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Opening doors for former offenders. Peter Macdiarmid/PA Archive

University courses for prisoners could reduce re-offending rates

Re-offending rates of former prisoners in England and Wales are stubbornly high, at more than 50% for young adults – and this costs the taxpayer between £9.5m and £13m per year. Despite the fact that research…
It doesn’t have to be like this. Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

The case for closing down women’s prisons

It sounds like a radical idea. Stop incarcerating women, and close down women’s prisons. But in the UK, there is a growing movement, sponsored by a peer in the House of Lords, to do just that. The argument…
Is California ready for prison reform? Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

California’s Proposition 47: softer on crime

On November 4, 2014, Californians will vote on Proposition 47, the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act. The measure would change many crimes from felonies, which generally require prison terms, to misdemeanors…
About one in ten people released from prison has an intellectual disability. Jes

Caring for ex-prisoners under the NDIS would save money and lives

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) promises to deliver better support to the one in five Australians living with a disability. But what about those inside prison or who have just left prison…
Kicking foreign prisoners out isn’t – and shouldn’t be – easy. Yorkshire Police

Why it’s difficult to deport foreign offenders

Once upon a time, you could tell an election was just around the corner when politicians of all kinds started talking relentlessly about crime. “Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime” was Tony Blair’s…
A Welcome to Country ceremony opens Darwin’s new $500 million facility last month to house rising numbers of prisoners, 85% of whom are Indigenous, a grossly overrepresented group. AAP/Neda Vanovac

Justice reinvestment saves huge costs of law-and-order auctions

A number of reports, most recently Victorian and NSW crime statistics, show crime rates are falling. But as election time looms in these states, their governments' focus on tough law-and-order policies…
Cutting sentences would take little more than political will. Ian Nicholson/PA Archive/Press Association Images

How to reduce the prison population in one easy step

Alarm is spreading once again about the state of UK prisons, with reports that more than 15,000 assaults were committed by prisoners in 2013-14. Justice minister Chris Grayling might be quick to argue…
A recent Ombudsman’s report is damning of the Victorian criminal justice sector, particularly around issues of accountability and transparency. shutterstock

Lifting the veil on the crisis in Victoria’s prisons

Victorian Ombudsman George Brouwer’s report on deaths and harm in Victorian prisons may have largely sailed under the public radar, but it shines a rare spotlight on the levels of systemic harm in custody…
HMP Grampian opened for business early in March. George Lamb

Scotland’s newest prison is another nod to Scandinavia

HMP Grampian, which opened in March, lies on the southern side of the fishing port of Peterhead. This is high on the north-east Scottish coast, more than 50km north of Aberdeen. It is a public project…
When we imprison adults, we are more often than not imprisoning parents. So what happens to their children? shutterstock

As we imprison more adults, what’s happening to the children?

Over the past six months, Victoria’s prison system has been widely acknowledged as overcrowded and at “breaking point”. Police cells are full of those awaiting a court hearing. The County Court is being…
HMP Oakwood, the vanguard of British carceral design. John M/Creative Commons.

Bad design breeds violence in sterile megaprisons

In the first few weeks of 2014, private security company G4S has repeatedly had to deny reports of full-scale riots at the UK’s newest prison, HMP Oakwood, near Wolverhampton. The prison has experienced…
Keys not cuffs. Banspy

Police cells are no place for mental health patients

It is no secret that mental health services are in a sorry state. Last year saw lots of stories about the increased pressures being placed on treating people in the community and on beds in mental health…
Give me a hand, the key’s stuck. PA

Hard evidence: does prison really work?

In front of British courts last year were 148,000 people who had 15 or more previous convictions, according to government figures. These reports deserve closer scrutiny. The justice minister, Chris Grayling…
The number of inmates in Victorian prisons is on the rise as part of the government’s tough on crime stance. But at what cost? shutterstock

Tough on crime: Victoria is not learning lessons from abroad

Locking up people is easy. It is the first refuge of intellectually bankrupt politicians clamouring for votes by “getting tough” on crime. A good general will read history before going to war, so a good…

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