by Patrick H. Moore

Being in jail or prison has it’s advantages. You get three square meals a day of more or less indigestible food and a cheap-ass toothbrush, but these shortcomings can be alleviated by purchasing tasty morsels and personal hygiene items at the trusty commissary. Although you may only get one frayed blanket and a hard pallet, you can always curl up against the ripped belly of a fellow inmate to stay warm during those cold lonely nights. You never have to worry about when to wake up in the morning or when to go to sleep at night. Best of all, unlike out here “in this lonely crowd,” you never lack company in jail or prison. Or as the song “Come With Me” from “The Boys from Syracuse”, written by the immortal songwriter Lorenz Hart of Rodgers & Hart fame, goes:

tooth11Come with me where the food is free, where the landlord never comes near you

Be a guest in a house of rest where the best of fellows can cheer you.

There’s your own little room, so cool, not too much light

Where you’re one man for whom no wife waits up at night

Of course, the above points can also be viewed in precisely the opposite fashion:

 You get three square meals a day of totally indigestible food that you can’t stomach and because you are destitute, you cannot augment your diet with delectable (and expensive) commissary items. Maybe you don’t want to curl up against the ripped belly of a fellow inmate to stay warm. Maybe the idea sickens and disgusts you. Maybe you are a person who enjoys solitude and the great outdoors and perhaps being locked up for an extended period of time with a large group of loud, crude prisoners (most of them) is horrifying and you’d rather kill yourself rather than be put in that position.

Like most things in life, the “joys” of prison life are relative and are open to debate.

There is one fact of jail and prison life, however, that few would deny. The medical and dental care is terrible, so bad that it is shameful that a country like the United States that purports to be a civilized nation cannot do better. But hey, as Bruce  Hornsby said, “That’s Just the Way It Is.”

tooth3Woe betide you if you get a violent toothache and are a short-timer. Their probably ain’t no dentist handy and it’s highly unlikely the authorities are going to send you out to visit one. And apparently this is not just a problem in the U.S.; it’s apparently the same way in Sweden as an unnamed Swedish short-timer recently found out the hard way.

MSN Now and Opposing Views have the story:

The inmate was serving a one-month sentence at the minimum-security Ostragard facility and, according to MSN, said he had complained to prison officials about the pain in his mouth. It was to no avail — he only had a few days left of his sentence and the authorities apparently wanted to save money and decided he was just going to have to tough it out. Either that or they were too lazy to take him a dentist and bring him back. So the inmate resorted to desperate measures: He busted out of jail, found a nearby dentist, had his inflamed tooth removed, then turned himself back in to police.

tooth12Naharnet reported that the breakout took place when the 51-year-old prisoner had just two days left before he was slated to be released from prison.

“My whole face was swollen,” the man told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper. “I just couldn’t stand it anymore.”

Although the inmate’s electronic tag went off after he escaped from the prison, jail staff were unable to locate him. After seeing the dentist, he called the police, who drove him back to the prison.

“Now I only have to pay the dentist bill,” the inmate said, no doubt cheerfully now that he was no longer in pain.

*     *     *     *     *

tooth4Not to rag on the U.S. penal system unduly (one of my favorite activities), but I would be remiss in my duties if I didn’t draw a little comparison at this point. What do you suppose would happen to you if you were a U.S. prisoner serving a sentence and you opted to escape just long enough to have an emergency dental procedure performed and then turned yourself back in? It’s hard to know for sure but you would most likely have several months tacked on to your sentence, maybe longer if the judge was cranky or if your record was bad. What do you suppose the Swedish authorities did?

What they did was the prison officials apparently decided to increase his sentence by one day to account for the time he was AWOL. How’s that for a user friendly prison system? The man has since been released but no one seems to know whether he has paid his dental bill.

Sources: MSN, Naharnet, The Local, Opposing Views


4 Responses to Prisoner in Agony Escapes from Jail to See Dentist, Then Turns Himself Back In

  1. chami says:

    When I was in Sweden (and that was long time back) there was a “violent” debate going on the escalating prison budget and and the five star life-style of the residents. My friends told me that in Norway, there are very few guards and prisoners routinely move in and out.

    Your wife/ girlfriend can not only visit regularly but are permitted to stay overnight.

    The prison (where the ICC 5-star criminals live) at Hague is still better. I do not have the details. But visitors to these criminals get air-fare (first-class or cattle class is not known) and 5-star hotel free.

    What I have to do to get into there?

    • PatrickHMoore says:

      My dear Chami,

      Sweden ain’t Italy. Most people are aware that the northern European nations are relatively enlightened in many respects.

      And American minimal and low security prisons are reasonably decent, called colloquially Club Fed. But to suggest that any prison is “a walk in the park” is fallacious, as I’m sure you are aware of.

  2. Jo-Anne says:

    I am a cold hearted bitch, and feel if you are doing time you are not entitled to luxury but that doesn’t mean I think things should be inhuman just simple and humane

  3. Ethel Lopez says:

    I love this man!!! I applaud him! Now how do the prison system explain this?

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