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    • MP's to vote on this years budget Thursday This Thursday Mp's are set to vote for this year's budget. This will be the first big vote since Parliament rejoined after the Christmas break.  Obviously the Tories with the majority in the Commons and Knights the budget is expected to pass easily.  We will be covering Budget day tomorrow and will update you with any news. With GBNB I'm Amy Collin's.
    • Dead Shffahkian Inmate Found in Solitary Confinement Cell Ignites Controversy Jaïr Taulle, 38, was found dead in a solitary confinement cell in the Éleigne Federal Penitentiary on January the 7th 2019. The death was initially reported as a suicide by the prison faculty. However, the sister of the deceased, Anne Lozé, didn't buy the initial report later filing a request for an investigative committee to look into the matter on January 9th. The Committee for the Investigation of Prisoner Maltreatment in Éleigne Federal Penitentiary returned January 14th with its findings that would go on to shock many Shffahkians. The committee found that Jaïr Taulle had died of dehydration as a result of extreme neglect from the prison staff.   Interviews with staff members reveal that he was left as the only inmate in solitary confinement by a checking error leading to him essentially being forgotten. A guard wishing to remain anonymous said ".... [the] part where solitary confinement is located is actually rarely visited by guards or staff when there's no inmate there." The committee concluded with the finding that a checking error had led to Taulle being reported as absent from solitary confinement when in reality he was still there. The guard in charge of checking was found to not have been actually the one to conduct the procedure. Rather he had left it to another guard which according to the anonymous guard isn't very rare. "The lack of resources and manpower often leads to situations where senior guards allocate their duties to newer officers." The horrific discovery of the actual conditions in Éleigne has galvanized many into action and caused an uproar in many parts of Shffahkia. The locals living near Éleigne have signed a petition to close the facility down. The petition will be looked over by the Mines Générales rehabilitation committee. Yet this isn't the first time the treatment of prisoners has caused uproar in Shffahkia. It isn't even the first time Éleigne has caused such controversy. Colloquially Éleigne is known as Monmor (Mont Mort) for its location and infamous reputation.  Prison reform has long been discussed and advocated for. There has even been a hit movie called "The Blue Inmate"  based on a book of the same name written by Sacha Taôme. The Blue Inmate is a biography telling the story of the writer's own experiences as an inmate in a similar neglected facility in the early 2000s. The most memorable scene from the movie is the so called "yard execution" where a guard outright shoots an uncooperative inmate. "The system became very clear to me at that moment. Guards who are willing to do egregious acts get promoted while the decent leave. This is all in the name of efficiency, to keep the facility productive. The food shortages, overworking inmates and the disregard most are put under make perfect sense when you think of the purpose of the facility: to produce as much as possible with the lowest cost. It all creates this toxic atmosphere where inmates live in a perpetual state of terror fearing for their very survival. To my knowledge, that guard hasn't faced any repercussions for taking the inmate's life to this day." Sacha writes about the occurrence.  Tougher Than Tough When Is It Enough? Enacting prison reform isn't a simple affair. The Federal Senate, the Chamber of Representatives and the Collective of Ministers have no say in prison reform as rehabilitation and facilities related to it are strictly under the control of the Shffahkian Council. The sitting president of the Council, President Rémy, has flat out stopped any attempt at reform. His "tougher-than-tough" rehabilitation policy is mostly credited with the current prison system and its results both good and bad. According to the current system, inmates are classified as either risk inmates or not. The risk classification is given to repeat offenders or inmates charged with especially heinous crimes such as murder or corruption. In practice, this creates two systems, and depending on the system where an inmate is put, it could be the difference between rehabilitation and neglect.  System 1 has been praised for its efficiency and results. First-time offenders often find that prison life in the 1st system resembles everyday life with facilities looking more like campuses. Inmates also have a myriad of employment and education options. The 1st system is first and foremost made to rehabilitate. As a result, it boasts great results such as a low return rate. The 1st system seems and in many ways is radically forgiving. It is focused on the bigger picture, what's best for society. In stark contrast to the 1st system, is the 2nd system where so called risk inmates are sent. Repeated offences, bad behavior and heinous crimes lead to an inmate being branded as a risk. The largest difference between the two systems is that the 2nd system is not designed to rehabilitate its prisoners. Risk inmates are often forced to into physical labor and are offered little in terms of educational opportunities. The 2nd system has a history of being put under international and local scrutiny for its cruel and unusual practices. Inmates that do leave the 2nd system often experience dire physical and psychological medical problems from beatings and psychological torture which are a part of everyday prison life. President Rémy's prison reforms have set a bleak outlook for anyone designated to be a risk since funding has largely been allocated to the 1st system. A 2017 study from the University of Shffahkiaville revealed that 2nd system facilities allocate only a 6th of the funding per prisoner than their 1st system counterparts.  "The lack of funding has led to facilities having to compensate through 'morally grey' activities. These include selling prisoner labor even when the facility in question isn't a labor camp and reselling prisoner's food and other supplies which means prisoners often get food only every other day in the present and that prison cafeterias are often empty. This is because facilities in the 2nd system often have such lacking funding that we have next to nothing left after we consider the pay for the faculty. If a facility wants to have educational courses or anything of the sort, it has to come up with the funding itself." An anonymous warden had to say of the situation. The Senate, Chamber and Collective of Ministers have all passed bills officially requesting for prison reform from the Council, but President Rémy has stood by his reforms arguing that a harsher stance on repeat offenders and heinous criminals deters crime, and that lowered funding leads to the resources being spent on those who still have a chance of rehabilitation. In fact, President Rémy has advocated for even harsher treatment but has been stopped by more moderate members of the Shffahkian Council. With the situation as it is in the Council, prison reform of any kind seems unlikely despite popular demand. 
    • The Aresi Stone is a story I'm writing about the deciphering of the Aresi Stone that could possibly take an Indiana Jones-ish turn. It will involve @Limonaia and @Prymont initially, but the nations can decide to be involved later. How does this sound?
    • Hey Aluxia I can whip up a fairly clear map for you if you want to just give me a rough sketch of what's going on.
    • With a gentle nod at the completion of the summit, he got up from his table. He went and set a timer for 30 minutes on his phone and began to follow those who left to visit the Eisteddfod, ignoring the press following him around completely. He could just feel the headlines begin to be written and generated, "President Tartaglione seen visiting PyeMcGowan Eisteddfod," he imagined. There was still that feeling in the back of his mind about possible listening devices being placed in the conference hall. One reporter with a notepad leaped in front of the president. "Loki Freymarsson, Alenian National Tribune! What has changed about the Chionian and Leverne Island fishing rights? What did you talk about in there?"  President Tartaglione suddenly panicked, Loki had scared him and he almost forgot what he was supposed to say. With a stutter, he spoke, "tariffs on imported foodstuffs are being lowered." Loki squinted at the president and, with a nod, wrote it down on his notepad. "Thank you, Mr. President." Loki ran off and vanished into the crowd. President Tartaglione continued with his day and returned to the Hall of Prosperity cafeteria for lunch.
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