Prisoners, parent of prisoners, prisoner aid and help groups, prison reform groups, warders, jail superintendents, police, lawyers…all should be aware of a new opportunity to have your voices heard in this major inquiry by a Federal Parliament Senate Committee. Details of the inquiry, and links to the Committee website are here, in this reply by CLA to an anguished mother:
Letter: Seeking help in prison
Despite being caring and dutiful parents and citizens, our son has been in and out for prisons for 15 years due to drug related crime. I am horrified and disheartened about how little is done to effect psychological change or education. Most of the time is spent just sitting on existing problems in an environment that is more likely to exacerbate them. I believe in shorter sentences and intensive education and psychotherapy. Is there a movement for reform that I can Join?
– Concerned Mother, WA
There are prisoner aid societies in most states. This newish national organisation/ website has a good list: http://www.freewebs.com/australianprisonfoundation/organisationsforprisoners.htm
Civil Liberties Australia is involved indirectly in prison reform, but particularly so in WA, and in Tasmanisa, so we normally cover major issues in our monthly newsletter.
You might care to look closely at this process – Parliamentary Committee Inquiry into Justice Reinvestment – which has just begun (December 2012). For convenience, the Terms of Reference are below):
CLA encourages people to make a submission to this inquiry (CLA will be making a submission, as an organisation).
Just tell your story, about your involvement. Tell them what you think should have been done, and what should be done in future.
Please consider joining CLA. Just $25pa. You can join online, from our website, or use the Contact form to send us your address, and we’ll post a flyer to you.
Value of a justice reinvestment approach to criminal justice in Australia
Information about the Inquiry
On 26 November 2012 the Senate referred the following matter to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committees for inquiry and report.
The value of a justice reinvestment approach to criminal justice in Australia, with particular reference to:
(a) the drivers behind the past 30 years of growth in the Australian imprisonment rate;
(b) the economic and social costs of imprisonment;
(c) the over-representation of disadvantaged groups within Australian prisons, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and people experiencing mental ill-health, cognitive disability and hearing loss;
(d) the cost, availability and effectiveness of alternatives to imprisonment, including prevention, early intervention, diversionary and rehabilitation measures;
(e) the methodology and objectives of justice reinvestment;
(f) the benefits of, and challenges to, implementing a justice reinvestment approach in Australia;
(g) the collection, availability and sharing of data necessary to implement a justice reinvestment approach;
(h) the implementation and effectiveness of justice reinvestment in other countries, including the United States of America;
(i) the scope for federal government action which would encourage the adoption of justice reinvestment policies by state and territory governments; and
(j) any other related matters.
Submissions should be received by 15 March 2013. The reporting date is 16 May 2013.
The Committee is seeking written submissions from interested individuals and organisations preferably in electronic form submitted online or sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org as an attached Adobe PDF or MS Word format document. The email must include full postal address and contact details.