Monday, May 23, 2005

Prison Action & Reform challenge the Attorney General

TAS: Prison Action & Reform challenge the Attorney General Judy Jackson to a public debate

Members of Prison Action & Reform are furious with the latest lies from the Attorney General -- Judy Jackson, and demand that she produce evidence to support her ludicrous claims.

Last week Hansard revealed Judy Jackson reiterating the claims that Prison Action & Reform had access to the prison at any given time.

Prison Action & Reform have never had any access to inside the prison to see clients. PAR members have been permitted inside the prison on two occasions..

In 2002 an official visit was organized by the Secretary of the department and PAR members viewed changes to Division 7. No clients were seen at this time.

In January 2000 PAR member Vickie Douglas was permitted to view the cell where her son was found dead. She placed a flower at the site.

"We have only ever been allowed to see prisoners in box visits and this we do as private citizens," President of Prison Action & Reform, Caroline Dean said.

"Last Monday I went to the prison to see two people as a private citizen and strangely enough I was denied entry as a private citizen and this directive came from the Director of Prisons".

"Several months ago we sought permission from Director of Prisons to enter the prison as volunteers. This would allow us to visit prisoners at the request of families, or visit prisoner clients. However, a letter from the Director of Prisons stated a formal application process is required for this to happen and Prison Action & Reform have yet to start this process."

"No members of Prison Action & Reform have prison passes that allow 'special access' and contrary to the Attorney General's comments we have never been able to come and go as we wish".

"The only person who has had an ongoing pass has been me in my professional role as tutor to a tertiary student. My role as tutor is completely independent of my role in Prison Action & Reform. I have been a tutor for the last three years to students who are incarcerated.

How is it that the Attorney is mixing up these roles and for what purpose? I can only think this is an opportunistic ploy to discredit Prison Action & Reform by confusing the facts. Obviously while the Attorney uses this ploy the focus is shifted from the daily human rights abuses that occur in the Tasmanian prison system. I wonder if the public is fooled by her tactics-I don't think so," Caroline Dean said.

"Ultimately the only people to be affected by this are the prisoners. My prisoner student is without a tutor and the necessary support that is vital for him to carry out his studies. And prisoners are daily being subjected to daily human rights abuses. While the Attorney uses sensational and desperate tactics to shift the focus away from the appalling system she effectively condones the human rights abuses," Caroline Dean said.

Prison Action & Reform issues an invitation to the Attorney General to publicly debate the state of the Tasmanian prison system with Prison Action and Reform.

By Prison Action & Reform Posted 23 May 05

Caroline Dean - 0403 473 938
Vickie Douglas - 0403 401 414


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