Two months ago, NSW Attorney General Greg Smith promised to keep 14 high risk violent offenders behind bars beyond their sentences. Today, The Daily Telegraph revealed that half of them have already been released.
Announcements like this may grab headlines (and did) and evoke emphatic nods from the public, but locking away inmates indefinitely is not based on any sense. Just speak to anyone who spends their days and nights helping a sex offender find a place to live and a job.
Longer sentences are a proven vote winner, but they do not address the key issue of what to do with ex-prisoners. If Corrective Services NSW and similar departments in other states were really interested in reducing re-offending, they would spend more time and resources on rehabilitation and reintegration policies.
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Australian leaders like to claim, disingenuously, that a characteristic of the alliance with America is that Australia reserves the right to object, in a friendly if forceful way, with US policy or decisions.
No such objections have ever been publically expressed. It is time to test it.
An Australian citizen is in real trouble abroad. Julian Assange faces decades in prison in the US, which has an atrocious record for grabbing foreign suspects and holding them long years without trial.
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Kat Armstrong was a heroin addict, disowned by her only daughter and serving a prison sentence of ten years.
Vulnerable to relapse, with no support, no money, no home and no skills, her biggest challenge was returning to the real world.
Clean for eight years, reunited with her daughter and mentoring other women inmates all over NSW, Armstrong’s journey is exceptional. The fact that she’s still alive is amazing.
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