great inside I, for one, am more than happy for my tax dollars to give them the opportunity to find out. I’m sure pretty much every prisoner in there would be willing to share the “high life” with them. It’s okay – we’ll let you out again when you’ve had enough “Club Med”.

Look, I know there’s some satisfaction for people who are doing it tough to feel righteous anger that others have it better than you, but – people in jail? Really? How gullible can you be?

UPDATE: Another commenter reveals how misleading stories like this again make victims of victims of crime:

Chris of Northern Suburbs Posted at 8:08 AM Today

After the article in the Herald Sun back in August was written, I was infuriated with the “easy life” behind bars, as I am a victim of rape and to know the perp was enjoying life like this, makes a mockery of the judiciary system telling me….”we’re getting tough with these criminals”!!! Hmmmmmm I think it’s tough on us victims to read this. I wrote to the department of justice and Premier Brumby at the time and was given lip service response – basically…prisoners have to be rehabiliated for when they are released, they do have to do it tough….. basically, I was “fobbed off” and told the Herald Sun article was a true representation! So who knows what the truth is?

Use your common sense, Chris. The sensationalist hacks are playing you. It’s a nasty game and you have every right to be angry – but try to direct it at the people profiting from your misery, cynically and disingenuously manipulating your pain, rather than their targets.

UPDATE #2: This appears to be their source (hat tip Matthew).

ELSEWHERE: And the NSW Liberals promise to increase the cost of prisons in the budget by unnecessarily and expensively filling them with drunks.