As Iran releases 100,000 prisoners, Australian jails are still packed with the potential for major COVID-19 spread into the community, Paul Gregoire writes for Sydney Criminal Lawyers. And, as usual, Indigenous prisoners are relatively most at risk because of their large numbers and poor health. The WHO and UN have warned Australia about the potential for jails to spread the pandemic. ‘Prison health is a matter of public health’.
Difficult questions are starting to arise around the human rights implications of the Covid-19 pandemic in Australia. The delicate balancing act between minimising harm and infringing on liberties is occurring in a way many of us have not experienced before, legal bioethicist Caitlin Davis says as she explores the issues.
A new book revealing the doings inside a now-closed ‘mental asylum’ is an important contribution to civil liberties and human rights. It is a timely reminded – as a health panic starts to threaten more government abuse – that it is vital to keep shining torches into those places that authorities would prefer are forgotten. Review by Reg. Murray.
Other nations are already showing Australia the way on how to mass deaths in prisons: they are letting lower-range and particular prisoners free, at least for the duration of the world health emergency. It’s time the Australian states and territories did something similar…and took the opportunity to remove from prison some people who probably should not be there, CLA says.
While civil society is grating the government licence to use extraordinary powers during a medical emergency, that is no excuse to abuse people’s trust by bringing in draconian measures like over-the-top surveillance and elimination of the flimsy privacy rights we still retain, CLA says.
The annual reports of three Queensland mental health bodies raise some alarming issues. Chief amongst them, as in other jurisdictions, is that mental health appears to be surrounded by a bureaucratic industry, rather than being an illness like any other.
Is it time for national standards on mental health, particularly in the controversial are of electro convulsive therapy (ECT).
With marijuana – cannabis – soon to be legal in the ACT, we look forward to photos of Prime Minister Scott Morrison lighting up a rollie at The Lodge, and of Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton tending his four pot plants at his Canberra address.