The headline from the article really tells the whole story: “Dutch prisons use psychics to help prisoners contact the dead”
The subject of “prisoner’s rights” is a tremendously broad topic. Prisoner rights vary wildly from country to country, and state to state.
Understanding that there are a variety of questions concerning the rights of prisoners, both philosophical and practical, can common sense at least rule the day by which we can all agree that the introduction and implementation of pseudo-scientific practices by governments is the wrong thing to do? I hope I’m not going out on too much of a limb here, or looking to deprive someone of their “right” to be exposed to government-sanctioned woo.
From the article in The Telegraph:
Paul van Bree, a self-styled “paragnost” or clairvoyant, has been hired by the Dutch prison service to teach prisoners how to “love themselves”
He has claimed that by talking to both the prisoner and the prisoner’s dead parents he can discover key psychological insights to help the prison authorities rehabilitate criminals.
So I suppose the Dutch Justice Ministry, the overseers of prisoners in The Netherlands, is endorsing the notion of being able to talk to a dead person as a scientific fact? One can only wonder what the Dutch Science Ministry thinks of this.
More from the article:
“With my antennae I sometimes reveal more than a psychologist or a prison welfare officer,” he (van Bree) said. “My work can be compared to mental health care in widest sense of the words.”
Perhaps the Dutch Health Ministry would like to chime in on this opinion at some point?
Should the Dutch Justice Ministry be afforded the benefit of doubt? Is this, most likely, a unique case? Perhaps it is a rare example of a bad decision made by a Dutch bureaucrat?
Well, here’s another unique case of the Dutch governement failing their citizens. Back in 2008, it was reported that Dutch officials forced (yes forced) some of their unemployed masses to participate in past-life recession therapy. Supposedly, this was intended to help the unemployed get themselves into a better mental state to increase their chances of becoming employed again.
From the article, again from The Telegraph:
The long-term Dutch unemployed are being forced into “regression therapy” in the hope that coming to terms with past lives will help them find a job.
… unco-operative welfare claimants have been told they will lose benefits unless they accept the guidance of a regression therapist to help them get in touch with their past lives.
Talk about the ends justifying the means. So who cares if legitimate and scientific tools of psychology are replaced by the the anti-scientific blunt clubs of past-life regression therapy? As long as it “helps” the unemployed find work, then that’s OK, right?
And finally, from the same article:
Klaas Boffcher, at the Dutch Ruach Boraka Centre for Complementary Therapy, uses the technique to help “people find experiences from past identities that could be negatively affecting them today”.
“It is very useful. When someone has a problem finding work it is often more about the need to find out about themselves. Reincarnation therapy can help,” he said.
“Reincarnation therapy is regression to a previous life. People’s complaints and problems have causes not just in the present but also in previous lives.”
Communication with the dead and past life regression are entirely unscientific. There is no prior plausibility to for either. There is no understood mechanism that describes their supposed effects. They are beyond falsification. They are anti-scientific.
Psychic communication with the dead is a parlor trick used by hucksters or those way too blinded by their faith. Past life regression therapy is a technique used (or rather, misused) by psychiatrists to achieve end results that are pleasing to both the patient and the practitioner.
But with the weight of a legitiamte government pressing these practices on an unassuming public, especially those in the direct care and welfare of the state (such as prisoners and the unemployed), it becomes a form of abuse that warrants some serious attention by critically thinking Dutch citizens.