Releasing non-violent inmates could reduce COVID spread potential

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’.

Judicial Commission needs independent, external input to stop judges bullying lawyers

The NT is planning to introduce a Judicial Commission to deal with the problem of judges bullying lawyers. A parliamentary committee is considering submissions – but none of the submissions, other than that from CLA – proposes having truly independent people on the commission and its investigatory panels…or even mandatory Indigenous representationl. Changes to the current bill are vital if justice is to be seen to be done, and to be done, to lawyers and their clients in the NT, CLA says.
 
 
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CLA proposes independent and Indigenous members of Judicial Commission

The NT Parliament is proposing a Judicial Commission to solve major problems of bullying by judges and magistrates, as well as lengthy delays in delivering some judgements. CLA has told the parliamentary committee that the absence of any independent legal expert from outside the NT, and  the possibility of the commission having no Indigenous representatives, needs fixing.

Prison report is blueprint for saving $billions, overhauling justice

The Queensland Productivity Commission has delivered its seminal report on the state of jails in that state but in reality standing for all Australian jails. Their recommendations provide a blueprint for saving taxpayers money, ending a massive jail-building program over the next decade, and seriously reducing the number of people in prison. Will our fearful governments have the courage to take positive action to achieve a better system delivering better justice?

If your MP says they are ‘tough on crime’, show them this:

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…

Australia enters a ‘Second Convict Age’, MP says

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.

Re-birth of a nation: creating Australia anew

Australia’s first birth was premature. We held a big party, but didn’t invite the people who should have been first on the list. Now, as we debate which day to celebrate our anniversary, we have a chance for a re-birthing Constitution that will create a new Australia with everyone sharing equally. Then we can all come to the party on Australia Day, the day we formally pass the new, foundational law. Christian J. Bennett writes.