Monday, January 17, 2005

NSW Parole Board and the Politics of NSW Prisons

Case No 1 Prisoners Letter to Bob Carr

Dear Premier,

I refer to my complaints that the Parole Board and the Department of Corrective Services are acting contrary to imposed sentences and sentencing law principles.

On four occasions the Director-General, Mr Roger Wilkins, on your behalf advised me in writing) 18/11/04; 15/11/04; 31/8/04; and 23/7/04) that you have referred the matter to the Minister for Justice, The Hon J Hatzistergos, for his attention. I was further advised that I can be assured that my case will receive close consideration. I took the latter to mean by the Minister, but that has not been the case.

I inform you that the Minister has not considered the matter fairly if at all. The Minister keeps referring the matter down to the Commissioner of Corrective Services. This is unacceptable. I have not heard form the Minister so it is clear that the Minister has no intention to do anything in this matter apart from passing it down to the Commissioner. I have clearly asked for ministerial action as I am entitled to, but instead I get departmental responses where I could not receive just and fair consideration given it is really departmental policy at the heart of my complaints.

I do not want this matter to be handed to the Commissioner of Corrective Services again by your Minister. The Commissioner of Corrective Services is the head of the government department that has policies which, hold people accountable for previous offences long after such sentences has expired. I want ministerial action.

Please find attached three letters received from the Commissioner of Corrective Services, Mr Ron Woodham, (17 December 04; 3 November 04; and 12 August 04) These letters are departmental responses instead of ministerial responses as I have sought and been assured b you, Premier.

I refer to the Commissioner's letter of 12 August 04 where the Commissioner states that the Parole Board is an independent statutory body and as such he (the Commissioner) and the Minister has no authority over. I do not accept what the Commissioner states, however, if what the Commissioner states is true then the Parole Board is (as I have previously stated) a law to themselves. What a load of rubbish. A statutory body, i.e. the Parole Board, is accountable to government and must obey the law.

The Parole Board and the Department of Corrective Services are treating me and are acting contrary to the imposed sentences and to sentencing law principles. They are in breach of law and to their statutory duties. The Parole Board and the Department of Corrective Services without re-writing or varying must obey sentences imposed by a Court of Law. I am certain that the Commissioner of Corrective Services; the Parole Board; and the Minister for Justice are fully aware of the breaches of sentencing law principles in this case, however, they are not interested in the rule of law.

The Parole Board and the Department of Corrective Services are violating my rights because I am being treated and managed from an expired and therefore previous term of imprisonment. I am being refused parole on this point.

The totality principal in my case was that I to serve at least 10 years in prison (refer to sentencing transcript - pages 9 and 10). Regardless of the totality principle the sentence imposed for the sexual offence were 7 year fixed terms that expired in April 2000, but as stated the totality principle was to ensure I to serve 10 years in prison.

The Sentencing Judge did not link parole with the offences dealt with by the fixed term sentences. The only sentences that the Sentencing Judge related to parole was the robbery whilst armed offences. His Honour said: "In relation to those latter will need a prolonged period of psychiatric supervision upon your ultimate discharge from prison" (refer to sentencing transcript - page 11). Nonetheless the Parole Board not once has referred to the robbery whilst armed offences. And the Parole Board is not complying with the intentions of the Sentencing Judge as foresaid.

Premier, because your Minister for Justice refuses to consider the matter or to take action apart from continually passing it down to the Commissioner, I request that you to consider the matter yourself and to take action to ensure that the Parole Board and the Department of Corrective Services acts according to sentencing law principals and to my imposed sentences.

I advise you that I will continue, and step up, my campaign in this regard until the Parole Board and the Department of Corrective Services treat and manage me pursuant to the current lawful sentences. And if I am forced to serve out my full term in prison after 14 years I will take a public campaign advising the public that the Parole Board/ Government are in breach of their duty-of-care owed to the public by not ensuring supervised release of offenders.

For your consideration.

Yours Sincerely

Case No 2 Prisoners Letter to John Klok

Letter to Mr John Klok
A/Senior, Assistant Commissioner
Inmate And Custodial Services

Dear Sirs,

Will you please assist me to clarify the 'classification and procedures' policy in relation to my situation with a C2 classification?

I have been convicted of a sex offence and have served three years (on 14/8/04) with four years remaining. I am awaiting my High Court Conviction Appeal. Also I am maintaining my Not Guilty Plea. My progression through classification categories has become stagnant for the remainder of my sentence.

My conduct has been good. I study horticulture, having gained many certificates I have been fully employed, unsupervised, running a vegetable and flower garden and nursery whilst in prison.

I worked with a section 6 on the full restoration of the "Violent Prevention Unit" at Long Bay for 6 months travelling externally to and from work, six days per week. (The Project Officer xxxx could comment on my work effort and attitude, as I had regular contact with her).

My case Management plan has no clear achievable time frames and goals.

I wish to be able to develop my Case Management Plan with my case officer with the overall aim of re-entering community life with my family at my earliest release date of 14/11/06 onto parole.

I have strong family ties, regular visits, phone, correspondence and a home with work to go to once released. I feel I am not being rewarded for my achievements and good conduct.

I was told by xxxx (Psychologist (June 2004) that a program is not available at MSPC for an inmate that 'maintains their innocence' also that I cannot progress to a C3 or do any programs.

Also xxxx (Parole Officer) told me during my classification interview (26/11/03) Quote: 'that there is a program designed for sentenced inmates that maintain their innocence but as yet the Corrective Services Dept have not provided funds to have this program (Denies Information Group) implemented at MSPC.

I wish to participate in program.

Would you please advise me as soon as it is convenient and attach any relevant legislation, departmental polices, or contacts within the community where such programs are accessible by correspondence, or to attend once released. As I wish to progress with my Through Care and Case Management to C3, Leave Programs and Works Release Program to strengthen family ties and support my family.

It is reasonably foreseeable that my continued omission form these programs could give rise to some form of personal psychological injury or loss by family and myself. If I cannot progress my situation prior to becoming eligible for parole because there is no program suitable provided by the Department of Corrective Services.


My major concern is that I will not be able to participate, or will not be eligible to enter available programs, though willing, aimed at criminogenic needs prior to my earliest release date, stagnating my though flow and classification which all may effect my eligibility for parole at my earliest release date.

A remedy for this situation would be preferable.

Yours truly,

Monday, 9 August 2004

CC: Inspector General of Corrective Services
Justice Action
NSW Ombudsman
Official Visitor

Justice Action

Please assist me, as I have had no answer to this letter

By Just Us 17 January 2005


Probation and Parole in NSW
Since I requested some help from Justice Action and the authorities just before Xmas for the then corrections personnel to assist me I was moved so that my parole prospects would be thwarted even further.

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).

Crime and Punishment
Mark Findlay argues that the present psychological approach to prison programs is increasing the likelihood of re-offending and the threat to community safety.

Goulburn Jail breaches UN standards
NSW: Greens MP Lee Rhiannon has called on Justice Minister John Hatzistergos to bring Goulburn Jail's Maximum Security Wing into line with United Nations standards, after a prison inmate's covert survey of his fellow inmates revealed problems with rehabilitation programs and basic amenities.

Isolation, psychiatric treatment and prisoner' control
The 2003 NSW Corrections Health Service (now Justice Health) Report on Mental Illness Among NSW Prisoners states that the 12 month prevalence of any psychiatric disorder in prison is 74%, compared to 22% in the general community, and while this includes substance disorder the high rate cannot be attributed to that alone.

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.

More jails will create more crime says expert
NZ: Once a world leader in restorative justice, New Zealand is regressing by locking more people up for longer, visiting expert Sir Charles Pollard says.

Crisis Brewing in State Jails
WA: Figures released today reveal one of the states worst kept secrets 'the prisons are filling fast and will soon be overflowing. The ABS figures released today showed that Western Australia's imprisonment rate continued to outstrip every other state in Australia.

Community Challenges in Justice
Professor of criminology at Victoria University, Philip Stenning, recently visited the Napier Public Library to view the Robson Collection, which is a special collection on criminal, restorative and social justice based on the philosophy of "developing communities not prisons".

NSW Greens lose bid to stop jail boss getting more power
She said the regulation represents "shades of Guantanamo Bay", with the Carr government using draconian measures which fed the resentment and unfairness that caused terrorism.

NSW Prisoners' linked to Osama Bin Laden: Ten News
Allegedly Osama Bin Laden issued a "Fatwa" that was posted on an Islamic Website this morning. Osama Bin Laden's demands included visiting NSW prisoners' at the HRMU for Xmas!

Justice Denied In NSW Corrective Services
There used to be a (VJ) or Visiting Justice who would go into the prison and judge any claim or accusation that was made by any prisoner or prison guard. If it were found that a prisoner had offended then punishment was metered out.

Carr Govt dramatic increases in the NSW prisoner pop...
Following the opening of the 500 bed Kempsey prison, and a new 200-bed prison for women at Windsor the Council of Social Service of NSW (NCOSS) and community organisations specialising in the rehabilitation of prisoners, have expressed concern....

Doctor Ron Woodham I presume?
"Corrections Health staff provide medical care. However, its staff's authority is essentially limited to making recommendations to corrective services on treatment. Corrective services staff can then decide what treatment can be given."

Sentencing: Violent crime and practical outcomes
In addition introducing restorative justice programs giving the offender a chance to interact with the offended person if they wish and visa-versa. People are not "dogmatic" therefore should be given a second chance opposed to Life means Life!

You have choses Bob The Barbarian!
New laws to make it difficult for people charged with terrorism offences to get bail have been whisked through the New South Wales Parliament after only being introduced earlier today.

Call for royal commission into NSW prison health system
Mr Tony Ross a social justice activist said yesterday that a royal commission into the health system in NSW should be wide reaching to ensure that the Corrections Health Service is also exposed because of reported widespread cover ups in the prisons health system.

Watchdogs slaughtered in NSW
On Tuesday the Carr Government reduced transparency and accountability yet again and New South Wales is in danger of becoming entrenched with cronyism and intimidations with the Carr Labor Government that continues to slaughter the watchdogs.

Escape proof but not so the prisoners mind
Fewer prisoners escape from prison these days because they're "cemented in" by materials that do not break and by legislation that can keep prisoners in jail until they die.

Sentencing reform
Beyond Bars is making a submission (with a focus on alternatives to custody) to the sentencing council. "We should consider the alternatives which take into account victims' interests and involvement. Restorative justice. Also mentoring as a positive form of social support, coupled up to restorative justice (as the punishment) to satisfy those who demand it."