Posted by: Grant | December 17, 2014

Off Topic – Sydney Siege Lessons.

imagesEG2NFEN0The Lindt Cafe siege in downtown Sydney was caused by a desperate nutter who should not have been given bail.

The question is why? The answer is our jails are unnecessarily overcrowded.

I frequently attend Court here in Queensland as an observer and I am dismayed to see how many ordinary citizens we are putting through the Courts system. All Court Houses here have a special Court set up where hapless citizens on trivial offences are pumped through like a sausage factory.

Most are compliant and chastened, but the penalties issued to them all have to be backed up with a penal sanction and the sheer volume being put through the courts results in more and more of the hapless, the incompetent, the inept, the retarded and the hopelessly addicted, being incarcerated.

Drugs.
I am not a bleeding heart “liberal” – I support the Bikie laws – but I do not think that declared addicts should be prosecuted for possession. Addicts should be prescribed maintenance doses to prevent crime.
 
Driving laws.
These are too harsh and enforcement needs to be wound right back.
Our per-capita Road Toll, compared to other similar developed countries, was never too high. We have paid a huge penalty for reducing it from a trivial few deaths to an even more trivial few deaths per capita.
Removing thousands upon thousands from the roadways for extended periods imposes huge costs and frequently turns them from productive citizens to an unproductive burden.
Driving bans should allow people to still function as productive citizens.
The widespread introduction of alcohol interlocks would go a long way to reducing the prison population.

We need to bring back the accident.
To err is human. Seeking revenge for road accidents is regressive and primitive.

Penalties for pleading not guilty.
Refusing to fund not-guilty pleas and threatening higher sentences for challenging police evidence are a false economy. This leads to more convictions, more serious convictions and sloppy, aggressive police work. Police funding and career paths are heavily rewarded by conviction rates so they pick the easy targets.

Law and Order.
State governments, responding to the pop media, (“there outta be a law against it”), sit and pass law after law with absolutely no consideration of the costs of enforcing it. For every new law that they pass they should be made to repeal or wind back penalties for an old one.

Current riots and protests in the USA are not actually caused by race. They are caused by political “Law and Order” crusades by elected public officials.
Their prisons are full of the hapless, incompetent, inept, retarded and hopelessly addicted and most of them are black or latinos.
Their prison population has ballooned out to the largest in the world. 
This lock-em-up regime does not protect them, however.
It merely creates a brutalised, desperate, underclass who are released periodically to roam their cities, trying to survive or who cluster in gangs for protection.

There are powerful lessons there for us in Australia.

SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
Change jail mentality and there will be fewer offenders
Date July 28, 2014  http://www.smh.com.au/comment/change-jail-mentality-and-there-will-be-fewer-offenders-20140727-zxcq9.html
Eileen Baldry

“The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics, in a preliminary analysis, suggests that policing and sentencing practices have changed. Police are arresting more people, more of them are being convicted, and more offences are now attracting a prison sentence.

The reality is that the majority of people imprisoned haven’t committed high-end crimes. They are disproportionately poor. They are disproportionately indigenous. And they are disproportionately people with mental illness and cognitive impairment, many with low IQs….”

 

” …The US has long used its criminal justice system to deal with problems arising from poverty, lack of mental health services, unemployment and racial discrimination, and the results are staggering. It has the highest imprisonment rate in the world with more than 2 million people in prison, accounting for 25 per cent of the world’s prisoners.

The US began the ‘‘lock-em-up’’ policing and sentencing regime, that NSW has now embarked on, in the 1980s. Prisons and jails in many states grew exponentially, becoming the dumping ground for mainly young black and Latino men, largely from poor neighbourhoods with high unemployment and drug use.

In some US states more is spent on prisons than on education. And there is little in the way of rehabilitation or improved safety to show for it. Many states are pulling back from this over-imprisonment due to its cost and poor social outcomes”

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