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Built in 1896 and in continuous use until 1995, this pinwheel style quaker prison was a reflection of a similar one located nearby. You can tour that one for a few dollars and take as many pictures as you like. This one was not so easy.... It was the site of a controversial decades-long dermatological, pharmaceutical, and biochemical weapons research projects involving testing on inmates. The prison is also notable for several major riots in the early 1970s. The prison was home to several trials which raised several ethical and moral questions pertaining to the extent to which humans can be experimented on. In many cases, inmates chose to undergo several inhumane trials for the sake of small monetary reward. The prison was viewed as a human laboratory. “All I saw before me were acres of skin. It was like a farmer seeing a fertile field for the first time.” Dr. X One inmate described experiments involving exposure to microwave radiation, sulfuric and carbonic acid, solutions which corroded and reduced forearm epidermis to a leather-like substance, and acids which blistered skin in the testicular areas. In addition to exposure to harmful chemical agents, patients were asked to physically exert themselves and were immediately put under the knife to remove sweat glands for examination. In more gruesome accounts, fragments of cadavers were stitched into the backs of inmates to determine if the fragments could grow back into functional organs. So common was the experimentation that in the 1,200-person prison facility, around 80% to 90% of inmates could be seen experimented on. The rise of testing harmful substances on human subjects first became popularized in the United States when President Woodrow Wilson allowed the Chemical Warfare Service (CAWS) during World War I. All inmates who were tested upon in the trials had consented to the experimentation, however, they mostly agreed for incentives like monetary compensation. Experiments in the prison often paid around $30 to $50 and even as much as $800. “I was in prison with a low bail. I couldn’t afford the monies to pay for bail. I knew that I wasn’t guilty of what I was being held for. I was being coerced to plea bargain. So, I thought, if I can get out of this, get me enough money to get a lawyer, I can beat this. That was my first thought.” I expected to find an epic medical ward only to be filled with disappointment. The practice was so common I can only assume it was conducted everywhere. Many advocates of the prison trials, such as Solomon McBride, who was an administrator of the prisons, remained convinced that there was nothing wrong with the experimentation at the Holmesburg prison. McBride argued that the experiments were nothing more than strapping patches of cloth with lotion or cosmetics onto the backs of patients and argued this was a means for prisoners to earn an easy income. The negative public opinion was particularly heightened by the 1973 Congressional Hearing on Human Experimentation. The hearing was supposed to discuss the Tuskegee Syphilis Study and clarify the ethical and legal implications of human experimental research. This climate called for a conscious public which rallied against the use of vulnerable populations such as prisoners as guinea pigs. Companies and organizations who associated themselves with human testing faced severe backlash. Amidst the numerous senate hearings, public relation nightmares, and opponents to penal experimentation, county prison boards realized human experimentation was no longer acceptable to the American public. Swiftly, human testing on prisoners was phased out of the United States. Only a renovated gymnasium is considered suitable for holding inmates. That building is frequently used for overflow from other city jails. The district attorney launched an extensive two year investigation documenting hundreds of cases of the rape of inmates. The United States had ironically been strong enforcers of the Nuremberg Code and yet had not followed the convention until the 1990s. The Nuremberg code states: “[T]he person involved should have legal capacity to give consent; should be so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice, without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, overreaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion; and should have sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the elements of the subject matter involved as to enable him to make an understanding and enlightened decision.” The prison trials violated this definition of informed consent because inmates did not know the nature of materials they were experimented with and only consented due to the monetary reward. America’s shutting down of prison experimentation such as those in the prison signified the compliance of the Nuremberg Code of 1947. You look so precious.
History Palmerston North Police Station, originally one of four stations in the city, was completed in 1938 at a cost of Â£30,000, and operated up until 2005. The existing building was built on the site of the former wooden Victorian era police station and, in keeping up with modernist ideas and technologies sweeping across the county at the time, its design included seismic resistant concrete. Respectable structural engineers from California, Japan and New Zealand worked in partnership to implement and advance the use of reinforced concrete throughout its construction. The building is also based on a stripped classical style, which restricts the use of classical design elements (i.e. columns, decorations and pediments), and much of the exterior is plastered over to exhibit imitation stone joints. At the time, Palmerston North was considered to be an exemplary example of a modern police station in the southern hemisphere, and it attracted much attention from the Australian State Police who requested the siteâ€™s plans to assist in the construction of their own stations across the Tasman. It was reported that the police station stood to represent efficiency and subsequently a large number of cells, most equip with a toilet and some with a shower, were incorporated into the buildingâ€™s design, alongside living quarters and other areas for staff. Interestingly, after the closure of the former Palmerston Police Station crime, between 2006-2010, rose significantly and the overall rate for the city was equal to the rest of New Zealand as a whole; although crime rates have dropped in more recent years. What began as nothing more than a small clearing in a forest, formerly occupied by indigenous Maori communities, the city of Palmerston North has risen to become one of the fastest growing cities in New Zealand. Since the arrival of British and Scandinavian Europeans, the area has been entirely transformed and as the forests disappeared farmlands and cityscape began to appear. Our Version of Events Well folks, it happened, we finally found ourselves holed up in a police station, and an especially grim one at that. Three people or more to most cells, traditional plastic coated foam mattresses, one shared stainless steel toilet (with an incorporated sink on top), a shower if youâ€™re lucky, graffiti from former inmates, and a peep hole for the guards to watch you taking a shit. As we arrived in the city police presence was tremendously high, and as we discovered the new police station is only a few hundred metres down the road. Nevertheless, we managed to amble on inside and the explore was excellent. Although itâ€™s mostly stripped, many of the original features survive and you get a good feel for what it would be like being a â€˜bad-guyâ€™ in one of the old Robocop films. The graffiti inside the cells is incredible; a mixture of former gang membersâ€™, general â€˜bad-guysâ€™â€™ and Maori captivesâ€™ thoughts and feelings. Thereâ€™s a certain sense of satisfaction to be had being able to see police officers walking outside the windows and watching them move about the street when you pop your head over the edge of the rooftop. Explored with Nillskill and Zort. 1: Palmerston North Police Station 2: Coat of arms 3: Old paperwork 4: Small cell 5: Large cell 6: Peep hole for the guards (opposite the toilet inside the cell) 7: Willy Mitford (research him, there's a good story) 8: Viva La Revolution 9: The other end of a larger cell 10: Stainless steel toilet and sink 11: Corridor to cells 12: Toilet roll and bar of soap (one for each cell, after that you're using your hand) 13: Fume cupboard 14: Examination/evidence sink 15: Steve Irwin 16: Booking room (looking down into the cell blocks) 17: Temporary holding cell 18: Booking room 19: Print room 20: Front of the station (the public side) 21: Map of Palmerston North (inside the chief's office) 22: Main reception (for the innocent folk) 23: Main reception and front door 24: Upstairs (staff area) 25: Staff bar 26: Palmerston North Main Street 27: The new police station 28: Behind the reception booth 29: A very large camera 30: Prisoner drop-off area