Monday, August 15, 2005

Prisoner Voting Rights

The Institute of Criminology, University of Sydney is pleased to announce a public seminar:?

Speaker: Debra Parkes, University of Manitoba, Canada Ms Parkes will speak on "Prisoner Voting Rights in Canada: Rejecting the Notion of Temporary Outcasts" and will discuss the implications of the Canadian Supreme Court's reasoning in a decision declaring unconstitutional a prisoner voting ban.

Chair: Bryan Mercurio, Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales and former Director of the Electoral Law Project at the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law

Date: Thursday 1st September 2005, 5.30pm - 7.30pm

Venue: Minter Ellison Conference Room, level 13, Sydney University Law School, 173-175 Phillip Street, Sydney

Registration: $15 waged/$10 students/concession (GST incl.) No charge for Institute of Criminology members.

To register please contact the Institute directly.

By Nina Ralph posted 15 August 05

Nina Ralph, Administrator,
Bronwyn Finnigan, Assistant Administrator,
Institute of Criminology
Sydney University Law School
173-175 Phillip Street
Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Phone: (61) (2) 9351 0239
Fax: (61) (2) 9351 0200 Attn: Institute of Criminology


To this focus, I mirrored the comments of Mr Graeme Orr ('Just Us', December, 2004, p.4) that following a High Court ruling, "...prisoners are entitled to read and share political information", and further, "...we are free to exchange and discuss political information and international affairs."

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.

There was high drama as the only state prisons department in Australia to refuse the The Australian Prisoners' Election Newspaper, was challenged in an emergency hearing before the NSW Supreme Court.

Australian voters have been blocked from receiving 'how to vote' material from the political parties.

Emergency Supreme Court action for prisoners' vote
Renowned constitutional lawyer, George Williams QC, assisted by Ben Zipser of Selborne Chambers and Joanne Moffit of Kingsford Legal Centre will argue for the right of prisoners to receive voting information in the form of The Australian Prisoners' Election Newspaper. The newspaper has been banned by the prisons commissioner, Mr. Ron Woodham. No explanation has been given.

RE: URGENT - Prisoner enrolment to vote!
Justice Action has been talking to the Australian Electoral Commission over the past three weeks about what steps were being taken to ensure that prisoners were given the opportunity to enrol to vote in the Australian Election on October 9.

Prisoner's right to vote attacked again!
On the eve of the election the Howard government has rushed a new law into the Parliament which will further remove the rights of prisoners to vote.

Howard wants prisoner vote ban
Politicians opposed to a federal government plan to ban all prisoners from voting were soft on crime, Special Minister for State Eric Abetz said.

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The Australian Council for Civil Liberties has condemned a Federal Government move to stop prisoners voting. Under current laws, prisoners serving less than five years can vote.

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The Australian corrections system is appalling and rife with abuse of prisoner's rights. The spiralling numbers of those locked up, now over 23,000, is an indictment on a society which purports to be fair and democratic.

Prisoners must get right to vote, says court
UK: The government will be forced to lift a ban on prisoners voting dating back to 1870 after the European court of human rights ruled yesterday it breached a lifer's human rights.

Fighting for Florida: Disenfranchised Florida Felons Struggle to Regain Their Rights US: TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Gov. Jeb Bush looked out over a roomful of felons appealing to him for something they had lost, and tried to reassure them.

Felons and the Right to Vote One of the greatest achievements of the civil rights struggle was the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which removed most of the obstacles that kept African Americans away from the ballot box and enabled Americans who did not speak English to vote. But the voting rights movement never reached the last excluded segment of our democracy: our prisoners.


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?

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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.

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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.