Prisons as part of the Community

This is a key to JA's work.It was presented to the NSW Legislative Council 2009 as part of the campaign against the corporate privatisation of prisons. It is an analysis of the conflicting policies of social exclusion and community building, giving examples of how they conflict in practice and offering some direction for change.  download pdf


Prisons as part of the Community Analysis Paper download pdf


Introduction (download for full paper)

“Social exclusion is a short-hand term for what can happen when people or areas have a combination of linked problems, such as unemployment, discrimination, poor skills, low incomes, poor housing, high crime and family breakdown. These problems are linked and mutually reinforcing. Social Exclusion is an extreme consequence of what happens when people don’t get a fair deal throughout their lives, often because of disadvantage they face at birth. The disadvantage can be transmitted from one generation to the next.


The community can be viewed as a safety net, one which, prevents its members from being harmed in any way. Ex-offenders are seen as a threat, and therefore they are excluded on purpose from joining the community.


Significant developments in exclusion/inclusion theory have permeated much social thinking in Europe and the UK over the past 5 years. This results in the recognition of the harm individuals and groups suffer when their human rights are ignored and they are structurally excluded from the community. Unfortunately those in prison and detention and under various orders tend to be among the most excluded, limiting their chances of being social included into a community. In order to be socially-included offenders need to contribute to social life in economic, social, psychological and political terms. However, to do this they require the personal capacity as well as the access to employment and other social roles.

Those with a mental disturbance, a drug problem, an intellectual disability, without social skills or education or employment prospects and without support, are just going to continue to cycle in and out of courts and prisons. Following the decline of the welfare state or nanny-state, these individuals have nowhere to go. Communities and families are now expected to manage and support people with mental and intellectual disabilities and those without employment skills. The resources to do this are very meagre and prison has become the default institution for many such “difficult” people.



* Introduction

* What is a Community

* International initiatives for Social Inclusion

* United Nations

* United Kingdom

* Australian Government Initiatives for Social Inclusion

* Australian Federal Government Initiative

* New South Wales Government Initiative for Social Inclusion

* NSW State Government and the Prison Community

* Unintended Consequences of Imprisonment
* Family separation and break ups

* Separation of children from their mothers

* Institutionalisation

* Substance abuse and poor health care

* Mental Illness

* Education services

* Employment initiatives

* Housing Assistance

* Current examples of Government contradictions and community responses
* Social Exclusion felt within Public Housing Estates

* Social Exclusion within Prisons

* Justice Action and Community Service Order Ban

* Emu Plains visit restrictions

* Justice Action representative ban from Emu Plains

* Ban on Christmas Day Visits

* Early lock-in time at Long Bay Prison Hospital

* Refusal to allow Justice Action and NSW Nurses Association to attend tour of Long Bay Hospital for Upper House Inquiry

* Access Restrictions to Education




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