'Chalk and Cheese' compares the development of the prison system in Norway with the current system in this country. The Community Justice Coalition launched the book on the 24th of November 2017. It demonstrates how the Norwegian experience can be used as a model for the transformation of prison systems to deliver more positive results and a safer community.
The Norwegian prison system in the 1980s closely resembled that of Australia’s, narrowly focused on retributive justice. Following a number of incidents, Norway introduced significant reforms prioritising prisoner rehabilitation. These reforms have proved successful and have significantly reduced the recidivism rate to one of the lowest in the world at 20%. We believe Australia is capable of doing the same.
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'The huge expenditure of public funds, however, is contrary to a large body of evidence showing that prisons are an ineffective mechanism to reducing offending in the community – it amounts to double that spent on building new schools, yet recidivism in NSW is the worst of all states.' Click on the link above to learn more.
"Prisoners of NSW have asked Justice Action to coordinate a statewide strike in response to a series of attacks. Rights to privacy, clean air, procedural fairness before punishment, education, judicial certainty, health, hope and recovery are being trampled without resistance. We have continually put these issues to government but have been treated with contempt. The documents are on our website. Prisoners say: 'We are citizens not slaves. We say No!’ The strike was launched at a news conference in Trades Hall at 12 noon, Thursday August 6”.
Justice Action has prepared a package of four research papers to change the culture of imprisonment. They represent a new paradigm of prisoner responsibility and empowerment dealing with the issues of recidivism and safe resettlement in the community. They propose that time in prison becomes a period of active development before release, and the rhetoric of corrective services becomes a reality rather than its accepted failure.
The draft papers follow international consultation with stakeholders and experts in the field. They have been personally distributed to almost all jurisdictions in the English-speaking world. We call on prison policy makers and administrators to respond to the ideas with the same constructive spirit that has been offered.
Media release: Prisoners Strike Consultation – International Prison Justice Day
August 10, 2011
"Justice Action announced today, August 10, International Prison Justice Day the launch of a consultation for a prisoners strike possibly extending to mental health patients, and others held in detention" said Justice Action Coordinator Brett Collins.
"Strikes by powerless people held in custody are the ultimate weapon available to them. They are a cry of desperation and have a long history of anguish and pain. Justice Action has been asked by detainees for many years to coordinate such an action in their fight to being recognised as people with human rights and dignity. Prisoners and their families are frustrated by the lies and contempt. The question is raised: 'Have governments lost their moral authority to imprison their citizens?'" said Mr Collins.
International Prisoners’ Justice Day August 10, marks the anniversary of the 1974 death of Eddie Nalon, a prisoner who bled to death in a solitary confinement unit at Millhaven Maximum Security Prison, Canada, when the emergency call button in his cell failed to work.
An inquest later found that the call button in that unit had been deactivated by the guards. The following year prisoners at Millhaven marked the anniversary of Eddie’s death by fasting and refusing to work. By May, 1976, the call buttons had not yet been repaired. Bobby Landers was the next to die in one of those cells. With no way to call for help, all he could do was scribble a note that described the symptoms of a heart attack.
What started as a one-time event behind the walls of Millhaven Prison has become an international day of solidarity.
Unfortunately, society in general and prison authorities, in particular, treat prisoners as outcastes
(The Dalai Lama, 1999)