Past Campaigns

Prison violence: Letter to Minister

Mr Bob Debus
31st May 1998

Dear Minister,

Reducing Violence in NSW Jails
We write to you about the alarming levels of violence and death in the states prisons in recent times. We have discussed this matter intensively with members and groups within the Criminal Justice Coalition, but we wish to make this contribution as ex-prisoners. Together we have nearly 50 years combined experience in and study of prisoners, and this underlies our comments and emphases here.

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High Risk Management Unit

This is a request for an independent inspection team to examine the 75-cell HRMU at Goulburn Jail and to assess the nature and conditions in the unit and compare them to social alternatives. At the very least, to reassure the public that conditions in the HRMU are humane.

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ACT Jail Too Expensive: NSW Labor

The Sydney Morning Herald
January 22, 2007 - 9:07PM

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

The ACT's planned jail will cost twice as much to build but is only half the size of a new NSW jail, a NSW Labor politician says. The ACT's first full-scale prison will be open plan, environmentally friendly and promote healthy living, with a campus-style design incorporating a range of accommodation types.

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Prisoner Newspaper Ban: Supreme Court Challenge

JUST US goes to one in every two prisoners in Australia and New Zealand; also to every judge from the High Court to magistrate by name. A copy is also sent to every MP in every Parliament in both countries.

NSW Prisons Commissioner Woodham last year banned the Federal Election Special from NSW prisons. He refused to provide reasons for his decision, although 5 other states and territories accepted it without a problem.

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Draft Position Paper for Beyond Bars Alliance

Response to NSW State Plan

Strategies and policies intended to reduce crime and re-offending must incorporate the causes of crime and re-offending. In addition to behavioural or psychological causal explanations, the high levels of disadvantage experienced by those who commit crime- and are caught, must be taken into account. This disadvantage -characterised by unemployment, poverty, low levels of educational achievement, homelessness or residing in areas of locational disadvantage, problematic drug and alcohol use, and the experience of intergenerational violence and abuse- is the norm for many people inside prison and is particularly acute in some communities.

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Recommendations to Forensic Procedure Act

Recommendations to NSW Legislative Council Inquiry into the Crimes (Forensic Procedures) Act 2000

Justice Action hopes that the committee will recommend:

• The immediate repeal of the Crimes (Forensic Procedures) Act

• An immediate halt to the forensic testing of prisoners and true destruction of data and samples taken so far

• An immediate halt to the databasing of profiles and passing on of data to other jurisdictions (e.g. CrimTrac)

• The formation of a consultative committee with representation from key stakeholders (including non-government) and academics in relevant fields. Its task would be to facilitate the development of a Best Practice Model of forensic DNA laws (and perhaps genetic privacy in general) and make appropriate recommendations regarding oversight bodies, lab & database resourcing etc by consulting with reps of wider stakeholders and the community in general

• That an oversight and monitoring body be formed to audit, evaluate and accredit those likely to be recognised as forensic expert witnesses in NSW courts. It should be able to make non-binding recommendations with regard to what areas of expertise should be legally recognised in certain individuals, standards for presenting & admitting forensic evidence and counseling or retraining for forensic experts who give confusing or misleading evidence.

Failure of Imprisonment:

Each Inquiry says the same thing... 

A number of detailed inquiries have been held into the NSW prison system. These inquiries have taken evidence from a wide range of people, and have updated our knowledge and understandings of prison systems generally and the NSW system in particular. Combined with studies elsewhere, they say the same thing with almost monotonous regularity – prison does not work in terms of its stated objectives, and the use of prison should be scaled down.

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DNA Testing - Introduction

DNA technology has great potential to assist in the investigation of a wide range of offences, identifying the guilty, exonerating the innocent and solving what would once have been insoluble cases. However it is still just a technology and subject to all of the limitations in the skill and integrity of those who use it.


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