Beyond the revolving door
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BEYOND THE REVOLVING DOOR. Father Peter Norden, A.O. Melbourne Law School University of Melbourne. WHAT REVOLVING DOOR?. “Hey I’m getting out next week!” “Terrific, good luck!” Next week: “I thought you were getting out…” “I did get out, but I am back again”

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BEYOND THE REVOLVING DOOR

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Beyond the revolving door

BEYOND THE REVOLVING DOOR

Father Peter Norden, A.O.

Melbourne Law School

University of Melbourne


What revolving door

WHAT REVOLVING DOOR?

  • “Hey I’m getting out next week!”

  • “Terrific, good luck!”

  • Next week:

  • “I thought you were getting out…”

  • “I did get out, but I am back again”

  • Melb. Juvenile Justice Centre: 1970


Australian housing urban research institute research report

Australian Housing & Urban Research Institute Research Report

  • Ex-prisoners and accommodation, ANZJ Of Criminology, April 2006.

  • 45,000+ released from prison each year

  • High levels of disadvantage: including poor education, unemployment, mental and intellectual disabilities, low income, substance misuse issues.

  • Majority return: “prison treadmill”.


The prison treadmill

THE PRISON TREADMILL

  • Socially & financially very expensive.

  • Challenge: how to increase chances

  • International research: suitable housing

  • AHURI findings:

  • Multiple changes of housing: critical

  • Poor/absent accommodation support

  • Increased use of alcohol/substances


Staying out of prison ahuri

Staying out of prison (AHURI)

  • Not moving at all between 3 months

  • Living with parents, partner or family

  • Having employment or being a student

  • Having positive support available

  • Cf. Fr John Brosnan’s statement:

  • 3 things I noticed over 30 years…..


Tony vinson s research dropping off the edge 2007

Tony Vinson’s Research: Dropping Off the Edge, 2007

  • Mapped social disadvantage by postcode throughout Australia

  • Used 26 disadvantage factors

  • Ranked communities by disadvantage

  • Measured impact of social cohesion

  • Showed correlations between each of the 26 disadvantage factors with crime and with imprisonment


Correlates with criminal convictions

Correlates with criminal convictions:

  • (1.0 is perfect correlation, 0.0 neutral)

  • 0.544Year 12 incomplete

  • 0.535Low Qualifications

  • 0.601Low Job Skills

  • 0.534Low Income

  • 0.633Disability pensioners


Correlations with imprisonment

Correlations with imprisonment:

  • 0.466Low job skills

  • 0.444Low pre-school attendance

  • 0.411Unemployment

  • 0.379Year 12 incomplete

  • 0.506Low taxable income

  • 0.527Child mistreatment

  • 0.661Public rental housing


So beyond the revolving door

So, BEYOND the revolving door

  • Prevention and early intervention

  • Starting with pre-school attendance

  • Ending with:

  • Diversion away from Dept of Justice

  • Recent Dept of Justice workshop:

  • How deal with the impact of the GFC?


Decreasing the risks

DECREASING THE RISKS….

  • Prison drug offenders penalties:

  • Isolation and removal of contact visits

  • Yet contact with family and significant others remains the key factor in preventing reoffending upon release!


Decreasing the risks1

DECREASING THE RISKS…..

  • Hepatitis C infection rate inside prison:

  • Ranges from 40% - 65 % of prison pop.

  • Yet limited availability, if any, of needle exchange, anti-virals and condoms to combat different blood borne viruses

  • MAJOR PUBLIC HEALTH RISK!


Decreasing the risk

DECREASING THE RISK…..

  • Australian Prisons becoming the

    “new asylums” of the 21st century:

  • Vic study, mental disorder: 13 per cent had been admitted to psych unit or ward

  • 25% doctor told they had mental illness

  • Prison populations are at the very high risk end of the health spectrum.


Prevention early intervention

Prevention & Early Intervention

  • Diversion away from criminal justice system from first point of contact

  • Health, Education, Welfare, Jobs Training must assume responsibility

  • Prisons must match level of health services available in wider community

  • Minimise the role of criminal justice system in control of illicit substances


Beyond the revolving door1

BEYOND THE REVOLVING DOOR

  • Early identification of at risk groups:

  • Most disadvantaged communities, new ethnic groups, young people at risk.

  • Interventions must be multi-dimensional, long term, and reflect cross departmental and cross governmental collaboration

  • Minimise the risk of the criminal justice system’s intervention itself!


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