Media release: August 1, 2012
Woodham to Severin – A Culture Change in NSW Prisons?
“The promised ‘cultural changes’ in the failed NSW prison system touted by Attorney General Greg Smith are instead a consolidation of old behaviour and an expression of political duplicity by Smith” said Justice Action Coordinator Brett Collins launching today an analysis of the changes. (download)
“This Friday August 3 is the last day for NSW Commissioner of Corrective Services Ron Woodham. His replacement Peter Severin, sourced from South Australia, intends to begin in September” said Mr Collins.
“The claim by Attorney-General Greg Smith that Peter Severin is the ‘ideal person’ for the job due to his alleged reduction in recidivism rates in South Australia is exposed as wrong. In fact the recidivism rate for South Australia increased from 29% to 32%. Severin has also been recently exposed by the SA Ombudsman as a callous prison manager for shackling a mentally ill woman and a woman in labour to a bed in breach of international standards”, said Mr Collins.
“Smith’s political decision to appoint Ron Woodham to the NSW Parole Board undermines its independence, and has been received with horror by prisoners and members of the State Parole Authority” said Mr Collins.
“We call upon Premier O’Farrell to institute a Public Inquiry into these appointments so that the principles of justice in NSW can be stated and seen to be supported in the selection of the leadership of our public servants” said Mr Collins.