Tuesday, May 17, 2005


The Premier's announcement of 1000 new spaces for prisoners is irresponsible government behaviour. His statement that more prison capacity will reduce crime is misleading, and panders to ignorance and fear, while the policy does the exact opposite of what it claims.

New South Wales has the highest rate of recidivism in Australia at 44% and rising. This means that at least 44% of the new prisoners will commit more crimes within two years of their release.

The Premier also claims that the investment in new prisons will create jobs in rural economies. However, if the $1 billion were spent on health and education, it would reduce crime, and give a boost to rural economies by raising the number of skilled, healthy workers.

Money spent on prisons in NSW has been proven over and over to be money thrown down the drain.

Not only does the recidivism rate show that the Department of Corrective Services is failing in its own vision of, "Contributing to a safer community through excellence", but the net widening effect of building more prisons was acknowledged in 1994 by the Department's own Women's Action Plan:

"...the provision of increased access to correctional facilities in country areas may create a net widening phenomenon resulting in the courts sending more women to prison who may otherwise have received non-custodial sentences.

There is a strong body of opinion that in spite of oft stated support for a reductionist approach to women in prison, if additional places were provided, particularly in country areas, they would inevitably be filled." (p. 48)

Contact: Stacy Scheff, Brett Collins after hours: 0438-705-003

Justice Action
65 Bellevue St, Glebe, NSW 2037, Australia
P.O. Box 386, Broadway, NSW 2007, Australia
voice: 612-9660 9111 fax: 612-9660 9100

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By Justice Action 17 May 05


Chronology of a Tasmanian Prison System: A Documented Report
Prison Action and Reform is dedicated to progressive reforms in criminal justice and to the humane treatment of inmates in our prison system.

Risdon prisoners' seize prison to protest mistreatment
Apparently one prisoner had been mistreated and held in isolation in an SHU (Segregation Housing Unit) [Solitary Confinement] because, he'd had and altercation with a screw. SHUs cause severe mental harm - regarded as torture - and are a cruel, inhumane and degrading way to keep prisoners.

No Safe Place
In a brief four month span from August 1999, five men died in Tasmania's Risdon prison. Their deaths have put the state's corrections system in the dock and led to the planned demolition of a jail which even the State's Attorney-General now calls an "appalling facility".

Association for the Prevention of Torture
The Optional Protocol requires 20 ratifications to enter into force. All States Parties to the UN Convention against Torture should seriously consider ratifying the OPCAT as soon as possible. National Institutions and others promoting the human rights of people deprived of their liberty need to be informed of their potential role as national preventive mechanisms under the OPCAT.

Corrected or Corrupted
A psychiatrist from the prison Mental Health Team attached to Queensland Health made the comment that 25 per cent of inmates suffer from a diagnosed mental illness.

ICOPA XI International Conference on Penal Abolition
We are excited to announce that ICOPA X1, the eleventh International Conference on Penal Abolition will happen in Tasmania, Australia from February 9 - 11,2006. Please pass this onto all networks.

Ex-Prisoner Locked Out of Prison
The NSW Department of Corrective Services (DCS) has revealed a policy which bans ex-prisoners from entering prisons.

Justice Action: Access to our community
NSW: Justice Action went to the NSW Supreme Court before the last Federal election on the constitutional right for prisoners to receive information for their vote. The government avoided the hearing by bringing prisoners' mobile polling booths forward. We pursued it after the election. This is the report.

Overhaul Department of Justice: Reform Group
WA: The Prison Reform Group of WA is calling for a complete overhaul of the Department of Justice following recent events which have compromised its integrity, placing prison staff, prisoners, their families and the community, at risk. We call for the Minister to publicly apologise for last week's debacle which has seen the public badly let down by the Department of Justice yet again.

14,500 children in NSW go to bed each night with a parent in prison!

Craig Annesley: Miscarriage of Justice
The reason for this article is because a Secretary at the Council for Civil Liberties stated to me that they haven't got the funding to help me with a false imprisonment case which happened February 97 - and in February 2005, it will be 7 years after the incident which will mean I will be too late to bring a civil case to court?

Detention Centres, Solitary Confinement
On Friday night the NSW Council for Civil Liberties awarded Sydney solicitor John Marsden honorary life membership. Julian Burnside was invited to make the speech in Marsden's honour. In the course of his speech, Burnside referred to the unregulated use of solitary confinement in Australia's immigration detention centres, criticising it as inhumane and also as unlawful.

In memory of the late Bob Jewson
Some will remember that Bob was In the Bathurst riot in February 1974 and was a leading member of the Prisoners Action Group now - (JusticeACTION) upon his release. He wrote Stir, the screenplay upon which the film Stir was based. He played a major role in agitating for a Royal Commission into the events at Bathurst, and when the Nagle Commission commenced hearings Bob was to be found every day sitting in court for the duration, following proceedings for the PAG.

Critical Resistance - Sydney
Just a reminder message about the meeting this Wednesday, if any of you are able to come down after BBA meeting. Apologies about the clash of days, definitely not intended. It seems great minds think alike!