Australia: Proposals for prison justice-Justice Action
April 4, 2012
Justice Action: March 19, 2012
Finally after lots of effort by lots of people…
We have just sent to all Justice Ministers and Prisons Commissioners in all Australian states, territories and New Zealand the following email. It has also gone out to the Opposition spokespeople too. Your feedback on the drafts would be great. Each paper has a blog on the website, or you could respond directly to this email.
Dear Minister/Commissioner …..,
Justice Action has prepared a package of four draft research papers for your feedback before wider distribution. They represent a new paradigm of prisoner responsibility dealing with the issue of recidivism.
We encourage and support prisoners to take initiative in their rehabilitation and accept responsibility for their own lives. In the current prison environment prisoners are conditioned to become submissive. For significant positive cultural change it is necessary to have a more active strategy. There should be a focus on prisoners seeking skills to facilitate their reintegration, enabling them to become productive members of society after release.
These papers propose a new structure for the justice system. They aim to provide a more effective and cost-efficient solution to reduce recidivism.
This research paper challenges the critical view of Restorative Justice currently portrayed in the media. We believe in its merits as a community-focused response to crime, which emphasises building social cohesion and reducing re-offending by encouraging prisoners to take responsibility for the effects of their behaviour. This paper analyses the effectiveness and rationale of therestorative justice system.
With the use of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), re-offending rates can drop by up to one third. The current national and international view is that such programs are the most successful and cost-effective means of rehabilitation. However, in practice CBT is under-utilised, and its scope is restricted to the final stage of a sentence. This paper proposes an on-going as well as community-based method for implementing CBT, providing positive and long-term effects.
In response to the passivity of prisoners awaiting the expiration of their prison term, we have developed a research paper on Remission – a system that uses reductions in prison sentences as an incentive for good behaviour and self-improvement within prisons. By allowing prisoners to have some control of their own future, they develop a sense of responsibility and are given an incentive to serve their sentence productively with a mindset of moving forward. This paper analyses its use and success.
Education is proven to reduce the likelihood of recidivism. Computers in cells provide prisoners with the ability to participate in training and educational programs, as opposed to the inactivity and boredomgenerated by access to limited technology such as television. This paper has been adopted internationally but its implementation has been slow locally, despite agreement on all sides of politics that it is correct and overdue.
We strongly recommend that the issues raised in these papers be considered in implementing a new, practical strategy. We are hoping to workwith you to achieve a more effective justice system and would like to hear your views on the issues proposed.
Please acknowledge upon receipt, and we would value your response if possible within 14 days.
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