O'Farrell Government Squibs Prison Challenge

Media release: April 7, 2011

“O’Farrell’s new Attorney General Greg Smith who talked tough on changing the penal culture and recidivism, has collapsed at the first hurdle – dismissing the head of his new Department” said Justice Action Coordinator Brett Collins.  

“Greg Smith promised in 2009 that he would remove former prison officer Commissioner Woodham but now passively says: ‘I may have wondered out aloud whether he would fit in with the changes I would like to see’. That is the statement of a weak ineffectual Minister capable only of threatening children with prison for graffiti, as he did on the same day” said Mr Collins.

“Woodham is both a symbol and a cause of everything that is wrong with the hopeless and destructive prisons system. His failures include the:

  • Rise in recidivism and empire building during his term as Commissioner for Corrective Services
  • Deplorable prison security admitted by Woodham in an ICAC investigation last year
  • Failure to control his staff and calling on multinational private companies to help him – against total public opposition
  • Repeated allegations of corruption and thuggery going back to the 1970’s – Bob Carr said he should be stood down in 1993”

“The election policies of Smith and the Liberal/National Coalition focussed on rehabilitation and addressing the causes of crime as well as reserving jail for violent offenders. If Smith was honest in his stated intention he needs new people with resolve and new sharp tools to drive change. He must discard deadwood whilst he has the opportunity and expectation. We demand that our tax money of $75,000 a prisoner a year improves community safety rather than causes more crime” said Mr Collins.

For comment:  Brett Collins 0438 705003

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