Friday, March 11, 2005


NSW POLICE Commissioner Ken Moroney has issued an ultimatum as well, to the lawless youths holding Sydney's streets to ransom?: Learn some respect or face jail?

NSW: Staff shortages are continuing to cripple the day to day running of the state's prisons, with correctional officers worried about their safety from constant prisoner lockdowns.

"inmates at Parklea prison have experienced four straight days of lockdowns in the past week due to staff shortages", says Shadow Justice Minister Andrew- Humpherson.

The situation is even worse at Silverwater's MRRC, (Metropolitan Reman and Reception Centre) where prison officers report inmate lockdowns averaging almost every second day for the last four months.

"Prison officers are telling the Opposition that they fear for their safety as the situation becomes increasingly tense in the system," says Mr Humpherson.

Angry prisoners are being locked away increasingly because of staff shortages.

"It's happening right across the system, more than 170 lockdowns in December and January alone.

"The Carr Government has allowed the prison system to decay to such a state that something is going to give and concerned prison officers are telling us it will be sooner than later.

The prison system is running on overtime.

"The problem is, some prison officers have been working so much overtime that they are now feeling the strain and are refusing to take on more shifts."

"That has meant there are no available officers to replace them and the only option is to lock prisoners in their cells."?

In addition it also means that the prison system in NSW is overcrowded. A spokesman for the NSW Justice Minister, John Hatzistergos, said there were more than 9000 people in NSW jails - a 50 per cent rise since 1995 - and another 18,000 offenders being supervised in the community.

So not only are prisoners locked down for 23 hours a day but they don't get the education, work skills or programs so very necessary for any type of rehabilitation? Some would argue that that was the very reason they were sent to prison.

Most prisoners are sent to prison because they lack social skills so how is locking them up for 23 hours a day going to fix the problem? More likely these prisoners' will be released out on the streets very, very angry men. Then what? You?

Humpherson: "Families with young children are travelling long distances from the country for visitations at prisons such as Parklea, only to be met by a crude sign on the front gate which tells them "there will be no visits allowed".

Recruitment is at a crawl as the Government slashes the Corrective Services budget to pay for other failings.

"The Carr Government is hoping that the "out of sight out of mind" principal will apply to our? (their) prisons and the public won't find out."?

"But that is not the case."

"Disillusioned prison officers will continue to walk out on the system as more than 140 did just last year."

"The prison population will continue to hover around record levels with not even the bare minimum number of prison officers to cover shifts."

"Worst of all, angry prisoners will be released back into the community aware that they were too often locked away from any courses which would help their reparation."

"The Carr Government has been opening shiny new jails with no thought as to how it is adequately gong to staff them."

"The measure of success of the prison system is protecting the community both during and after the offenders do their time."

"To achieve this, rehabilitation has to be the priority and repeated lockdowns increase the likelihood of re-offending." Mr Humpherson said.

At this time recidivism in NSW is around 42 per cent what will it be like 5 years from now?

By Andrew Humpherson MP and Just Us posted 11 March 05


Tough line on crime fills jails
The tough law-and-order policies of governments around the nation are behind an explosion in the prison population by almost 80 per cent in the past two decades.

I am a prisoner in NSW and I am currently held in Parklea Prison. I am concerned about what is going on in NSW prisons and this is my story.

Parklea Prison: No calls for six days
The last calls that were made out of Parklea Correctional Complex by my partner, an inmate in remand at Parklea, was on Wednesday 2 February. The phone lines for the inmates have been out of service to this date.

Prison visits in crisis in NSW
The reason I am writing today is to address a difficult situation that my husband and my family are going through. My husband is currently serving a sentence at Lithgow Correctional Centre in NSW.

Prison boom will prove a social bust
Hardened criminals are not filling NSW's prisons - the mentally ill and socially disadvantaged are, writes Eileen Baldry.

The prison system requires assiduous oversight
As NSW Attorney General Bob Debus noted in 1996: "The kinds of complaints which occur in the system may seem trivial to outsiders but in the superheated world of the prison, such issues can produce explosive results."

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.

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.

Prison guards test positive for drugs
NSW prison visitors banned from using the toilet The visit is only for about one hour and any thing less than that is an insult. If it's proved that a visitor has broken the rules the punishment should apply to them. But collective punishment on all visitors should not be made general when others haven't broken the rules especially if it restricts all visitors from normal human needs like using a toilet.

NSW prison visitors banned from using the toilet
The New South Wales Government has introduced several initiatives to stop contraband getting into prisons they said last Friday. But under the guise of "stricter rules" the department had also introduced banning all visitors including children from using the toilet unless they terminate their visit at any NSW prison after using the toilet.

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.