Unfair mandatory sentencing laws

Plans to extend mandatory sentencing under WA’s controversial ‘three strikes’ laws.

Unfair mandatory sentencing laws

Concerns have arisen about a plan to extend mandatory sentencing under Western Australia's controversial ‘three strikes’ laws.

The 'three strikes' law will apply to the cases where a mandatory minimum one-year sentence will be given to young people for home burglaries, and for serious and violent offences that occur when a burglary is committed by a person of any age. If young offenders have a prior record, this will be taken into account, even if they have admitted guilt and participated in rehabilitation programs. Mandatory minimum sentencing will prevent judges from taking into account extenuating circumstances when handing down a sentence.

If passed, however, the legislation will put pressure on already overcrowded prisons. According to the WA Prison Officers’ Union the state’s jails are already holding 1200 more inmates than they’re meant to. According to state government estimates, the proposed legislation, currently before parliament, would result in a further 260 adults and 60 children being imprisoned.

Union Secretary John Welch says prison overcrowding is due to “a failure of planning and a failure of good policy.” He says overcrowding puts staff and prisoners at risk, and new jails are needed, instead of new legislations, which “are not going to deal with the crisis we have.”

At the overcrowded Bandyup Women’s Prison, inmates are sleeping on mattresses on the floor, some with a toilet next to their head.  Mr Welch is concerned about the stress more prisoners will have on an already stretched system, as “increased tension and pressures” will lead to assaults on prisoners and staff.

Professor Harry Blagg, Associate Dean of research at the University of Western Australia’s law school says the punishment is “appalling” and “hypocritical”. The Aboriginal Legal Service of WA, Law Society of WA and Amnesty International all oppose the law and say it will disproportionately affect Indigenous people.

“I find it utterly distressing that this is what we have come to,” Mr Blagg says. “A lot of these kids [Indigenous Australians] are on the foetal alcohol syndrome spectrum, their ability to make judgments is significantly impaired.”

Read more at ABC.

Opinion: Australia’s justice problem

When talking about harsher sentencing legislation for offenders, there’s no clearer, or more current, case to discuss than that of murderer and rapist Adrian Bayley. He had served only 11 years in prison for rape and the attempted rapes of eight women, but was free to walk the streets of Brunswick in September last year, choosing to end the life of ABC employee Jill Meagher in the most horrific way imaginable for any woman.

The mandatory sentencing and 'three strikes' law, which mainly targets under aged offenders committing petty crimes, seems nonsensical. It’s baffling to think that in one state in Australia, kids can be imprisoned at the snap of someone’s fingers, while in another serious repeat-offenders, such as Adrian Bayley and Sean Christian Price (who murdered Melbourne teenager Masa Vukotic in broad daylight in March), can walk free.

The Australian legal system is drenched in privileged-based hypocrisy. It’s no coincidence that Bayley and Price, murderers with a rap-sheet a mile long of other violent offences, are middle class while males. Consider also that in 2013–14, despite only making up around six per cent of the population, disadvantaged Indigenous Australians made up 78.3 per cent of all young people in detention in WA.

I’m sure we’ll all have an opinion about how our unfair legal system can be fixed. One way could be for all states to adopt the same sentencing legislation across the board. Another might be to find a way to funnel more money into the overburdened parole and prison systems. Certainly, we know that preventing a situation from occurring in the first place is the best way to avoid having to find a fix. And focusing individual education and mental health can do that.

What can Australia do to ensure its legal system upholds justice properly and is fair across the board? Does Australia have a justice problem or is the issue about something else entirely?





    COMMENTS

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    wally
    2nd Apr 2015
    10:22am
    Would I be mistaken in thinking that that the justice and penal systems exist to make society safe from the activity of criminals? You can go easier on first time offenders in the hope that getting caught and punished would make them see the error of their ways and not offend again.

    When it comes to repeat offenders, why are they continuing to commit crimes? Especially after they have been caught three times. Have they committed other crimes undiscovered? Are they too stupid to realise that they have been caught three times and if they continue to commit crimes, they are more likely to get caught again? What should be done with them?

    If you turn them loose and they commit more crimes, you are going to have more victims. Certainly it is expensive to keep career criminals locked up. So what is more important, the safety of the public, or saving the government the expense of keeping criminals locked up? Especially the ones found guilty three times of committing criminal offences. Taken to its logical (or most insane ) conclusion, should society close down the prisons, courts and police, thus allowing the criminals a free hand in running Amok is society?

    The bleeding hearts claim that by putting offenders in jail only makes them worse as they learn from other jail birds how to be more clever criminals. If that were true, then the young criminals, upon release, would have learned from their mentors "inside" and thus know how to avoid detection, arrest and appearing in court once more. After having been given two chances already to give up the criminal lifestyle, is there any point in giving them more lenient treatment? I think not.

    Who would you prefer to have living next door to you, "Goodies" or "Baddies"?

    Besides, building and staffing more prisons would go some way to solving the unemployment situations in rural communities throughout Australia.
    particolor
    2nd Apr 2015
    2:47pm
    Id like a judge living next door to Me ! :-) Ill get away with anything nowadays !! :-)
    Pass the Ductape
    4th Apr 2015
    8:09am
    Agree wally; if we are going to put people in jail for our own protection, then they should stay there until rehabilitation takes place - however long that might take - and be prepared to pay for the effort!

    Approaches should be made to the correctional officers who care for prisoners on a daily basis to get a true account of how the prisoner behaves in jail - not the imagined events of how a prisoner is perceived to have behaved by members of a sentence management team.

    Many prisoners show their true colours and play up merry hell towards officers during the time they are in jail, but then know how to act like little innocent babies when confronting a sentence management team, or in particular - the parole board.

    Parole boards generally consist of so-called 'learned' people who have no idea of what goes on in jail - in the real sense, and often make terrible decisions when assessing some prisoners for parole or release.

    Should an offender then fool the parole board - or take up where they left off upon their release, then perhaps they should be returned to jail for good.
    wally
    5th Apr 2015
    10:18am
    Parti, are you telling us that you don't get away with everything now??????????? :)
    bartpcb
    2nd Apr 2015
    12:18pm
    The issue is a complex one that society's Justice systems have been struggling with for centuries. Historically we have tried inhumane punishments (chopping of hands etc) and it failed. We have tried mandatory sentencing with long sentence and capital punishment and it failed. We have tried and are still trying rehabilitation with programs and education and apart from doctored statistics, it is clear that this too is failing. We have for a long time blamed the inadequecies within society as the root cause for crime and have made significant improvements to address this, it's still failing. Pointing to the higher rate of Aboriginal incarceration is an unnecessary smoke screen as the inmate populations in other states show an inmate population of non-indigenous of greater proportions. We would be better to label the inmate populations as 'disadvantaged' as opposed to bringing in racial issues. Regardless of 'finding the solution' which will clearly take centuries more, our immediate need is to protect the normal law abiding and socially responsible members of society from predatory attacks by crimminals. At present the only protections we have, at this point in time, are more police, more prisons and mandatory sentencing.
    KSS
    2nd Apr 2015
    12:45pm
    "We would be better to label the inmate populations as 'disadvantaged' as opposed to bringing in racial issues."

    No bartpcb, they are CRIMINALS having been found guilty by a court. I do agree that we should leave racial identity out of it, although it is true that people of Aboriginal background are over represented in the general prison population.
    Dotty
    2nd Apr 2015
    12:50pm
    I agree entirely with you on these issue's ! I know Police get so tired of sitting for days and hours doing brief's to take to Court
    only for the offender's to be given a slap on the wrist and say don't do it again after 4 or 5 appearances for those very same offences !
    I say more Police and more jails and harsher sentencing instead of the Lenient sentence's they now get !!
    Dotty
    Blossom
    4th Apr 2015
    11:51pm
    I have heard that several times. Some Police Officers have had it happen so many times that sometimes they just issue warnings to some of the petty things. They prefer to be out stopping drink drivers and speedsters from injuring or killing others rather than the horrible task of having to notify relatives about the death or serious injury of their family members.
    Yes KSS, I agree with your comments about the "disadvantaged" (not all of them are genuine either - some it is of their own making).
    In one far north town, they deliberately throw the rubbish all over the footpath, a road and around big bins there to put it in, then call it white man's rubbish. Even some of their own people are complaining about it. We witnessed one of the aboriginal Police Officers being threatened because he spoke to them about it.
    Katie
    2nd Apr 2015
    12:34pm
    I would agree with Wally that one goal of the system existing is to make society safe from the activity of criminals. Our system in Australia is also to deal all aspects and that is why Judges have discretion case by case. Because never is two situations the same. Also Treating murder and rape on a same level to burglary would be utter nonsense. Rehabilitation within jail is a serious core component of our system if we want long term change and reduced repeat offenders. We don't have a developed Rehabilitation system. Early young offenders of minor crimes targetted well with rehabilitation, particularly where there is complex mental trauma, is financially beneficial to our society long term compared to just doing the time and increased crime later in life. I've seen young offenders re-offended because there was no functional family for them on the outside and childhood trauma rendered them more comfortable with jail than the outside world. Not because its easier, but because trauma for traumatised is familiar and comfortable. I would also suggest if we compared the Aboriginal statistic of 78.3% with other Australian's and took out the petty crimes, that that figure would drop drastically. Also the fact that the Mining companies in WA and NT are supportive of 3 strikes laws on minor infringements to remove the Aboriginal out of key areas where they are hindering Mining companies from accessing their land. Bess Price MP advocacy is dealing with this very issue. The issue is not straight forward, and the law is being manipulated in WA for the Mining lobby - it is not about making the community safe - it's about access to Aboriginal lands for Private Companies profits. It's our resources - all Australian's including Aboriginals. As usual legislation is targeting Profits before People. The high-end crimes of Murder and Rape have the laws in place, the sentencing is there to be used. We just need the Judiciary to implement fully the laws they have. There's no reason serious offenders need be released. But let's not condemn all criminals as equal, unable to be rehabilitated and all guilty. In WA many Aboriginals are being jailed for crimes they did not commit as a way of removing them out of the way. The 3 strikes is not a blanket answer to all crimes. I agree with Wally's sentiments, but I know the issue is not as black/white as it seems. Check out Bess Price MP and other Aboriginal advocates to get the truth so more Australians can voice to politicians the injustice that is taking place - it's shaping up to be another Stolen Generation all over again, but this time it's over Mining Resources.
    Blossom
    4th Apr 2015
    11:24pm
    In a lot of cases in country towns in SA the Police don't even bother to pick up Aboriginals as they claim racial discrimination. In one town there is a young lad who loves setting fire to buildings quite regularly. They arrested him once, had their lives threatened, and almost had a riot in the town. A lot of the Police overlook their petty crimes because of threats made against them. It was reported in the Advertiser a few years ago that a Police officer was called out one night, ambushed, badly beaten up. In some small country stations there is only ever one officer on duty. I know which country town it happened in and know for a fact that the report was correct.
    Blossom
    5th Apr 2015
    12:01am
    There is people that pretend to be rehabilitated that commit the same crimes again within hours of being released are, reported by not just one witness but sometimes several, especially shoppers in shopping centres, arrested and charged again.
    Some that are given Community Service for minor offences simply don't turn up. Some refuse to pay fines. Maybe the Govt should take action to confiscate items ti re-coup the money. They might pay their fines then.
    I recently hear of a case where somebody owed another person I know a lot of money and got a court order to do that. He was paid cash within 24 hours.
    Young Simmo
    5th Apr 2015
    12:17am
    Yeh Blossom, Ahhh,,,,,, Ahhhh,,,,,, No, I better not say it.
    Blossom
    5th Apr 2015
    12:20am
    Maybe not. Sounds like you might get yourself in trouble if you do.
    gilstamp
    2nd Apr 2015
    12:42pm
    Are we all blind and deaf here. The way political life is going in Australia is to copy American ways which have been in existence long enough to see the results of such policies. Particularly in the case of "three strikes" mandatory sentencing which began in California in the Reagan era, the counterproductive effects are plaguing the whole system. Jails are overcrowded with minor offenders and becoming a drain on even their huge economy.
    As for proposing a solution, I am in agreement with the suggestions in the article, particularly in regard to uniform sentencing guidelines across the country.

    2nd Apr 2015
    12:43pm
    Mandatory sentencing is a good idea. It acts as a deterrent and helps keep gutter-clutter off the streets. Too many offenders are getting let off too lightly and are openly laughing at "the system" and re-offending at the same time. If needed, build more prisons and increase the incarceration rate to keep this scum where they belong. Too strict? TOO BAD!
    Young
    2nd Apr 2015
    12:47pm
    I totally agree with fast Eddie.
    In some cases the death penalty is still needed.
    Star Trekker
    2nd Apr 2015
    1:12pm
    I agree! To many people like Adrian Bayley and Sean Christian Price do not deserve a place in this country.
    Maybe we can find a island (like Britain did with Australia) and dump them there with no hope of escape.
    Abby
    6th Apr 2015
    12:26pm
    An excellent idea Star Trekkeer we should book them on the next trip to the moon.
    Sen.Cit.90
    2nd Apr 2015
    1:01pm
    I know that I will cop some stick for this.
    Much of the present and past problems with youngsters started when a Dr ??? advocated and won the stopping of corporal punishment.
    We should start sending repeat offenders to a tough disciplined camp similar to the old UK 'Borstal' offenders who went there thought twice before risking being sent back. 'Spare the rod and spoil the child' I agree. At age 86 I grew up with that and it did me no harm whatever
    HKW
    2nd Apr 2015
    1:11pm
    Spot on! Absolutely agree.
    particolor
    2nd Apr 2015
    1:38pm
    Allegedly !! :-(
    Nan Norma
    2nd Apr 2015
    5:59pm
    Sen.Cit, I saw school girls on TV bashing each other in a way would have been alian when I was in school. Dr. Spock should be around today to see how feral children have become. We are told the cane and smacking only teaches brutal behavier, well tell me what we have got now? Teachers are resigning in droves unable to cope with the unruly behavier of the students. Even grade One's are undisaplained. Mothers are afraid to say no anymore. Even in childcare they are not supposed to tell a child it is being noughty. We should all read 'Lord of the Flies' and see what happens when children are left without adults to supervise them.
    particolor
    3rd Apr 2015
    2:06pm
    Its Hopeless Nan !! We are raising a Herd of Jihadists !! :-(
    Abby
    6th Apr 2015
    12:30pm
    Yes Nan
    These days parents want to be child's friends instead of being their parent to the child.
    HKW
    2nd Apr 2015
    1:01pm
    Australians are becoming poorer in this country with no job prospect for young people. And yet the government brings in more migrants who end up in the same situation, if not worse, for many of them can't speak English. More Australians are becoming homeless, therefore more crime will be committed, just for the simple purpose of getting a roof over their heads in currently luxurious prisons rather, than stay cold out there and hungry.
    Time to get rid of the lechers in Canberra and get real and honest Australians in the government creating jobs!!
    KSS
    2nd Apr 2015
    1:15pm
    Not having a job does not give you the right to break into someone's house and steal the things they have worked for and you want. Nor does it give you the right to stalk a pensioner to the bank on pension day and bash them for their money because you don't have as much. Nor does it give you the right to assault men or women. Nor does it give you the right to steal from retailers, bash people in the street, smash property that does not belong to you, deface buildings with puerile scribblings and call it art or a million other 'petty' and not so petty crimes. Being poor, uneducated, from a broken home etc. etc. etc. does not make you a criminal. Breaking the law does!
    HKW
    2nd Apr 2015
    1:39pm
    To KSS,
    I absolutely agree with your comment. But try to tell this those desperate ones. Unfortunately the economical situation plays a big role in people's attitude and conduct. There seem to be no sympathy in Canberra for the less fortunate. I do not defend crime nor condone it. I have been, however, for the last 10 years carefully observing domestic and world's events and I don't like what I'm seeing. It'll only get worse, for the gap between the poor and the rich is widening. The already wealthy get greedier and certain lobbyist groups corrupt the government into supporting their agenda instead of working for the people. To stop the youth's crime it has start from proper affordable education, education about crime, appropriate activities and job creation. I certainly would like to see Australians as happy people living comfortable lives. The Australian Justice system needs to be updated.
    Nan Norma
    2nd Apr 2015
    6:07pm
    HKW. I% of the American population owns 45% of America's wealth. And 10% owns 65% of the wealth so there will be more crime if the greed doesn't stop. I don't know what the statistics are here.
    particolor
    3rd Apr 2015
    2:14pm
    The Yanks are Pikers compared to this Place !! :-)
    Blossom
    5th Apr 2015
    12:26am
    Yes, and some of the taxi drivers from overseas don't even know where the public hospitals are - how do they get their Taxi licenses,some of them can't even follow the directions on their GPS. Fair dinkum I know an Aussie taxi driver who was failed the first time because he didn't know where some of the lesser known hotels in the suburbs were.
    Abby
    6th Apr 2015
    12:32pm
    Some child carers are unable to speak English
    KSS
    2nd Apr 2015
    1:07pm
    Law and order should not be a state based issue, it should be a federal issue. Let Canberra set the crimes and relevant punishments and leave the states to administer it. It would bring all states and territories into line and rationalise the consequences of breaking the law so that wherever you commit the crime, the punishment would be the same if you are found guilty. It would also get rid of the need for extradition orders for criminals who flee across state borders.

    We also need to stop softening the language used to describe offenders. Once found guilty by a court they are criminals. Until then they are only accused of committing a crime.

    As for young offenders, if they have been found guilty, they are criminals and should be dealt with as such under the prevailing law. If incarceration is necessary, then part of that time should consist of mandatory completion of relevant programs, literacy for example, other job skill education......

    One of the issues however, is that with the demise of residential mental health facilities there has not been a corresponding increase in community based services or residential housing support. Therefore, we do have many people in prisons who should perhaps more appropriately be in a mental health facility. Perhaps by building more residential care facilities for those with serious mental health conditions, we could move some of the prison inmates to these medical institutions freeing up space for the criminals who are simply criminals - whatever their age, gender or ethnicity.
    Nan Norma
    2nd Apr 2015
    6:13pm
    KSS We shut down most of the mental institutions years ago and left the mentally ill to fend for themselves. many finished up on the streets and in the prisons as they just couldn't cope.
    Blossom
    4th Apr 2015
    11:39pm
    Nan Norma, I agree with you. What's more they are talking about closing more.
    Genuine Mental Health patients who have never committed crimes are being pushed out and can't cope. They can't get references to rent housing so they end up homeless
    Some can't even understand the procedures to claim Centrelink payments. Some commit petty crimes to get locked up to get food and to have a bed for the night.
    They have no concept of shopping or managing money.Some of them have mental health problems because of brain injuries, either because of an accident, assault, or even a problem at birth.
    Tezza
    2nd Apr 2015
    1:24pm
    Australia was settled by convicts, the majority of Irish decent. By today's standards the crimes would be considered petty. The convicts never saw their families again, unless their rels. came over on the next boat for similar petty crimes. They were put to work to develop this country.
    Central Australia needs developing. Get water there (Western Australians know how to move water great distances) and start moving the repeat offenders to their new home. The mines fly staff in/out. Do the same with the prison officers.
    particolor
    2nd Apr 2015
    1:42pm
    Oresome !!
    Theo1943
    3rd Apr 2015
    11:02am
    Why don't we send our petty criminals to Ireland?
    particolor
    3rd Apr 2015
    2:24pm
    Where they will promptly Test It and send it back !! :-) " Its defiantly one of Yours !" :-)
    Paulodapotter
    2nd Apr 2015
    2:11pm
    Mandatory sentencing laws have no effect on crime rates just as Capital Punishment doesn't. Both are a political tools to impress ignorant yobbos. The hard task is to treat the cause and that requires real effort and commitment. The human being has a tendency to use draconian measures to treat symptoms, just as we are doing in our supposed war on terrorism. Mandatory sentencing has the same impact as prohibition. Nil.
    Abby
    6th Apr 2015
    12:38pm
    Capital Punishment has a definite effect on crime ..... they are definitely not repeat offenders after it.
    Polly Esther
    2nd Apr 2015
    2:11pm
    If capital punishment cannot be reinstated in this country then I feel sure that a deserted island surrounded by shark infested waters could be found, where upon, Adrian Bayley and other like scum could be given a boring and never ending 'tent holiday' out of the way of the majority of people who are trying to live a decent law abiding life, and this could go a long way towards addressing the problem of prison overcrowding. Yes, even the above mentioned was heard to say "you should have kept the death penalty in this country for the likes of me".
    But wait, I hear the rumblings of the bleeding hearts and all the do gooders stirring, "By god, you can't be serious, it's inhumane' ; oh sorry stupid me, here I was thinking that the horrific things done by the above named, and similarly done by all the others like him, was inhumane.
    Paulodapotter
    3rd Apr 2015
    10:47am
    If revenge is what you are seeking then capital punishment fits the bill, but that's its only outcome. The rest is more complex and treating the causes might make the world a better place to live in. Same applies to mandatory sentencing which usually ends up snaring the innocent as well as the guilty.
    Patriot
    3rd Apr 2015
    11:26am
    Paulodapotter
    And - "So it is".
    particolor
    3rd Apr 2015
    2:10pm
    Yes !! Let them out on Parole !! They're not finished Yet !! :-(
    Patriot
    3rd Apr 2015
    2:49pm
    particolor
    I don't think that: "Just letting them out" was anywhere in the suggestion box!
    We are (and well & truely HAVE) proven that "Just locking them up and letting them out again" as we currently seem to do, does not work! Most of the time, unless they're shipped out "in a box", they are just repeating the same or worst crimes. The years in jial have just Hardened them and made them more antisocial!

    Rehabilitation programs CAN be devised & Implemented to provide SOME chance of conversion into dignified human beings.
    This rather than JUST discharging them when they have "done their time".

    I do agree that we should NOT provide "PLUSH ACCOMODATION".
    However, provision of High Quality food MUST be "part of the process' as such has the potential to alter/correct the "Brain Chemistry Imbalance" which MAY BE part of the problem.
    wally
    5th Apr 2015
    10:33am
    I think that the provision of improved facilities for prisoners in terms of comfort and privileges should be based on how well they behave. Cold showers and less appetising food, (Let 'em eat Brussell sprouts and cabbage) and no electronic stuff like tv sets should be part of the regimen for the recalcitrant, recidivist prisoners. Pleasanter circumstances could be provided as the prisoner's behaviour improves through transfer to "kinder and gentler" cell blocks, and greater access to family visits.

    In short, incentives to encourage improvement in prisoner behaviour as a reward system should be in place. Certainly, this system could be open to abuse and manipulation. To give an unappreciative mob of prisoners everything on a silver platter from Day One of their arrival does not appear to be the way to go.
    Patriot
    5th Apr 2015
    11:01am
    Wally,
    I think that we have proof (last paragraph) that "Servicing to-the-MAX" does not produce the desired results!
    Young Simmo
    2nd Apr 2015
    2:13pm
    The first thing this country needs is some Judges and Magistrates with an IQ above 10.
    Just this week a guy is fined $5000 for running onto a sports ground to congratulate his team. Next week the same Judge could possibly send a one punch killer to jail for 4 years and out in 2 years.
    A judge or magistrate with an IQ of say 30, might set the world on fire.
    Come on people, if you have some good examples of stupid decisions by Judges, let's hear them.
    particolor
    2nd Apr 2015
    2:51pm
    If Banks only had half as much money in them They only get Robbed half as much !! :-)
    Patriot
    2nd Apr 2015
    6:21pm
    Should it be a crime to "Steal Money from Thieves"?????
    particolor
    3rd Apr 2015
    2:12pm
    Defiantly !! :-) There's No Honour amongst them !! :-)
    CindyLou
    2nd Apr 2015
    2:27pm
    I hate to see criminals, especially those who have committed serious offences, being given weak sentences, released on good behaviour or on parole...only to recommit similar or worse offences. Must drive the arresting police nuts to see their hard work disregarded.

    My thoughts on criminal behaviour are: indivuals like myself who have never committed crimes have a huge incentive not to offend so as to avoid getting a criminal history which impacts on work, travel eg to USA. However, once someone has being caught and has a criminal history, the lean sentencing is not a deterrent for future offences as they know they will most probably get off with a good behaviour bond and they don't care about having a good record re jobs travel. Hence the continuous criminal behaviours. Something has to change.
    MICK
    2nd Apr 2015
    3:09pm
    So what is worse: judges giving crims 20 suspended sentences or actually protecting society?
    Of course with mandatory sentencing you may catch a fish you don't want.
    The moral of the story is for lawless Australians to behave or do the time. Long overdue for those of us who obey the rule of law.
    Jen
    2nd Apr 2015
    4:06pm
    I don't know what the answer is, the problems seem so huge, the system so biased, and some aspects of the justice system seem nonsensical, but perhaps we could make a tiny start by throwing out the parole board who let that mongrel walk free despite a record as long as your arm. I know it'd make me feel better.
    Young Simmo
    2nd Apr 2015
    5:24pm
    Yes Jen, it needs a practical solution EG, publish the home addresses of the Parole Board members to start with.
    Patriot
    2nd Apr 2015
    5:07pm
    Whilst I agree that the sentencing must be the same everywhere in Australia, I observe a great disparity in quality of sentencing as it is evident that sentences are – at times – far to lenient in relation to the crime committed. Also “parole” for “Sex & Child” offences is viewed with “Too Much” compassion which (as proven “Time & Time again”) endangers Australian citizens! I thought that “The Laws” should be there to protect “The Innocents” as a “First Priority”.

    When a thief “Break & Enters” into your home and gets harmed (Physically Modified) by the owner, it often happens that the owner is “Found more Guilty” of a crime that the Trespasser!
    Does this send “Wrong Messages” as home-owners now do not seem to be able to defend their properties? . . Where has the Law GONE WRONG.

    IS THE LAW AN ASS????

    Indeed as was suggested on this forum, we are emulating (with a factor of 5 to 10 years delay) the situation in the USofA. So let's see if we can learn something from their situation:

    Incarceration in the USofA, as a percentage of the population, is higher than in any other country in the world and SO is the CRIME-RATE.
    So, the “Take Away” message from this might be that:
    1 “Building MORE JAILS & locking up MORE PEOPLE does not seem to resolve the “Crime Issue”.
    2 More “Brutal & Violent” trained Police Force also does not seem to be a deterrent!
    3 More Laws & More Complexity of the Law system also does not seem to resolve the issues in a more benevolent fashion
    4 The “Death Penalty” also does not seems to deter “Hardened Criminals”. Australian “Drug Runners” seem to confirm this issue adequately!

    In Australia, as in the USofA, we have a high level of unemployed people – especially juveniles – that have any or all of the following:

    1 Much Energy & Ample Drive,
    2 Good Education
    3 A Whole Life ahead of them
    4 No Money
    5 Disconnected from “A Dignified Future”
    6 They “Have NOT” as opposed to a layer of the population that HAS
    7 They DO NOT have a JOB and have LITTLE Opportunity to get one (EVER).
    8 Tony & Joe are/were attempting to withhold the DOLE for 6 month and thereby endangering their SURVIVAL. How would these kids survive, excercising the “Oldest Profession”???
    9 Forcing Seniors to work longer years thereby occupying the jobs which SHOULD be reserved for Juniors

    As the investigation by Helena Norberg proves that, before the Berlin wall came down, People in East Germany were the “Most Unhappy” in the world as they could receive TV Programs from West Germany and so were able to assess “What They Could NOT Have”. https://vimeo.com/63325892 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4r06_F2FIKM

    I personally have Much compassion for individuals in these situations. Sometime people suggest to me “If I would Like to be 40 years Younger” and my response, without hesitation, is NO: “I had it much easier than kids at the moment”.
    That whilst Tony & Joe– at every opportunity – devise methods to steal my “Entitlements” as a pensioner and thereby attempt to reduce my personal “Quality of Life”.

    I have some suggestions that – in my opinion, are worthwhile trying. Projects which have – to my knowledge - NOT been attempted in the either USofA or Australia. Unfortunately, they have NOT EVEN BEEN DISCUSSED!

    1 Stop exporting JOBS and heavily penalise (TAX) companies (based in Australia) who engage in such activities
    2 Re-Introduce “Trade Tariffs” which SHOULD stimulate the “Small Business” community to re-start Industrial Activity and generate MORE Jobs
    3 Stop Importing food as we are capable of “Growing ALL of our OWN”.
    4 Stop Selling our Land to foreigners in order to contain pricing
    5 Reduce/STOP the number of people who work for their 3rd TV and/or car or working to contribute to their “Investment Portfolio”
    6 Reduce/Cancel IMMIGRATION!!!
    7 TAX the FatCats at the appropriate rates !!!
    8 NO MORE MASSIVE TAX incentives/advantages for “High Earners”
    9 DO NOT borrow money from the International Bankers but FORCE the GOVT. to generate the required finance and inject this into the Australian Industry at ZERO % Interest as is a Requirement under the Australian Constitution!

    Whist there are many more suggestions, implementation of the above SHOULD Restructure our communities is such a way as to:

    1 Provide “Jobs Opportunities” for all juniors.
    2 Provide the opportunity for their “Dignified & Meaningful” future
    3 Provide opportunities for Creative Expression
    4 Have “Healthy Food” for all
    5 Have enough money for a now MUCH REDUCED “Social Security” bill
    6 Have a LARGE NUMBER of FATCAT CORPORATIONS
    7 Hopefully incarcerate fewer people – especially for relatively “Trivial Crimes”.

    After these methods are implemented, we should carefully observe the crime rate (Almost certainly tumbling) and ensure that those who keep committing crimes receive FIRM & APPROPRIATE Punishment for their antisocial behaviour(s).

    At the moment, the Australian (Global) economy is designed to benefit the FATCATS ONLY.

    I believe that, once the economy “Serves & Supports” ALL Australian People, we will automatically see CrimeRates drop as desired and live in a much “Happier & Safer” Society.

    Money can buy happiness: Michael Norton at TEDxCambridge 2011
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwGEQcFo9RE

    Just think about it – These measures WILL benefit YOUR KIDS & GRANDKIDS!!!!
    LET'S FIX THE REAL PROBLEMS FIRST !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    wally
    2nd Apr 2015
    5:48pm
    Hi Patriot, It is within the powers of Australia's parliaments to enact laws in the matters you raise about citizen's arrest issues and penalties. As usual, the parliamentarians try to go for a "quick fix, one size fits all solution" approach to law that winds up creating more problems than it is intended to solve. The result is a "lawyers' feeding frenzy" in attempts to sort out the fair and just interpretation and application of that particular law.
    In a perfect world, the law makers would spend enough time examining the proposed laws looking for flaws, Instead, our political system operates as two opposing ganga of rubber stamp wielding political hacks that let their party bosses tell them how to vote instead of engaging in any debate that might result in improved laws. If the pollies in the two major political parties are there to do the bidding of their "masters", then it is up to the independents to examine the proposed laws with an eye for spotting anything that might lead to an injustice being done. But does the conscientious independent have enough hours in the day to examine the ins and outs of every law that is proposed? I for one, doubt it.

    It's enough to make me start to think that our fellow poster Mick is on to something with his promoting the notion electing more independents to parliament!
    Patriot
    2nd Apr 2015
    6:20pm
    Wally,
    Wally, whilst I agree with most of what you're saying, the "truth of the Matter" is that WE (collectively) "have been asleep at the Wheel".
    The MUTINY occurred on OUR WATCH and we did NOT CORRECT IT!!!
    WE were supposed to excercise vigilance to ensure that our Elected Reps (now turned Criminals) would REPRESENT US and enact legislation and actions that PRESERVED THE FREEDOM OF AUSTRALIANS - NOW & FOREVER!!!!!
    WE must NOW take the - obviously - unpopular actions and ENFORCE THE AUSTRALIAN CONSTITUTION IN ITS ORIGINAL FORM before it was (APPARENTLY) CHANGED WITHOUT OUR CONSENT AND WITHOUT A REFERENDUM AS IS REQUIRED!!!!!

    So, Let's get to it & KEEP THE BA****DS HONEST - - - - FINALLY!!!!!!
    let's restore freedom in australia!!!
    wally
    5th Apr 2015
    10:37am
    Pat, Are you suggesting that the peasants should gather up their pitchforks, scythes and other farm implements to storm Parliament House with their torches and attack the pollies?

    Well it works in the old black and white monster movies, at any rate! :)
    Patriot
    5th Apr 2015
    10:59am
    Wally,
    If we're not, we might as well:
    1 Stretch out our arms in front of us
    2 Put feet close together
    3 Move wrists close together
    4 Listen for the "Clicking" when the "handcuffs" & "Ball & Chain" are fitted securely around Wrists & Ankles
    5 ENJOY ! ! ! ! ! ! ! we ""Gutless Wonders" deserve ALL of IT ! ! ! ! !
    Mak
    2nd Apr 2015
    6:24pm
    A great post Patriot, many will agree with your comments, unfortunately the numbskulls in authority and 'bent wire greens and Greens' will continue with their 'rose-coloured glasses' view on life, because the 'floor of the building' where the cauldron of criminals, injustice and ne'er-do-well people are situated is below them, and they falsely believe if it isn't happening on their floor it won't affect them.
    Paulodapotter
    3rd Apr 2015
    11:05pm
    I simply love your broad sweeping statements, Mak.
    Reeper
    2nd Apr 2015
    10:10pm
    First of all the figures quoted in regard to young Indigenous offenders if is furphy; the percentage of Indigenous Australians per capita isn't the comparison figure, it should have been a percentage of who commits the offences.

    Australia has a soft judicial system which flip-flops all over the place. For example, a young man was just fined $5000 for running onto a cricket pitch to embrace a player after winning a final. Now I concur that the safety of players is paramount and this sort of behaviour unacceptable, but $5000??? People have been convicted of culpable driving whilst under the influence and their total punishment has been a driving ban and a 'stern warning'

    I am torn over the death penalty, but I can see a need for extreme punishment for extreme crime. LIfe for a life...I don't know, but a natural life sentence for sure. Jail is all about rehabilitation with little in the way of punishment. Jail must be harsh, disciplined and not somewhere where anyone would want to go a second time.

    Punishment must fit the crime and at least a third of all sentences must be hard punishment. No 'second chances' for the thugs and villians walking our streets with impunity. They must be aware that jail will cut them off from family, no televisions, no movies, limited mail and strict compliance with discipline. I am sick and tired of bleeding hearts having their way and criminal filth walking the streets after a tut tut from an out of touch judiciary....
    Paulodapotter
    3rd Apr 2015
    11:03pm
    Pity you have no research background Reeper, or you would know that harsh conditions for crims who are destined for release back into the community means they will reoffend and usually with more anger, frustration and hate for society. Think of a crim as a dog. Treat it cruelly and it will bite. The rest is simply revenge - eye for an eye and all that. Capital punishment simply turns us all into murderers.
    I can't help but agree with you, that there is no consistency in sentencing, but every crime, even if it is the same type, always has different contexts and therefore sentencing will always be inconsistent. The only method of providing consistency is mandatory sentencing and that is the most unjust system of all.
    Of course there must be no second chance if there is any evidence that the crim will reoffend. Sadly, there is no way of being absolutely sure one way or another. We live in an imperfect society due mainly to the fact it's made up of people like you and me.
    Pass the Ductape
    4th Apr 2015
    7:47am
    The whole penal system needs a complete overhaul. There are those in prison who should not be there simply because the circumstances of their crimes will never occur again and they have acted out of character and impulse at this particular time. Whilst there needs to be some kind of punishment, prison is not necessarily the answer for them. There needs to be a different system for those who find themselves in this predicament.

    However, there are those - including some of the three strikers that in discussion here - who should be in jail and there are also many who should have the key literally thrown away.

    Money is the biggest issue here, as well as votes: the object of the exercise is to balance the two!
    Radish
    4th Apr 2015
    1:30pm
    I have always believed we should come down hard on first offenders...not wait until they are beyond redemption.
    Abby
    6th Apr 2015
    1:04pm
    You might have something in that Radish
    Blossom
    5th Apr 2015
    12:19am
    Better to have mininum sentences that Maximum -with maxinum criminals who often get only a fraction of the punishment they should then, the sentence reduced to a fraction yet again with parole // or worse still suspended. Hours of Police time, and court time, sometimes jury as well - for what - a smack on the wrist. Considering the fact that jury members for the month sometimes have to make a phone call on several occasions to check whether they are required or not, have to find somebody to mind their children - including babies being breastfed. Some don't have relatives who can mind their children and there are always waiting lists for childcare - in many cases several months at least. I know one Mum who put her name on waiting lists as soon as she knew she was pregnant.
    Young Simmo
    5th Apr 2015
    12:31am
    Blossom, the way I see it is our Judges and Magistrates and Parole boards are all on another planet. One day somebody gets 5 years and out in 2 or 3 years for a one punch killing. The next day somebody gets 2 years for shaking his fist at a politician. Then people who have raped and bashed several people are let out early because their lawyer is slightly smarter than the idiots on the Parole Board.
    A simple solution to all this Malfunctioning, is do what the Yanks did a 100 years ago,,,,,Vigilantes.
    Or another way is to publish the home addresses of the Judges and Magistrates.
    AquarianIdealist
    5th Apr 2015
    7:43pm
    Mr Blagg and Mr Welch, A word in your ear, In case you haven't realized, people go to prison because they choose to. Don't commit the crime and you won't do the time. I believe that until we can come up with a better solution, prison is the only solution. I also agree with mandatory detention as it keeps these people out of circulation. Remember Priority one is the protection of the innocent, the rights of criminals must come second. Spend your time working on a better option, until then keep your opinions to yourself.
    Chris B T
    6th Apr 2015
    9:47am
    The pyshical and violent crime should be treated harsher than petty crime, regardless of where and who committed the crime.
    Try mandatory Bail, at a high enough level to be a real deterrent. The marginalize don,t have anything of value so there released on a good behaviour bond. Until there caught again. Sad to say these people are almost unable to be rehabilitated. Incarceration is a three meals a bed and washing facilities. Social gathering for some.
    Hardly a deterrent, when you have more than what you already have.
    White collar crime by the educated and more well off are treated less harshly then the marginalized. There crimes can be more far reaching and devious then of petty criminals.
    Yet truth in sentencing rarely applies. (sorry you got caught applies)
    Fair and just system is but a dream, same as equality.
    AquarianIdealist
    7th Apr 2015
    8:52am
    Our judicial system is in disarray, I believe, due to the judges belief that if a person is convicted and incarcerated for long periods there wouldn't be a need for so many lawyers
    ( criminals would be of the street). Also sentencing should not be influenced by the availability of prison space.
    AquarianIdealist
    7th Apr 2015
    10:06am
    Mark my words. To all the judges, lawyers, do gooders and politicians, deal with it, without your hidden agendas, ultirior motives etc before it is too late. Regardless of the system in place rehab should be a first option and if that fails then all considerations of the convicted must take second place to the safety and well being of the public regardless of cost.
    Not Senile Yet!
    8th Apr 2015
    3:02am
    Any Party or Parliament ...be it state or federal.....that just wants to copy duded policies of the Good Old USA.....are not acting in the interests of the Population or this Great Country.....but in the vested interests of the Party itself and their greedy members/investors/corrupted corporates...after more and more!!!
    Greed & Power is Good is an American driven social dilemma ....not Australian!!!
    Currently our Government is willing to pay $100 a day to house & Feed Prisoners.....that's $700 a week.... but is screwing the pensioner to save money!!!!
    To save money because they cannot balance the budget!!!
    Labor overspends & the Liberal underspend....neither actually Balances the Budget.....which is what BOTH are supposed to do!
    $100 a day for someone who breaks all the rules and pay no taxes!!!
    Work for 50 years and pay all your taxes and they penalise/screw you over on receiving a Pension in your old age!!!
    The 3 strikes and your out rule of law has failed everywhere it has been applied......it is a copycat of failed USA Law!
    Most Australian Prisons are run by USA Contract firms...not Ozzie Firms.....why???
    Our Laws are adequate....it is our education about the Law and it's requirements that are inadequate.....the old rule of ignorance is not an excuse is out- dated and medieval to say the least!
    Their are no classes in Law at Primary or Secondary Level....and certainly non that are Mandatory!
    Just as there are none on the Politics of Parliament and how our system works!!!
    The tried and tired system of Punishment Alone has failed for over 100 years!!! Not just here but elsewhere as well!!!
    Time for the Nation to take the Lead and be creative with our Justice System.... Put in place a Reward System for the Law Obeying Citizen...not just a penalty of Fines & more Fines!!!!
    Judges & Lawyers should be made to visit the Jails they fill once every 3 Months for a full day...just so they keep in touch with the reality of what they are doing!!!
    But it is not a good thing that basic Law is not compulsory in school to show how to be a good citizen and why other's rights are equal to yours!!!!
    Time to sharpen the pencil on our basic education programs if you want to reduce crime in the future!


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