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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.
In the past decade, the number of people ending up in South Australian prison cells has grown at seven times the rate of the state population. AAP/South Australian Correctional Services Department

State of imprisonment: South Australia’s prisoner numbers soar, with just 10% of budget for rehab

Since 2004, the number of prisoners in South Australia has risen seven times faster than the state's net population growth – and nearly doubled its rate of locking up Indigenous Australians.
A man holds a placard reading “I am Charlie” to pay tribute to the victims following a shooting by gunmen at the offices of weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Reuters

Prisons, Muslim memory and the making of a terrorist

The media spotlight on Cherif Kouachi’s life rekindles questions about prisons and radicalization. As an alleged participant of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, Kouachi has seemingly led many lives. In one incarnation…
The high rates of neurodevelopmental disorders among young people in custody show more must be done to resolve the problems that lead them there. Karramba Production/Shutterstock

Neglecting neuroscience has criminal consequences for youth

Incarcerated young people have high rates of neurodevelopmental disorders. A recent international review of research found estimates of the rate of learning disability among young people in custody range…
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…

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