Displaying 1 - 20 of 59 articles

Smoking has long been embedded in prison culture.

Why banning smoking in prisons is a good idea

It's fair to say Victoria's ban on smoking in prisons has had some teething issues, but there's strong evidence to suggest the move is doing the right thing by inmates, staff and the health system.
Oscar Pistorius' early release was a virtual certainty from the day he was sentenced. EPA/Herman Verwey

Why parole for Oscar Pistorius is perfectly legitimate

Oscar Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide for what was deemed a tragic accident. In light of that verdict, he has not been subject to any special treatment in terms of his sentence.
Longer-term objectives of prison, such as their cost as a deterrent or the cost of failures to rehabilitate, are much harder to put a price on. shutterstock

How do we break down a $3.4b prisons bill? What can it tell us?

Prisons cost data should facilitate comparisons of relative performance, value for money and efficiency. But limitations on the quality of the data mean that, more often than not, they don’t.
Judge Steven Alm pioneered the HOPE project, the first of scores of swift and certain sanction programmes in the US. Youtube/PBS screenshot

Swift and certain sanctions: does Australia have room for HOPE?

The success of probation programmes based on swift and certain sanctions has led to more than 160 such schemes operating in the US. Australia should consider whether the model might work here too.
A NSW programme in which prisoners train stray dogs as part of their rehabilitation is one of a number of innovations adopted in recent years. AAP

Crime and punishment and rehabilitation: a smarter approach

Approaches to crime that rely on punitive methods have proved to be ineffective and counter-productive. Rehabilitation programmes not only prevent crime, but are cost-effective and practical.
Indigenous young people are 25 times more likely to be detained than non-Indigenous young people. AAP/Jesse Roberts

‘Tough on crime’ is creating a lost generation of Indigenous youth

A new generation of Indigenous youth is being separated from their families and culture – this time by the force of criminal law that ignores the proven alternative of community-based justice.
Unless most prisoners are given a realistic prospect of rehabilitation, how much good can prison really do? Shutterstock/sakhorn

What are prisons for? Answering that is the starting point for reform

Sentencing policy is a mixed bag of approaches: punishment, deterrence, protection and rehabilitation. The system will remain costly and ineffective until punitive instincts give way to a more rational approach.
Long Bay Correctional Centre was dubbed the ‘Long Bay Hilton’ by ‘tough on crime’ advocates whose campaigns helped fill prison cells to overflowing. Wikimedia Commons/J Bar

State of imprisonment: prisoners of NSW politics and perceptions

Most crime in NSW has been declining since the early 2000s, and the state's current murder rate is half what it was in 1988. So why is the NSW prison population growing?
Queensland’s reliance on high-security facilities to house a growing prison population may be linked to the nation’s highest rates of return for prisoners on parole. AAP/Dave Hunt

State of imprisonment: out one day, back the next in Queensland

Queensland's rates of imprisonment had been falling, but have undergone a sharp reversal - much of it driven by the nation's highest rates of return by prisoners released into the community.

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