Prisons

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Doing time: successful prisons have to ensure prisoners' time is well spent. Anthony Devlin/PA

How to build better prisons

Closing Victorian jails is an opportunity to create prisons that benefit inmates – and society.
Women who commit the same crime as men should in most cases receive lighter penalties. from www.shutterstock.com

How can we mitigate the crime that is female over-imprisonment?

The undeniable difference between men and women when it comes to committing crime should be reflected in a fundamentally different approach to the sentencing of women.
Smoking has long been embedded in prison culture. www.shutterstock.com

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.

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