“Prisons are just like holiday camps nowadays” spits some bloke in the pub who has never been anywhere near a prison and who would weep real salty tears if there were ever to be even an inkling that he may be sent there to reside. To be fair, I’ve been to Butlins and I certainly wouldn’t fancy a ten-stretch there by any means. At least in prison you presumably don’t have to put up with perma-smiling Red Coats ruining your peace and quiet.
However, the penal system (stop sniggering!) must keep evolving, whether you feel it is too harsh or too lenient, and here’s my two-penneth. I know for a fact Home Secretary Theresa May will be reading this, she’s watching EVERYTHING you look at online, and she can have these for free if she wants to free up some jail space and punish criminals in the community.
You want to REALLY punish someone for a crime? Make them hang out with a toddler for a few hours. Recidivism would be eradicated. Here are some toddler-based punishments for offenders:
Spend a whole day putting gloves onto toddlers’ hands.
For the first year or so, children wear mittens in the cold weather. Perfect. You slip them on and they keep the whole hand warm. When they get older, they selfishly want to use their new-found motor skills to pick things up, hold things and generally waggle their fingers around. Unfortunately, getting the correct toddler fingers in the correct part of the glove is not something they, or you, are capable of with any ease, leading to general squirming, grumpiness and impatience from both parties.
By the third time they mistakenly put two fingers down the same hole, the criminal will be entirely repentant and have dedicated the rest of their days to the clergy. Maybe.
Read the same story 30 times in a row.
Rod Campbell’s Dear Zoo is a beautiful story, with the subject of the book listing the inappropriate animals sent by the admittedly-reckless zoo as potential pets before they settle on a (spoiler alert) dog. However, after you reach the thrilling conclusion, only to be told “AGAIN!”, some of the charm wears off.
By the fifth time of reading in one session, the will to live starts to seep away. By the tenth time, you’re looking for ways to skip a few pages without the toddler realising (pro tip: Elsa doesn’t mind if you flick past the page with the camel).
Thirty times should be enough to suitably admonish a delinquent.
Make them take a journey of longer than 30 minutes soundtracked by Sing and Sign.
This is the reason that this would be such a perfect Christmas present for parents:
In my judicial paradise, this would not be an option for the crook, neither is weaning little ‘un onto the Alternative Toddler Playlist.
Forget the old Guantanamo Bay trick of blasting Metallica or David Gray (both true, apparently) as psychological warfare, just try Ring a Ring o’Roses over and over and over.
Put them in charge of the music for Pass the Parcel all day.
My least favourite part of parenthood isn’t the sleep deprivation, as some might expect, it’s the intense pressure of having to make sure every child wins a round of Pass the Parcel and receives a gift. No matter how hard you concentrate if you are tasked with controlling the music, as the game reaches its denouement the doubts will creep in and you will find yourself certain that you have missed one of the little cherubs out. But which one?
Prime Ministers and Presidents endure sleepless nights, agonising over the responsibility of having their fingers hovering over the nuclear button and that’s how I feel at a party, knowing that one mistimed tap of the iPad could result in an intense toddler meltdown of epic proportions.
Sit a criminal in that hot chair for a day, in charge of Pass the Parcel for a procession of toddler parties, and they will soon be reevaluating their lifestyle choices.
Do you have any more toddler-based punishments to add? Stick them in the comments!