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Media Releases

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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Voters in prisons and hospitals refused information

Media release March 21, 2011

Update

“Lawyers booked to visit the Forensic Hospital on Sunday were refused access by the Clinical Director Dr Adrian Keller.  A legal team assembled by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, led by the former Commonwealth Solicitor General David Bennett AC QC was ready to challenge the Election newspaper ban in the Supreme Court today. This is exactly the attitude we are confronting” said JA Coordinator Brett Collins.

“Corrective Services and Justice Health have refused prisoners and patients in health institutions access to a newspaper carrying issues that affect them. The paper carries statements from political parties to voters in institutions, and an analysis of issues from the Community Justice Coalition pre-election Justice Forum” said Mr Collins.

Justice Health Executive Officer Julie Babineau said by email 17/3:

‘The document contains language and content that is political in nature and as such would not be deemed suitable for distribution within any NSW health facilities.  Any distribution of such material by Justice Health could be viewed as being endorsed by Justice Health.’


“Corrective Services said it has ‘adequate sources of information’ and ‘ensures each (voter) has the information on political parties’, however prisoners tell us they have received nothing” said Mr Collins.

“The ability to access information of a political nature is an essential element in the democratic process. It is a contradiction that these citizens have the right to vote, while their ability to receive a range of political ideas and opinions is curtailed” said Mr Collins.

“HREOC concluded in 2006 that to ban access to such publications is a breach of the human rights of prisonersand contrary to the ICCPR. Previous editions of the Election Newspaper have been twice to the Supreme Court. The lack of respect by these bureaucrats for citizens political rights is really outrageous” said Mr Collins.

“Australia’s leading constitutional lawyers say that this matter of informing voters in institutions is an ‘important fight’, and we intend to take it on again” said Mr Collins.  

Newspaper JUST US Election Special Vol 4/1 is attached.

Comments: Brett Collins 0438 705003

JUSTICE ACTION
Trades Hall, Suite 204, 4 Goulburn St, Sydney NSW 2000 Australia
PO Box 386, Broadway NSW 2007 Australia
T 612 9283 0123  | F 612 9283 0112
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Liberals/Nationals proposal on prisoner recidivism

Community Justice Coalition

Media Release Thursday, March 10, 2011


“Dealing with the causes of crime, as proposed by the NSW Liberals and Nationals, through drug rehabilitation and education programs such as putting computers in prison cells is a welcome change. That will reduce the strain on our prison system and the taxpayer, since every prisoner who returns to prison diverts resourcesfrom health, education and infrastructure”, says CJC President, Davit Bitel.

“These proposals to reduce re-offending are in line with earlier commitments made at the CJC Justice Forum. Reducing recidivism will reduce the number of victims – not just statistics but the real damage caused by failed justice policies,” says CJC Vice President, Hon John Dowd, AO, QC.

“NSW has the worst recidivism rate of any Australian State, with more than 40 percent of prisoners returning to gaol within two years – a rate 5 percent above the national average. The CJC wants and expects urgent action on this issue in order to make our communities safer” said David Bitel.

According to NSW Shadow Attorney-General, Greg Smith; “the NSW Liberals & Nationals are determined to reduce crime and make our homes and neighbourhoods safer”, through a second Drug Court and $20 million of funding over four years for education and training programs in prisons. See Media statement below from the
Liberal/National Coalition.

contacts:
David Bitel, on 0409 717571 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Chris Puplick on 0403 223 094
John Dowd on 8249 3221
Joan Bielski 9437 6916
or 9283 0123 ext 12

The Community Justice Coalition comprises organisations including the Aboriginal Legal Service, Unions NSW, the International Commission of Jurists, NCOSS, NSW Aboriginal Land Council, NSW Teachers Federation and NSW Council for Civil Liberties.

Community Justice Coalition
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
http://www.communityjusticecoalition.org/
P.O. Box 345, Broadway, NSW 2007 Australia

 

Read the media statement from the liberals/nationals here

Media Statement by Liberals/Nationals Coalition

Media statement by Liberal/National Coalition Monday 7 March  2011

NSW LIBS & NATS ANNOUNCE PLAN TO CRACKDOWN ON RE-OFFENDING  RATES

NSW Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell and  Shadow Attorney General Greg Smith SC today announced a comprehensive plan to  crackdown on re-offending rates in NSW, including the establishment of a  second Drug Court in Sydney.

Mr O'Farrell explained the  NSW Liberals & Nationals ambitious plan has the goal of reducing the  re-offending rate to below the national average within ten  years. 

The people of NSW are fed up with a corrective  services system which merely acts as a revolving door for offenders as  they transition through a life of crime, Mr OFarrell  said.

The NSW Liberals & Nationals are determined  to treat crime at its source and this is why we have a comprehensive plan with  the goal of reducing the rate of re-offending to below the national average  within ten years," he said.

"NSW has the worst recidivism  rate of any Australian State with more than 40 per cent of prisoners returning  to gaol within two years."

A NSW Liberals & Nationals  Government will:

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Sex Offending

Sex Offences: hysteria v reality

This issue exposes the contradictions of personal behaviour, commercial interests and government responses like no other. Justice Action has for many years defended the apparently indefensible, embraced the most reviled, and feels that handling this issue properly will lead to a reconsideration of community values on punishment. The furore around Ray (Dennis) Ferguson has given us the focus.

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Discovering Balance Conference

Message to Discovering Balance Conference, Perth October 2, 2008.

Justice Action shares the lessons it has learnt following Critical Resistance in San Francisco, ICOPA X11 in London, and the Victory at Long Bay in the prison hospital, Sydney.

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Media release: Victory! Line in Sand

Media release: September 25, 2008 download pdf

 

VICTORY FOR MENTAL PATIENTS LONG BAY LOCKDOWN
“Finally the government has acknowledged the right of mental patients to treatment that respects their special needs. To cause vulnerable citizens to suffer for administrative purposes is essentially torture and diminishes us as a community” said JA spokesperson Brett Collins.

Read more

 

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