Monday, September 15, 2003

Post-Incarceration Sentences

US: Pat Allard, a prison activist is working on material for her book on "post Incarceration".

Pat: "The 1990s brought a new front in the war on drugs, featuring a new layer of the Prison Industrial Complex, which has the effect of ensuring that people coming in contact with the criminal punishment system remain within the grasp of the Prison Industrial Complex even beyond prison walls."

"In the 1990s, the U.S. Congress enacted a number of laws imposing additional penalties beyond a prison term on individuals convicted of drug offences, essentially creating a form of post-incarceration sentence."

"A drug conviction can now result, in addition to a criminal sentence, in a lifetime ban on the receipt of cash assistance and food stamps, ineligibility for federal financial aid for post-secondary education, the denial of public housing, the exclusion from particular areas of employment, and the denial of the right to become a foster care or adoptive parent."

Our question is have any of these measures been passed, or discussed in Australia? If so, where could Pat get more information about them so that she can have a more transnational approach?

Mr Brett Collins from the prisoners activists group Justice Action said, "In Australia the division of federal and state responsibilities means that the income assistance (federal) is not easily linked to crime (largely state)."

"The idea seems appalling and counterproductive in creating a desperation for survival. Wow! And costing more long term."

"There is some linking with housing, in so much as if it can be proved that you are dealing drugs from your state housing they can remove it. But generally if you are given a sentence of 3 months or less, your home is retained for you. There is no linking to education."

"Convictions can be taken into account for certain jobs designated offences for certain jobs particularly involving children. Public servants both federal and state need to disclose convictions, but they aren't a necessary bar to jobs. There isn't always a check and many don't disclose."

"Good character" requirements are flexible but sometimes do involve answering questions about convictions, often without the ability for the agency, often private; to access court records to check.

We advise non-disclosure as a policy, based upon the position that the finite sentence of the court does morally and completely deal with the offence. A clean slate is essential for forgiveness to ever have a reality, reconciliation possible, and new behaviour learned.

The guilt has been expiated, and any attempt to tag the person after that in a restricting and punitive way is counterproductive. Mentoring for such people through community support agencies is different, and we would support it as an effective crime prevention strategy, but only in a non-coercive way."

"We have several high profile mentoring relationships going now, and suggest that some publicity for that sort of work over there would be an excellent counter to some of these really dangerous punitive measures. We deliberately take on the highest profile prisoners and ex-prisoners and push their humanity right back up the nostrils of the politicians.

You can contact Pat Allard at if you have any further information.

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.


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.

By Justice Action Prison Activists 15 September 03


Inside Prison, Outside the Law
Every year, tens of thousands of prisoners in state and federal custody are attacked. The exact number who die is difficult to determine: According to the nonprofit Criminal Justice Institute, in 2000, the most recent year for which figures have been compiled, 55 prisoners were murdered, 39 died "accidentally," and 118 died for unknown reasons.

Supreme Court Justice Criticises Sentencing Guidelines
San Francisco, August 9, 2003, Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said today that prison terms are too long and that he favours scrapping the practice of setting mandatory minimum sentences for some federal crimes.

US prison population 2.1 million
The US prison population grew more than twice as fast last year as in 2001, bringing the total number of people held behind bars in the United States to more than 2.1 million, a record, according to a government report.

McKean Federal Prison: An Alleged Model
McKean, a federal correctional institution [? prison], does everything that "make 'em bust rocks" politicians decry--imagine, educating inmates [prisoners]! And it works. [Allegedly works.]

Prisoners Justice Day Press Release (Montreal)
On August 10th, 1974, Eddie Nalon bled to death in a solitary confinement unit at Millhaven Maximum Security Prison near Kingston,Ontario when the emergency call button in his cell failed to work. An inquest later found that the call buttons in that unit had been deactivated by the guards.

Notebook of a Prison Abolitionist
In his autobiography, Frederick Douglass recalls how as a slave he would occasionally hear of the "abolitionists." He did not know the full meaning of the word at first, but he heard it used in ways that he found appealing.

Study Warns of Rising Tide of Released Prisoners
Washington: More than 625,000 former prisoners will be coming back into U.S. society this year, part of a record flow of prisoners who will face crushing obstacles in finding work and housing and repairing long-fractured family ties, according to a newly released study.

Incite Statement Gender Violence and the Prison Industrial Complex
We call social justice movements to develop strategies and analysis that address both state AND interpersonal violence, particularly violence against women.

Second International Conference on Human Rights & Prison Reform
**This second gathering will be much smaller and more in depth in participation. A report on the human rights violation of discrimination in regard to prisoners will be produced. This report will be given to the Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights which will be having its annual meeting near our conference and is the"think tank" for the human rights agenda of the United Nations.

Judged Forever- The Orange County Register
US: California's largest job-placement program for parolees will be shut down May 31 after an Orange County Register investigation found that ex-convicts were sent to questionable jobs [?] and that the state was charged for placements that did not occur. [? According to the ruling-class]

California Family Visiting Case
US: CALIFORNIA: Today (5/03/08) in Superior Court around twenty friends and family members of inmates from CSP Solano showed up to show their support in the Gordon vs. CA Department of Corrections (Case #322862) which deals with the subject of bringing back Family Visits to all inmates.

Prison Rates Among Blacks Reach a Peak, Report Finds
An estimated 12 percent of African-American men ages 20 to 34 are in jail or prison, according to a report released yesterday by the Justice Department.

Justices question prison visitation policies
WASHINGTON: In a case that could affect the visitation rights of millions of prisoners, Supreme Court justices on Wednesday struggled with the question of whether inmates have a constitutional right to visits with friends and family.