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Prison does not work so should kids be ‘doing time’

24 August, 2009

Tonight the ABC’s Four Corners will look at the NSW juvenile ‘justice’ system. It sounds like it might shed some light on the fact that locking people up is not always a good idea and since its conception has not really been a success.

The department has had to find makeshift solutions to deal with the overflow. At a facility in Emu Plains, kids are kept in their rooms for 18 hours a day with no toilets or showers.

It looks like sticking people in a cage and then treating them less than human and then releasing them back into society actually does not work. Then why are there calls for mandatory sentencing?

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. ribbet permalink
    24 August, 2009 9:01 pm

    because there’s no alternative available?

    • 25 August, 2009 4:55 pm

      because politicians are only interested in a short term fix

  2. 26 August, 2009 9:02 am

    Your first link in this piece goes to a page that is entirely unrelated to your post.

    Just a couple of questions for you:
    Can you give us your definition of “a child” please?
    Do you think that someone who commits violent crime like the “young offender” in the Four Corners promo that you link to should be jailed?

  3. 26 August, 2009 10:24 am

    Cheers Iain. In this case I guess it would be under eighteen (seventeen in Qld, maybe WA?).

    As for being locked up it is a bit hard to comment on the individuals without really knowing their circumstances. I think there is some need for detention to protect the community but we shouldn’t kid ourselves that this will make our society a safer place in the long term.

    Did you watch the progam? Any thoughts?

  4. 27 August, 2009 3:55 pm

    Just one question for you Iain. Did you have an interest in the answer?

  5. 27 August, 2009 6:44 pm

    Sorry about not responding sooner but I have been out all day giving my car a bit of a run 🙂
    You are kidding yourself if you think that an adolescent is still a “child” many are capable of doing crimes just as horrible as any “adult” and in this day and age many ore also very much aware of their unique legal status and the protection that it offers.
    That said I agree that there is a benefit in trying hard to reform young offenders but I think that if we dilute the consequences that these young offenders that they feel that they are “getting off” then the chances of changing their behaviour are lessened.

    As for being locked up it is a bit hard to comment on the individuals without really knowing their circumstances. I think there is some need for detention to protect the community but we shouldn’t kid ourselves that this will make our society a safer place in the long term.

    Oh come on, lets take this offender at face value, he admits to committing robbery with violence and I don’t care if some one is 15 or fifty if you commit violent crime like this why should anyone escape a holiday at Her Majesties Hotel?

  6. fairgo permalink
    27 August, 2009 9:46 pm

    Prisons do work for the private companies that run them. Recidivism works for them not rehabilitation.

    Build a prison and we will fill it. 64,000 people arrested in Australia last year on drug offences.
    Portugal sees this as a health problem not a criminal one. When will we grow up?

    Prisons do work for politicians that cannot be blamed when things go wrong.

    Prisons do not work for prisoners. The architecture of prisons aims to further dehumanise, isolate and and punish.

  7. 28 August, 2009 8:07 am

    No worries. Well the age of criminal responsibility is debatable but I think that at 14 or over you are legally considered to ‘know what you’re doing’.

    Prison is considered a last resort and this applies to adults as well so I don’t think kids have any unique legal status. As for reform (interesting word) or rehabilitation prior to incarceration this is where we should invest unlimited resources.

    I think we need to look at the consequences of locking anyone up. The statistics show that prison does not rehabilitate or act as a deterrent to offending. Once we lock someone up we are saying that we have exhausted all other avenues, but at the same time knowing it is unlikely to rehabilitate. It is as fairgo alludes to, a political convenience.

    There is a saying about doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

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