Tough on crime
Recent comments by two experienced judicial officers calling for justice reform should not go unheeded. Time for a re-think and policy reset.
Victoria's "tough on crime" approach on jailing offenders is not working. It may be a popular catch cry but is a superficial response.
Building more prisons as Victoria is doing is not the solution. The government is using a political tool and makes the public think the government is looking after them.
It is time to move away from excessive use of imprisonment and also explore better ways of reducing recidivisim. Prisons are overflowing with too many people jailed for minor offences, and offenders with a history of mental illness and cognitive disorders, and this comes at a massive cost to society. $2.5 million a day to run prisons or $130,000 pa for each prisoner.
To reduce crime is a better idea. To reduce the number of people going to jail and coming out worse seems a preferable option. But it requires a more enlightened approach. Keeping violent offenders away from non violent offenders is a good start.
To prevent people returning to crime after jail we need to look at causes and triggers like greed and drug habits. Then there are the mechanics of change, providing housing and transport for people to make working easier. We need to assist people to get a job or we build more jails.
We need funding and commitment for prevention and rehab programs for all prisoners especially as the danger period is the first two years after jail. 55 per cent of prisoners return to jail in this period. We need to look at causes, such as how childhood and environment relate to crime and act.
We cannot excuse crime but understanding causes can help us in preventing crime.
Michael McKenzie, Strathdale
Leave lobsters alone
Lobsters have been suffering in crates on Australian docks - the unwilling victims of a trade war with China. Vested interests have presented this cruelty as an opportunity for Australians to buy lobsters cheaply, but we should really view it as motivation to eliminate an appallingly cruel business.
Researchers tell us lobsters are amazingly smart animals who use complicated signals to explore their surroundings and establish social relationships. They have been shown to experience stress when confined in tanks, and to suffer agony when cut up or thrown alive into boiling water.
500 years ago, Leonardo da Vinci wrote, "How cruel for one whose natural habitat is water to be made to die in boiling water." Ninety-nine percent of Australians agree that unnecessary cruelty is wrong, so let's just leave the lobsters in the ocean, where they belong.
Desmond Bellamy, PETA Australia, Byron Bay
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