Friday, March 4, 2005

Tough line on crime fills jails

Maitland Prison Cells

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.

The Australian Institute of Criminology reported yesterday that the number of inmates had risen by an average 5 per cent a year since 1984 - from 86 to 153 per 100,000 people.

The biggest increase has been in remanded prisoners, which rose from 12 to 21 per cent of the 23,555 prisoners in custody on June 30, 2003.

Indigenous Australians remain grossly overrepresented, with a rate of imprisonment 13 times higher than the non-indigenous population - 1710 per 100,000 compared to 124.

Sentences for violent offences such as homicide, assault, sexual assault and robbery also rose.

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.

It costs at least $500 million a year to house the inmates and the Government has spent more than $1 billion in expanding prisons and building new jails over the past decade.

By Michael Pelly 4 March 05


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.