Monday, April 28, 2003

Victims decide fate of killers? Northern Territory Gov't

Love the Sinner - Hate the Sin

The families of murder victims could be asked if they think the killer should be released in a report being prepared by the NT Government Northern Territory News 12 April 03.

The victim's statement would be taken when the murderer became eligible for parole after serving 20 years in jail.

But that means the victims will want to bring other issues into the matter 20 years later which is not fair. This is retribution and that is not why people are sent to prison according to Justice John Nagle in his 1978 report on the Royal Commission on NSW Prisons.

The prisoner is taken out of the community not for punishment but as punishment. Not retribution. Retribution does not come into the formula.

All that is lost is liberty according to the Nagle Royal Commission.

After a letter was written to GKCNN by a concerned resident Meg from NT she has raised the matter and wants to speak to the N.T. government's Minister for Justice, Dr Peter Toyne and this is one way she can.

She said, "We are a concerned group of people who would like to see mandatory life sentencing for murder abolished."

"Discretion must be returned to the judges. If you have a loved one, family member, friend who would like to join this delegation contact Justice Action and we will pass the message on."

Included in her letter to us she listed a range of reasons and history.

"Mandatory sentencing for murder was introduced by Shane Stone and the CLP on a get tough on crime agenda in 1991. As a consequence the ALP has inherited this policy, in October of 2001 shortly after they were elected the ALP announced a review of this policy . Today we still don't know what is going on about this."

"I believe that MLS for murder takes the justice out of the hands of the judges and juries of the Northern Territory and I believe that it is wrong that a sentence is decided before the trial is over. Like mandatory sentencing for property crime this policy takes away the real power of the justice system in our land. "

"Politicians are the judges and the juries up here at the moment."

"I am hoping of getting a positive change here the NT regards to this current situation. I am appealing to you because there are so many aboriginal people affected by this policy. Now is the time that if we get together we might be able to make a difference." Meg said.

Northern Territory News has reported the history of mandatory sentencing 19 October 01, "NT jail law appeals tipped after vote." 5, December 01, "Murderer to face another year's jail" June 6, 02 "Split over freeing killers." 7 June 02, "Writing on prison wall".

Perhaps NT leaders could temper the law and order debate like Premier Bob Carr, the NSW Premier who now calls for a fresh approach.

New South Wales Premier Bob Carr wants politicians to temper the law and order debate and consider new ways to rehabilitate offenders.

Carr says the law and order bidding war that dominated the recent state election campaign is not constructive.

He made the comments while visiting a rehabilitation centre for female inmates [prisoners] in Sydney's west, which has slashed the rate of repeat offenders.

The Parramatta Transitional Centre provides life skills for about 20 women to help them prepare for life away from jail.

Carr says there needs to be a shift in thinking on law and order issues.

"I just think the community is ready for a fresher approach that says if you put resources into rehabilitation like this, you're going to get less reoffending, less crime and safer communities.," he said.

By Gregory Kable 28 April 03

THE NUN: learning forgiveness is a challenge that we all need to focus on in order to balance on that big round ball we call earth and that little round ball in our stomach. Because without forgiveness you suffer no matter who or what it is about. Gandhi said, "if it was an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth there would be allot of blind, toothless people in the world."

It was the sin that hurt you not the sinner. Why? Because people only learn from trial and error and will always make mistakes. Further, society cannot be built without trial and error. Do you want a society? A human being is not infallible. Hence forgiveness. So you can choose to love the sinner and hate the sin. People are not dogmatic nor are they disposable. In fact a human being is priceless and unique and ought to be granted further opportunities to prove it, even after they have made a mistake. If you choose retribution forgiveness becomes difficult and cancer may set in and do your head in, even after the prisoner has learnt from the mistake and moved on....


Yes Minister: 'Justice Action meets John Hatzistergos Justice Mininster'
In order to begin on a reasonable note in our relationship we have been patient. Today the Chief of Staff said that "rehabilitation" was included as a role for prison, alongside deterrence and retribution. [? Retribution until the prisoners' are released?]

Beyond Bars Alliance colleagues
There are certainly problems with the IG's terms of reference and the position is not nearly as strong as it should or could be but it should not be lost it should be strengthened (along the lines of the UK IG of Prisons) to provide an independent voice to the Parliament regarding activities and processes that otherwise happen behind prison walls.

Submissions for Review of Inspector General
There is a very serious attack happening on the office of the NSW Inspector General of Corrective Services. A secret and flawed review is taking place at this moment, and we call upon all individuals and organisations interested in the area to make their views known.

Two thirds of a billion dollars and DCS can't work out what authority they have? "Two thirds of a billion dollars of taxpayers money and the Department of Corrective Services can't work out what authority they have to hold the people who are in jail."

Australia: Private Prisons, Junee NSW
When I got to Junee I was given nothing except bed linen. That's it! No clothing. I had to put my name down for clothing, which they said I could get on Saturday. When I went down to get my clothing on Saturday I was told they had nothing but I was told that I could buy what I wanted on their monthly buy-up. In the mean time I got rashes between my legs from the dirty clothes I had on.

Justice Action meets with new Minister for Justice
John Hatzistergos Minister for Justice is meeting with Brett Collins and Justice Action today at 11:30 a.m.

The prisoners of Lithgow Correctional Centre have requested that the Lithgow Inmate Development Committee write to you on their behalf and ask that the phone systems heavy burden upon the prisoners at this institution and their families be reviewed. I will outline the problems.

Health problems denied in prison
Lithgow Correctional Centre (IDC) Inmate Development Committee "Currently there are 72 inmates on the doctors waiting list with only one doctor coming fortnightly and usually on a weekend".

'Old guard dog' dig in heels on NSW Govt front bench - The rolling of the filthy heads... The New South Wales Premier is yet to convince at least one of his long-standing ministers to stand aside to make way for new blood on the front bench.

NSW Prisons Inmate Development Committee speaks out
I am writing on behalf of the IDC Inmate Development Committee in area 3, MSPC at Long Bay. Area 3 is where, the Department is congregating minimum-security offenders within maximum-security walls whilst awaiting mandatory programs at Cubit (Sex Offenders Program).

THE GULAG TREATMENT - The Trauma Of Court Appearances When Incarcerated Prisoner transport vehicle 10th January 2003 It's about 4.40am, very darkoutside and although I'm expecting it, it is still intrusive when my dreams are interrupted by the sound of my name, it is the officer checking that I'm awake ready to face the long day ahead.

Sir David Longland Correctional Centre
If it were possible to characterize the term B Block attitude in a modern dictionary, it would read something like "demeanor of inhabitance" or "state of mind or behaviour of occupants".

SIR DAVID LONGLAND CORRECTIONAL CENTRE QLD - CELLS IN B BLOCK The cells in B Block are like no other in any Queensland prison. After Mr. Cooper was severally embarrassed by the Abbott and Co escape on 4th November 1997, he visited B Block and the surrounding grounds. It was that visit, by Cooper, that set in motion a plan (up the ante) to make sure security in B Block would never embarrass him again. It was like closing the gate after the horse has bolted.

Inspector General Ignored On Womens Prison
Four months after a report from the Inspector General on Mulawa Correctional Centre, key recommendations involving safety and welfare of prisoners and staff have been ignored. Kathryn Armstrong (former chair of Inmate Development Committee) and Annabel Walsh, released from Mulawa Womens Prison in February, have produced an independent report confirming the findings of the Inspector General.

Distribution of: 'How to Votes in prisons'?
Justice Action have received information from Andrew Burke of the NSW Greens that they have enquired with the Department of Corrective Services as to the procedure for distributing their How To Votes in prisons in the period before the election.

Getting Justice Wrong DPP make full admissions
Back in May 2001 Nicholas Cowdery QC made an error at law by giving a speech called Getting Justice Wrong at the University of New England, Armidale Thursday, 31 May 2001. Sir Frank Kitto, Lecture now published at the DPP website. At page six, paragraph 3 under the heading:

Inspector-General: The Greens believe that the role of the Inspector-General is crucial to the proper functioning of the prison system. It has never been more important to have a powerful watchdog role than today. Section 3.11 of our Criminal Justice Policy commits the Greens to "strengthening the role of the Inspector-General of Prisons."

Long Bay Prison: The latest inside story
Private food purchases called Buy-Ups that normally take care of the prisoners additional food nutrition in Jail has been changed.

Doing time even harder: 146 prisoners far from home
The United States, however, has detained without trial about 650 men from 43 countries. They include Australians David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib, who are held at the Guantanamo Bay naval base as part of the sweep against global terrorism [scapegoats for the Coalition of the Killing's, pre-emptive strikes, occupation and genocide for resources in the Middle East.]

Human Rights 'Framed'
Here is a quick report on our Human Rights Commission approach on Framed (the quarterly magazine of Justice Action) being banned from all NSW prisons. After 42 issues went in.

Prison Privatisation: Death camps looming in NSW
I asked for the identification of the person I was speaking to and was told that I was not entitled to that information. I needed to verify the call and asked for a name or number to register my call because I was asked to get those details by my coordinator.The person refused to identify themselves either by name or number. I asked to be transferred to a senior person and was refused. The person I spoke to then hung up the phone.

Justice Action criticises Govt's victim voice policy
Victims are not being properly considered in compensation and no expression is given to them, of community goodwill. A spokesperson for Justice Action Mr Brett Collins said, "No community expression or concern is given to the victims of crime. They feel their pain is not acknowledged by the government which tries to balance pain against pain. Never! The community is being misled."

NSW education professor warns further commitment needed
The author of a report on the New South Wales education system has urged the major political parties to do more for education in the election campaign.

Coalition proposes to exploit children
The Coalition says it would reform juvenile justice in New South Wales to require the courts to "get tough" on juvenile crime.

Corrections Victoria and criminal acts: SCS-4\320 UPDATE
You have stated "Section 30 of the Corrections Act 1986 and the Information Privacy Act 2000, restricts the release of confidential information regarding prisoners, I therefore am unable to provide any information regarding this matter."

Death camps looming in Victoria
A letter was received on 15 January 03 from SCS-4\320 a remand prisoner in Victoria's Barwon Prison I later found out that the prisoner was in the Acacia High Security Unit.

Jail search finds knives, syringes
Mr Brett Collins a spokesperson for Justice Action said, "It shows there is a lot of desperation in the prison system at the moment and has been for some time."

Take crime talk beyond the bars:'lobby group'
A coalition of academics, crime experts, welfare and church groups is preparing to launch an intensive pre-election campaign aimed at refocusing the attention of NSW politicians from harsh sentencing reforms to crime prevention strategies.

Six weeks, six months, six years: inmates have little chance of making fresh start More than 15,500 people are released from NSW prisons each year, twice the number of 20 years ago. But new research shows many ex-prisoners find it impossible to reintegrate into society and, months after release, are worse off than before they went to jail.

Fiona Stanley, the children's crusader
It is all about prevention. As Fiona Stanley sees it, with one in five Australian teenagers experiencing significant mental health problems, there are just not enough treatment services to cope with the demand.

Attempted thong theft costs $560
A man has been fined $500 after appearing in a northern New South Wales court charged with stealing a pair of thongs.

NSW A-G moves to stop criminals and ex-criminals selling stories
From next month criminals or ex-criminals who try to profit (earn a living for paid work, like writing a book etc..) from their crimes in New South Wales will have the proceeds confiscated.

NSW Govt criticised over criminal justice record
Key criminal justice groups have described the New South Wales Government's record on justice issues as a "disappointing performance".

The decision of the Carr government to appoint John Jacob Klok as the new Assistant Commissioner for Corrective Services in charge of security represents a statement of contempt to all those concerned about law and justice in NSW.

How NSW Dept of Corrective Services spent $800,000 dollars to rehabilitate a Sydney man sentenced to life for second murder! A spokesperson for Justice Action Mr Pro Grams said, "Well it's your money, how would you like it spent? And what do you think about rehabilitation on behalf of the Department of Corruptive Services?

Prisoners Representatives Excommunicated
Ron Woodham, Commissioner Corrective Services stated "[this Department] does not recognise Justice Action as an advocate on correctional centre issues." He has ordered a ban on all Justice Action material inside the NSW prison system. This resulted from a request for the approval of the latest edition of Framed (the Magazine of Justice Action) to be distributed throughout NSW prisons as has occurred for the past ten years.

Academic devises scheme for low income earners to pay back fines:
A professor at the Australian National University [another one of John Howard's hand picked losers like Peter Saunders the social services head-kicker has come up with a scheme which could see low income earners pay back criminal fines over a period of time.

Dept of Corrective Services: Rotten Ron Woodham on the ropes
This is The Freeedom Of Speech and The Press in a goldfish-bowl! Herr Goebells has spoken. Zieg Heil! (Which means, actually: "aim-for health!" incidentally)Apologies for not making meetings ... my first experiences with Woodham (then a -screw-gestapo-minor-with-a-friendly-dog - AND YOU KNOW WHAT IT MEANS WHEN EVEN HIS DOG DOESN`T LIKE HIM?)

At the Minister's Pleasure The case of Michael Kelly
Michael is caught up in a particularly cruel version of the game of Cat and Mouse. Because he is classified as a forensic patient under the Mental Heath Act of NSW, the Minister for Health is his master, not the Minister for Corrective Services. And the Minister for health will not let him go.

Name removed by request served time in prison decades ago. Shes still being punished today. According to commonwealth and state legislation, ex-prisoners applying for jobs must declare any conviction that fits into the following categories: less than 10 years old, more than 10 years old but served more than 30 months in prison.

The Australian Law Reform Commission had recommended that the Innocence Panel be independent and have the power to investigate alleged miscarriages of justice.

Australian prisons are fast becoming the new asylums of the third millennium. The prison industry is booming, while Australia spends far less on mental health services than similar countries.

NSW Department of Corrective Services attack right to privacy
Corrective Services Minister Richard Amery has a problem attacking prisoners right to privacy.It seems to us that a civil society is best served when social justice laws are applied to all people regardless of their circumstances. Once government starts making exceptions which disadvantage certain groups and individuals, such laws are meaningless.

Litigants are drowning: in the High Court
There were so many self represented litigants appearing in the High Court that more than half of its registry staff's time was taken up in dealing with them. The "go it alone" litigants have to take on tasks well above their qualified league causing them stress. This growing problem cannot be left unchecked.

Everyone wants to get out of 'jail' but 'Framed' wants life: Rotten Ron on the ropes On 2 May 2002, Justice Action received a faxed letter from Manager of DCS Operations Support Branch saying that, in his view, articles in Framed edition #42 'lack balance and integrity' and he is therefore 'not prepared to recommend this issue of Framed for placement in to correctional centre libraries.' Prisoners and those concerned about prisoner issues have very few sources of information.

Methadone addicts formed within: 'NSW Prisons'
The New South Wales Opposition has accused the State Government of turning jailed heroin users into Methadone addicts.

Murder charge first for DNA data bank link, but not the same as solving the murder Mass DNA testing of prisoners has [allegedly] led to the first NSW case of a person being charged with a previously unsolved murder as a result of a controversial gene-matching data bank.

Medical Records: Alex Mitchell's lost world
Perhaps we can get your medical report and spew it around publicly so you can see how it feels. But surely we do not have to go that far. And of course we are law-abiding citizens and I should think it would be enough to remind you of your ethics to report at all.

Prisoners can prove innocence for $20?
Les Kennedy Daily Telegraph reported today that" Prisoners who believe that DNA will prove they were wrongly convicted will have the chance to prove their innocence for a mere $20 administration fee. The move comes 20 months after NSW inmates were asked to provide DNA for comparison with a databank of DNA from unsolved crime scenes for possible convictions.

NSW opposition pledges review of detention laws
A spokesperson for Justice Action Ms Anal Advice said " NSW Prisons are a sex offence if you have been raped, bashed and squatted down to be strip searched. People should be diverted from going there at all material times".

Civil libertarians condemn planned changes to prisoners' privacy rights The New South Wales Government is using a recent case involving [framed] serial killer Ivan Milat to justify its decision to remove the privacy rights of prisoners. But really just another attack on Ivan Milat from Parliament House.

The punishment: Is the 'crime'
The punishment is the crime according to retired chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia Justice Alistair Nicholson. "Smacking a child ought to be seen as assault".

Mr. & Mrs. Mandatory Sentencing
Well congratulations to the bride and groom. Could you please be upstanding and raise your glasses for Mr. And Mrs. Mandatory.

Just wipe your arse on Ivan again Minister?
Mr Amery Minister for Corrective services has a problem with finding a toilet roll to wipe his bottom. Justice Action is appalled at the attacks by Amery and others in parliament on Ivan Milat's right to privacy and their attacks on the Privacy Commissioner and his office.

NSW Parliament Bitter Pills To Swallow?
One delusion pill: So people who investigate their own mistakes make sure there was no mistake or someone else made the mistake. Perhaps you're not biased and you will be honest about it.

NSW prisons - primary industry bailed up!
In many quiet regional centres around NSW there is a new primary industry shaping up. It has something to do with Bail but not with bales. The minister for Agriculture Richard Amery who also has the prisons portfolio is now committed to farming prisoners.

Black Nexus
The Separation of Powers Doctrine is nowcontaminated witharangeofcolours, now leaving us with a black shirt on a once blue bridge that crossed that thin blue line. The 'Amery and Woodham show'.

Prison Mind Games-Do they exist?
Directives are given inside the prison system that are not consistent with the law in NSW. And not in the good interests of the health and well being of the prisoners.

The Government is likely to abolish the Inspector General of Corrective Services position The Mulawa inspection report recommendations below strictly illustrate how important he is.