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Prison Issues

Prison Issues

Corey Brough

The United Nations Human Rights Committee has ruled that Corey Brough, an adolescent Aboriginal man with a mild intellectual disability, has been the victim of human rights violations at the hand of the New South Wales prison officials whilst being detained at Parklea Correctional Centre in Sydney. The Australian Government, a signatory to the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, has refused to acknowledge the Committee's decision and are currently ignoring calls for an effective remedy for this vulnerable individual.

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Beyond Bars - NÂș8

 

Aboriginal People and the Criminal Justice System
There are many Indigenous people in prison in NSW. This fact sheet provides some basic information about why Aboriginal people are imprisoned at such high rates in NSW, and looks also at what this means for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities.

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Health in Australia's Prison Population

 

By Susan Allan, 12 June 2006

During the past weeks, since Alice Springs Crown Prosecutor, Nannette Rogers, made allegations on national television about widespread child sexual abuse in Aboriginal communities, Australian politicians and the media have stepped up demands for repressive measures against Aboriginal people.

At the centre of the campaign has been federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough. Last week, after claiming rampant lawlessness in many Aboriginal communities, Brough insisted that before the government would consider spending money on Aboriginal health and education, 'law and order' would have to be established and violent offenders jailed.

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Kooris and the Legal System: Review of the Royal Commission Inquiry

 

An End of Decade View of the Royal Commission Recommendations into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody April 1991/April 2001  

In late 1987 the Hawke Government finally relented and called for the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. 124 deaths were presented to the Commissioners but they only investigated 99 which occurred between 1980 - 1989. Not one police, custodial or jail officer was found guilty of any substantial wrongdoing.

During April 1991, the Commissioners handed down their collective wisdom in the form of 339 Recommendations. Roughly half of these dealt with the so-called justice system for Indigenous people. These Recommendations were mainly intended to keep Aboriginal people out of jail and stressed the need for prisons as a last resort. They were aimed at bringing about change relating to the involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders with the police, courts and jails. With what success?

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UN Condemns Australian Prisons

The United Nations Human Rights Committee has ruled that Corey Brough, an adolescent Aboriginal man with a mild intellectual disability, has been the victim of human rights violations at the hand of the New South Wales prison officials whilst being detained at Parklea Correctional Centre in Sydney.

The Australian government, a signatory to the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, has refused to acknowledge the Committee's decision and are currently ignoring calls for an effective remedy.

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Watch Committee

Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Watch Committee is an Indigenous community organisation monitoring the treatment of Aboriginal people in police and justice custody. A main focus of the Watch Committee is to monitor any deaths in custody, including police pursuits, and any breaches of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Recommendations.

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Computers in Juvenile cells

Computers in Juvenile Cells
The lack of access to technology for juveniles in detention centres has been said to be a “significant shortfall” in relation to prisoner education. While all jurisdictions officially mention the importance of education for youth offenders in detention, no jurisdiction has implemented computers in cells that would allow it to effectively happen. But it is much more than that. It lessens the social isolation using modern technology. Education is mandatory and teens are digital natives. It replaces passive TV watching.  It gives them access to family, peers, external authorities, and counselling in a safe and efficient way. Furthermore, “more use needs to be made of diagnostically detailed individual learning plans linked to rehabilitation plans.”

Justice Action presented the following to the 6th National Juvenile Justice Summit:
JA Juvenile Justice Summit Leaflet
Juvenile Justice Summit Agenda 4-5 May 2017

Expert opinions on computers in cells:
University of Southern Queensland Presentation
Prison PC Report

Counselling using computers in cells allow the detainees to properly use the up to eighteen hours a day they spend in bored isolation. Furthermore, external providers of therapies generate greater trust and choice and provide a sense of stability through the detention and after release, and youth receive some empowerment and self-management through these services. Research also indicates that online counselling for inmates is actually more effective than face to face counselling, and it is relatively cheap.

The ACT adult system has had computers in cells with access to the internet through a safe server for the past nine years.
(See our adult computers in cells page)

The aim of the juvenile detention is supposed to be the rehabilitation of the juvenile offenders. A key part of this rehabilitation is education, which can be facilitated by the provision of computers into the cells of prisoners. Education of youth offenders also works to reduce rates of recidivism. It is now commonplace that most educational courses require access to a computer and this provides a significant barrier to education for detainees.

Our proposal is that providing detainees with computers in their cells would allow them easy access to education, counselling, legal resources and communication with family members and will decrease rates of recidivism. Access to computers is the “natural tool in relation to expanding access to various educational options outside prisons.” A safe server system costs only $230 000 for installation in a large prison. 

Introduction - Youth Crime

 

LATEST NEWS
Juvenile Justice Leaflet 

The subject of youth crime has been one of much public debate over the last few years.  Statistics demonstrate that many youths who resort to crime face serious social and economical marginalisation. Justice Action believes that major changes have to be made to the current youth justice system in order to combat these ongoing concerns. 

As confirmed by The Australian Institute of Criminology’s Trends and Issues, child abuse and neglect are often the precursors to youth involvement in crime. Australian Institute of Criminology Director, Dr Adam Graycar, maintains: "a growing body of research evidence drawn from studies of individual families suggests that economic and social stress exert their effects on crime by disrupting the parenting process."

Continued funding should not be given to juvenile detention centres; rather, the underlying systemic inequalities that youth offenders face needs to be addressed.  Tax dollars should instead be redirected towards furthering youth education; rehabilitation programs for young offenders; housing initiatives; and creating community centres and after-school initiatives, amongst various other things.   This is the only way to combat youth crime before it starts.  Click here for detailed proposals for mentoring and justice reinvestment

The Juvenile Justice System

The Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) manages young offenders by means of supervision within the community or within Juvenile Justice Centres under remand or control (sentenced) orders. Under the Children's (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987 and associated legislation, young offenders are defined as aged between 10 and 18 years. Depending on the security and risk level of a detainee, offenders can be transferred into the adult correctional system when they turn 18 years of age, though in special circumstances older offenders may remain in the care of DJJ.

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