For all those politicians (and the media) who posture at being “tough on crime” and who bring in mandatory sentences to appear to be “smart” legislators telling magistrates and judges how to make decisions and pass sentences, hear this plea from a real live criminal lawyer dealing with the consequences of such irresponsible political action in the Northern Territory…
France’s Yellow Vesters will carry a message from the heart of Australia, Alice Springs, all the way to Julian Assange in Belmarsh jail in England. Assange is in jail for ‘jumping bail’ and hiding out at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London…but the USA wants to extradite him to a possible death sentence in American courts. The Alice rally is on 25 January at 4.30pm. Other rallies are being held nationally and internationally. More rallies are scheduled for late February, as Assange’s court hearing begins.
Statistics show that more deaths occur in the police-prisons workplace than in the supposed highly dangerous industries in NSW. But deaths in police-prisons facilities are ignored in workplace health and safety analysis. For the sake of police and prison workers, at the very least, the impacts of deaths in such facilities must be formally referred to the workplace regulator for proper investigation, analysis and downstream action.
CLA campaigns for the rights of prisoners…and for saving taxpayers’ money. We call our approach ‘smart on crime, rather than the ‘tough on crime’ mantra. That’s the false propaganda microphoned out by politicians and news media before elections. Their way lies bigger prisons, more prisoners, fewer people rehabilitated and much greater cost to the purses and wallet of citizens, which achieves no improvement or benefit – at a time when crime is falling. This article is about CLA’s approach, and a prisoner’s right to vote, to actively pursue a better education and to gain some marketable skills through reading while locked away. CLA Vice-President Rajan Venkataraman reports.
So secret was the trial and jailing of the ACT’s mystery prisoner that even the territory’s Minister for Corrections, who is also Minister for Justice, did not know about the case until the story broke in the media. Minister Shane Rattenbury still does not know on what grounds he locked up a prisoner for 18 months: he doesn’t know what the prisoner was charged with, or what the prisoner was convicted of. CLA poses some questions to Commonwealth authorities, including Supreme Courts.
The president of a parole board facing more prisoners and rapidly increasing parole applications wants a standalone website to be able to demonstrate the independence demanded by statute law. But the board itself is a prisoner… of the state’s corrective services department. Free the board, CLA says. Boards have rights, too!
At last! A federal MP is taking Australia’s horrific rate of jailing people, particularly Indigenous citizens, seriously. Dr Andrew Leigh, the Member for Fenner (ACT) has produced a detailed rundown that shows we are becoming among the greatest jailers. For example, we now jail Indigenous Australians at a rate greater than the USA jails African-Americans. Read a summary of Leigh’s paper, with a link to the original.
The legal system is broken if a person must wait three years to get a Supreme Court trial. Barrister Greg Barns explains how justice could be done better in Tasmania, but his critiques and suggestions for major reform apply to every jurisdiction in Australia. Australia’s overall legal system(s) have never been subjected to an overall review. It’s time for Better Justice throughout the nation:
Politicians use ‘law-n’order’ election manifestos and “throw away the key” rhetoric to appear tough, but they are really only being tough on taxpayers’ pockets. Better coordination of laws, police, courts and prisons could save society billions to spend on higher priority community services citizens want, CLA’s CEO Bill Rowlings says.
Prisoners should undergo health, mental health and education level checks on entry for baseline measurements to check how rehabilitated they are when eventually released, CLA proposes in a detailed submission to the Queensland Productivity Commission’s current major inquiry into prison reform.