Many celebrants will have had the experience of welcoming a convict at a funeral, together with the prison officer to whom he/she is shackled. Do, please, share your experience in a comment.
In Australia, belt-tightening has led to a review of the cost of this service to the banged-up bereaved:
The Department of Corrective Services plans to save more than $500,000 by allowing prisoners to virtually attend funerals streamed on the internet instead of transporting them to the service in person.
There is opposition to this, especially in the cases of Aboriginal prisoners, for whom attendance at funerals is a cultural obligation.
The Inspector of Custodial Services, Neil Morgan, has some interestingly critical things to say, especially about virtual attendance. There are people out there who think that virtual attendance is the future of funeralgoing. It’s possible that, before long, bereaved people will be facing pressure from their workplace to pop into a quiet room, follow it on their iPad and get back to their desk. Here’s Mr Morgan:
“There can’t be closure to a person’s death until there’s been a physical attendance. You don’t attend virtually in my view, you either attend or you don’t. Have you ever given a hug to anybody over the internet? If you skype with people it’s nice to see them but it’s actually also sometimes quite distressing and difficult; there’s no physical contact available.”
Full story here. Hat tip to Beverley Webb.