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Build a prison and they will fill it!

John Hargreaves 13 April 2015 24

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A number of years ago, the US gained some infamy by having over one million people in its jails. I heard, in about 2002 or 2003 or thereabouts, that American Correction Services (ACS), built a 600-bed prison in California and then offered it to the State government for use in its prison system. The Californians were into private prisons at that stage.

Blatant case of if you build it, they will fill it.

Such was the fear in the ACT in the lead up to the emergence of a prison here. Many commented that if we had such a facility here, it would be filled quickly but denied by advisers to government (of both persuasions).

The judiciary said, oh no! We won’t take advantage of the new prison. The economic number crunchers said there will be a slow growth in offenders such that we will have spare capacity for many years. This resulted in the reduction in the number of beds at the AMC. Got that one wrong, eh?

Indeed, I thought at the time that we would have such spare capacity that we could take people from regional NSW, particularly female offenders to make up the critical mass required for successful restorative programs.

I did think that it was more important socially to accept and have responsibility for our own offenders than to send them to NSW jails. I had hoped that our more compassionate approach would pay dividends in the end. Indeed, anyone who has been into any one of the NSW prisons would not describe them as human rights compliant. We hoped that building one from scratch and not inheriting the prison culture from NSW would put us in good stead to assist in the restoration of our community, our victims, the families of perpetrators and the offenders themselves.

The thing is though, that prisons and remand institutions in particular, don’t have a major role in preventing crimes. Sure, they have a deterrent element, but mostly, crimes, particularly those of a white collar variety, domestic violence and sexual predation, and often drunken charged violence are not deterred by the prospect of imprisonment.

Also remember that remand is a precursor to a court appearance and not as a result of sentencing. These detainees are actually innocent until proven guilty at court.

So are the courts and police being overzealous or are they extremely effective in putting people behind bars at public expense?

The AMC is full, requiring the Band-Aid solution of Symonston, not because it is failing, but because the systems in place to lower the number of people being dragged before the courts are not working.

Some people call for more hard line attitudes to the granting of bail (and probably rightly, too), but they should not then blame the AMC for being overcrowded as a result.

I see the need to use the unsatisfactory Symonston solution as a failure in the prevention system more so than in the corrective services system. The corrective services system kicks in after an offence has occurred. Sure, it tries to address reoffending but remember that its initial role is after an offence has occurred.
As a reflection of community attitude, the judicial system, as opposed to the policing system, should have a role in advising the executive (read – Governments) of proactive opportunities to stop offences occurring in the first place and it is the job of the Executive to lead the community in preventive programs and initiatives to reduce the number of offences taking place.

The police are an arm of the executive, whether they like it or not and thus are part of that preventative strategy, or lack of it. But it is not the police’s fault that offences occur, rather the community’s propensity to harm itself which is at fault.

I applaud the anti-crime measures by the police and in fact, in relation to domestic violence, that also of The Canberra Times. The question remains. Why is it so that offences seem to be continuing to occur and seem to be increasing?

I don’t know the answer but I do know that the AMC is not responsible and should not be criticized because it is full. I also know that Symonston is definitely not the answer.

Maybe some of you do know the answer.


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Build a prison and they will fill it!
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John Hargreaves 2:18 pm 16 Apr 15

Girl_Friday said :

John Hargreaves said :

dungfungus said :

John Hargreaves said :

dungfungus said :

John Hargreaves said :

dungfungus said :

I would be interested to know how many are career repeat offenders.
Apparently drug addicts are comfortable about being there because the supply of drugs is assured.

Spoken like someone who hasn’t been inside the AMC nor has personal experience with the corrective services system. I respect that there has been some incidents, nasty ones no doubt, and experience with policing, but the comments about the AMC smack of ignorance and prejudice.

Ice is indeed a major issue here, but because of the low population here, with the attendant low number of incidents, the issue has not the media attention it has in the States.

The issue is preventing crime before an offence takes place. In this sense, the police and governments, along with NGOs and businesses, have a bit of work to do.

Spoken by someone who is skilled in not answering questions, an ex-politician perhaps?
How many are career repeat offenders?
How do drugs get into the AMC?

You really should get over the ex-politician thing, you know. It is unhealthy. As a retired old fella, I am not only an ex-pollie, I am an ex serviceman and an ex-public servant (30 years). Currently, I’m working pro bono for three community based activities. Happy now? let’s move on.

I am happy to move on, now that you have confirmed that the AMC is full of repeat offenders and the illegal drug supply into that institution is part of its mission statement.

I have said no such things and all in Canberra will know that. Such blinkered thinking smells of a bigotry and bias which is rather bogan like. It does you no credit. What is it about the corrective services system that has you so riled? Is it because you have a thing about people who are sent there? Is it about your own issues and the perceived injustices you have felt were perpetrated upon you?

When will you give credit to the successes of the system and render some thoughts on how it can be improved instead of sitting back like a refugee from a Muppets show complaining?

I raised the issue seeking some thoughts on going forward with the system and trying to draw upon the input of Riotact contributors. I did not write this as a temptation for those who wanted to gratify their innermost desires by attacking me personally.

I have had experience in this system from being its minister, being the shadow minister, visiting about 20 prisons, talking to organisations like Prisoners’ Aid and having people I know, and in some cases have an affection for, incarcerated in both NSW systems in Goulburn, Singleton and Junee and in the AMC. I am grateful on their behalf for the AMC because it changed their lives for the better, all of them, whereas the NSW system would only have hardened them.

I suspect your idealised view of the AMC is formed from an experience that is 3 or 4 years out of date, at a time when it was looking like fulfilling it’s promise. Far from saving people from the NSW system, it looks to have simply become a version of the NSW system.You need to get out more John, there are prisons across Australia doing great work in physical conditions that would appear draconian by ACT standards. For the coin that place is costing, only the most apathetic of communities wouldn’t seek answers.

You’re right in that I am a it out of date but please remember that I did name a few institutions interstate that were doing great things, for example the Women’s prison in Perth. It is amazing having been reborn from a draconian cement ridden rat hole to a calming place where people are saved. Check it out, if you can. I’ll put a link up in a minute.

I do seek answers and this is why I wrote about the issues confronting the AMC but again, we need to give credit to where it belongs. The Transitional facility is going great guns. the fact that the residents don’t have concrete everywhere, they can see the grass, the kangaroos and the sky. They can see the stars and the plans overhead. They don’t have razor wire everywhere they look and they are treated as human beings not just numbers.

If I am idealistic – guilty. If I am naïve, – I don’t think so – you can’t go and talk to the people I did who were murderers, drug traffickers, paedophiles and simple criminals without having some education.

BUT… thanks for all the contributions so far. It is nice to have a conversation on a subject which is often taboo.

Girl_Friday 1:07 pm 16 Apr 15

John Hargreaves said :

dungfungus said :

John Hargreaves said :

dungfungus said :

John Hargreaves said :

dungfungus said :

I would be interested to know how many are career repeat offenders.
Apparently drug addicts are comfortable about being there because the supply of drugs is assured.

Spoken like someone who hasn’t been inside the AMC nor has personal experience with the corrective services system. I respect that there has been some incidents, nasty ones no doubt, and experience with policing, but the comments about the AMC smack of ignorance and prejudice.

Ice is indeed a major issue here, but because of the low population here, with the attendant low number of incidents, the issue has not the media attention it has in the States.

The issue is preventing crime before an offence takes place. In this sense, the police and governments, along with NGOs and businesses, have a bit of work to do.

Spoken by someone who is skilled in not answering questions, an ex-politician perhaps?
How many are career repeat offenders?
How do drugs get into the AMC?

You really should get over the ex-politician thing, you know. It is unhealthy. As a retired old fella, I am not only an ex-pollie, I am an ex serviceman and an ex-public servant (30 years). Currently, I’m working pro bono for three community based activities. Happy now? let’s move on.

I am happy to move on, now that you have confirmed that the AMC is full of repeat offenders and the illegal drug supply into that institution is part of its mission statement.

I have said no such things and all in Canberra will know that. Such blinkered thinking smells of a bigotry and bias which is rather bogan like. It does you no credit. What is it about the corrective services system that has you so riled? Is it because you have a thing about people who are sent there? Is it about your own issues and the perceived injustices you have felt were perpetrated upon you?

When will you give credit to the successes of the system and render some thoughts on how it can be improved instead of sitting back like a refugee from a Muppets show complaining?

I raised the issue seeking some thoughts on going forward with the system and trying to draw upon the input of Riotact contributors. I did not write this as a temptation for those who wanted to gratify their innermost desires by attacking me personally.

I have had experience in this system from being its minister, being the shadow minister, visiting about 20 prisons, talking to organisations like Prisoners’ Aid and having people I know, and in some cases have an affection for, incarcerated in both NSW systems in Goulburn, Singleton and Junee and in the AMC. I am grateful on their behalf for the AMC because it changed their lives for the better, all of them, whereas the NSW system would only have hardened them.

I suspect your idealised view of the AMC is formed from an experience that is 3 or 4 years out of date, at a time when it was looking like fulfilling it’s promise. Far from saving people from the NSW system, it looks to have simply become a version of the NSW system.You need to get out more John, there are prisons across Australia doing great work in physical conditions that would appear draconian by ACT standards. For the coin that place is costing, only the most apathetic of communities wouldn’t seek answers.

John Hargreaves 11:05 am 16 Apr 15

dungfungus said :

John Hargreaves said :

dungfungus said :

John Hargreaves said :

dungfungus said :

I would be interested to know how many are career repeat offenders.
Apparently drug addicts are comfortable about being there because the supply of drugs is assured.

Spoken like someone who hasn’t been inside the AMC nor has personal experience with the corrective services system. I respect that there has been some incidents, nasty ones no doubt, and experience with policing, but the comments about the AMC smack of ignorance and prejudice.

Ice is indeed a major issue here, but because of the low population here, with the attendant low number of incidents, the issue has not the media attention it has in the States.

The issue is preventing crime before an offence takes place. In this sense, the police and governments, along with NGOs and businesses, have a bit of work to do.

Spoken by someone who is skilled in not answering questions, an ex-politician perhaps?
How many are career repeat offenders?
How do drugs get into the AMC?

You really should get over the ex-politician thing, you know. It is unhealthy. As a retired old fella, I am not only an ex-pollie, I am an ex serviceman and an ex-public servant (30 years). Currently, I’m working pro bono for three community based activities. Happy now? let’s move on.

I am happy to move on, now that you have confirmed that the AMC is full of repeat offenders and the illegal drug supply into that institution is part of its mission statement.

I have said no such things and all in Canberra will know that. Such blinkered thinking smells of a bigotry and bias which is rather bogan like. It does you no credit. What is it about the corrective services system that has you so riled? Is it because you have a thing about people who are sent there? Is it about your own issues and the perceived injustices you have felt were perpetrated upon you?

When will you give credit to the successes of the system and render some thoughts on how it can be improved instead of sitting back like a refugee from a Muppets show complaining?

I raised the issue seeking some thoughts on going forward with the system and trying to draw upon the input of Riotact contributors. I did not write this as a temptation for those who wanted to gratify their innermost desires by attacking me personally.

I have had experience in this system from being its minister, being the shadow minister, visiting about 20 prisons, talking to organisations like Prisoners’ Aid and having people I know, and in some cases have an affection for, incarcerated in both NSW systems in Goulburn, Singleton and Junee and in the AMC. I am grateful on their behalf for the AMC because it changed their lives for the better, all of them, whereas the NSW system would only have hardened them.

Testfest 12:33 pm 15 Apr 15

carpediem said :

Having had some first hand experience I can tell you that the ice epidemic is as big a problem in Canberra as everywhere else. It’s like Evilomlap said it is cheap and very easily available to anyone.

What first hand experience is this? What makes you think it’s an epidemic rather than just an isolated case?

I’m not trying to have a go at you here, I am genuinely curious as to the extent of the problem of ice usage here in Canberra. I had a quick search on the ACT Police media releases and got these results:

Alcohol – 549 results
Heroin – 68 results
Ecstasy – 63 results
Marijuana – 3 results
Cocaine – 38 results
Amphetamine – 47 results
Ice – 46 results (but at least 10 of them refer to that cold slippery stuff we get in winter, ice cream or ice hockey)

If ice has become so widespread and easily attainable in Canberra, why haven’t the police been busting the manufacturers / dealers? Do we need to be hitting the panic button here?

tooltime 12:15 pm 15 Apr 15

Ice – that is it, that is all. It’s not the drug taking per se, it’s the violence & spitting on the nurses, ambos, coppers, hospital staff and any other poor bastard who has the misfortune to deal with these miscreants when having a psychotic episode bought on by ice use that’s the problem. Then it’s multiple assault charges. The public conversation needs to pay attention these forgotten victims, the real heroes in our society, not the freakin drug user…

carpediem 11:28 am 15 Apr 15

I don’t think Canberra has the same problems with Ice that other parts of Australia are experiencing. Not yet, anyway.

Having had some first hand experience I can tell you that the ice epidemic is as big a problem in Canberra as everywhere else. It’s like Evilomlap said it is cheap and very easily available to anyone.

dungfungus 11:26 am 15 Apr 15

John Hargreaves said :

dungfungus said :

John Hargreaves said :

dungfungus said :

I would be interested to know how many are career repeat offenders.
Apparently drug addicts are comfortable about being there because the supply of drugs is assured.

Spoken like someone who hasn’t been inside the AMC nor has personal experience with the corrective services system. I respect that there has been some incidents, nasty ones no doubt, and experience with policing, but the comments about the AMC smack of ignorance and prejudice.

Ice is indeed a major issue here, but because of the low population here, with the attendant low number of incidents, the issue has not the media attention it has in the States.

The issue is preventing crime before an offence takes place. In this sense, the police and governments, along with NGOs and businesses, have a bit of work to do.

Spoken by someone who is skilled in not answering questions, an ex-politician perhaps?
How many are career repeat offenders?
How do drugs get into the AMC?

You really should get over the ex-politician thing, you know. It is unhealthy. As a retired old fella, I am not only an ex-pollie, I am an ex serviceman and an ex-public servant (30 years). Currently, I’m working pro bono for three community based activities. Happy now? let’s move on.

I am happy to move on, now that you have confirmed that the AMC is full of repeat offenders and the illegal drug supply into that institution is part of its mission statement.

justin heywood 11:05 am 15 Apr 15

John Hargreaves said :

….You really should get over the ex-politician thing, you know. It is unhealthy. As a retired old fella, I am not only an ex-pollie, I am an ex serviceman and an ex-public servant (30 years). Currently, I’m working pro bono for three community based activities. Happy now? let’s move on.

Oh come on John, you can’t have it both ways. This whole post – indeed most of the posts you write – is written in your persona as an ex-pollie. In this case it a defence the AMC, with which you were heavily involved as a politician.

You cannot, by inference, take credit for any perceived accomplishments during your political career (as you have in other posts) and then run away from sticky questions with an ‘I’m just a humble citizen’ defence.

The politicians who have genuinely ‘moved on’ from their political persona have generally dispensed with the ludicrous notion that their team is always right, the other team are idiots and/or evil, and if any mistakes were made, it was someone else’s fault. Look at Martin Ferguson, the great Peter Walsh, Malcolm Fraser; all men who used their freedom as ex-pollies to apply genuine criticism where they thought it was due.

To continue to defend your actions as a politician, admit no mistakes and bash your political opponents does not, to me, indicate that you yourself have ‘moved on’ at all.

John Hargreaves 10:11 am 15 Apr 15

Girl_Friday said :

The issue is preventing crime before an offence takes place. In this sense, the police and governments, along with NGOs and businesses, have a bit of work to do.

On this point I would have to agree with you John, but to absolve the AMC of a role in reducing crime is laughable. They are called ‘Corrective Services’ not ‘Recycling Services’ for a reason.

I do agree with you but make the point that being critical of the AMC in isolation is unfair. They cop the results of failure in prevention. They do have a role in restoration and there is a long way to go before one can say things are fine but they are a hell of a lot better than interstate experiences I have seen.

Career crims are and should be dealt with differently than those for whom a mistake has landed them in prison, or for whom prison is the result of a one-off act of violence or theft. These people are targets for behavioural change.

I do not defend the career crims like Massey but I do defend those whose sentence is less than 12 months and who can turn their lives around with help and compassion.

But it would be nice if they weren’t there in the first place.

Summing up, critics of the AMC ought to have a more holistic look at the problem.

John Hargreaves 10:06 am 15 Apr 15

dungfungus said :

John Hargreaves said :

dungfungus said :

I would be interested to know how many are career repeat offenders.
Apparently drug addicts are comfortable about being there because the supply of drugs is assured.

Spoken like someone who hasn’t been inside the AMC nor has personal experience with the corrective services system. I respect that there has been some incidents, nasty ones no doubt, and experience with policing, but the comments about the AMC smack of ignorance and prejudice.

Ice is indeed a major issue here, but because of the low population here, with the attendant low number of incidents, the issue has not the media attention it has in the States.

The issue is preventing crime before an offence takes place. In this sense, the police and governments, along with NGOs and businesses, have a bit of work to do.

Spoken by someone who is skilled in not answering questions, an ex-politician perhaps?
How many are career repeat offenders?
How do drugs get into the AMC?

You really should get over the ex-politician thing, you know. It is unhealthy. As a retired old fella, I am not only an ex-pollie, I am an ex serviceman and an ex-public servant (30 years). Currently, I’m working pro bono for three community based activities. Happy now? let’s move on.

Bennop 9:10 am 15 Apr 15

wildturkeycanoe said :

“Why is it so that offences seem to be continuing to occur and seem to be increasing?”
It is primarily the demise of our society through the teachings via media, television and the internet that we as individuals are vastly more important and more self-entitled than everybody else.
I blame “human rights” for one, who comes to the aid of any criminal that is incarcerated but leaves the victim helpless. Secondly, the judicial system and lawyers who take the “It was my poor childhood that caused me to do bad things” as valid excuse for doing any crimes, letting perpetrators get away with callous deeds purely on buck-passing and even getting them all the free counseling they can endure, again leaving victims out in the dark and terrified. Of course there are all the sexually perverted and murder crimes that have motivations I will never understand, but how much of that do you see on the news every night. Surely the fantasizing of such deeds has to have an impact on the minds of our children and teenagers before they reach the maturity to understand the wrongs and rights involved.
People don’t have any respect for each other any more, it’s all about looking out for one’s self. Also, as times get tougher and money harder to come by, inevitably people will resort to crime simply to survive. Even good, law abiding citizens will start to contemplate crime in order to feed their family when there is no welfare system to fall back on. Hunger, need for shelter and a warm bed, these are survival needs. If denied them, man will eventually turn to survival instincts to get them.

If your theory was correct then we would surely see a significant increase in the rate of crime over the last 20 years. This is not the case, and in fact crime in general has reduced or sgenerally remained the same.

Such sentiments come straight out of ancient Roman times “The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers”

Can’t we do better in the year 2015?

wildturkeycanoe 8:16 am 15 Apr 15

“Why is it so that offences seem to be continuing to occur and seem to be increasing?”
It is primarily the demise of our society through the teachings via media, television and the internet that we as individuals are vastly more important and more self-entitled than everybody else.
I blame “human rights” for one, who comes to the aid of any criminal that is incarcerated but leaves the victim helpless. Secondly, the judicial system and lawyers who take the “It was my poor childhood that caused me to do bad things” as valid excuse for doing any crimes, letting perpetrators get away with callous deeds purely on buck-passing and even getting them all the free counseling they can endure, again leaving victims out in the dark and terrified. Of course there are all the sexually perverted and murder crimes that have motivations I will never understand, but how much of that do you see on the news every night. Surely the fantasizing of such deeds has to have an impact on the minds of our children and teenagers before they reach the maturity to understand the wrongs and rights involved.
People don’t have any respect for each other any more, it’s all about looking out for one’s self. Also, as times get tougher and money harder to come by, inevitably people will resort to crime simply to survive. Even good, law abiding citizens will start to contemplate crime in order to feed their family when there is no welfare system to fall back on. Hunger, need for shelter and a warm bed, these are survival needs. If denied them, man will eventually turn to survival instincts to get them.

rubaiyat 10:19 pm 14 Apr 15

dungfungus said :

Girl_Friday said :

The issue is preventing crime before an offence takes place. In this sense, the police and governments, along with NGOs and businesses, have a bit of work to do.

On this point I would have to agree with you John, but to absolve the AMC of a role in reducing crime is laughable. They are called ‘Corrective Services’ not ‘Recycling Services’ for a reason.

That’s the same logic used to call the Mugga Lane garbage dump a “Resource Centre”.

Shouldn’t that be “Mugga Lane garbage dump Precinct”? 😮

dungfungus 3:31 pm 14 Apr 15

Girl_Friday said :

The issue is preventing crime before an offence takes place. In this sense, the police and governments, along with NGOs and businesses, have a bit of work to do.

On this point I would have to agree with you John, but to absolve the AMC of a role in reducing crime is laughable. They are called ‘Corrective Services’ not ‘Recycling Services’ for a reason.

That’s the same logic used to call the Mugga Lane garbage dump a “Resource Centre”.

Girl_Friday 2:35 pm 14 Apr 15

The issue is preventing crime before an offence takes place. In this sense, the police and governments, along with NGOs and businesses, have a bit of work to do.

On this point I would have to agree with you John, but to absolve the AMC of a role in reducing crime is laughable. They are called ‘Corrective Services’ not ‘Recycling Services’ for a reason.

dungfungus 12:21 pm 14 Apr 15

John Hargreaves said :

dungfungus said :

I would be interested to know how many are career repeat offenders.
Apparently drug addicts are comfortable about being there because the supply of drugs is assured.

Spoken like someone who hasn’t been inside the AMC nor has personal experience with the corrective services system. I respect that there has been some incidents, nasty ones no doubt, and experience with policing, but the comments about the AMC smack of ignorance and prejudice.

Ice is indeed a major issue here, but because of the low population here, with the attendant low number of incidents, the issue has not the media attention it has in the States.

The issue is preventing crime before an offence takes place. In this sense, the police and governments, along with NGOs and businesses, have a bit of work to do.

Spoken by someone who is skilled in not answering questions, an ex-politician perhaps?
How many are career repeat offenders?
How do drugs get into the AMC?

Testfest 11:09 am 14 Apr 15

dungfungus said :

I assume the stats. you are quoting are “reported” incidents?

Yes. I’m pretty confident the cops don’t keep stats on unreported incidents…

I do hope that you are the only one who has given up on reporting crimes, otherwise the police will not have an accurate picture of what types of incidents are occurring, and the frequency of them. This means they will be unable to assign resources effectively to address the situation, or ask for extra funding for targeted operations if need be.

I know it can be a pain reporting minor incidents and there are cops who will try to steer you away from doing it (as the paperwork involved is horrendous), but if you want to accurately measure the levels of crime then making an official report is the only way.

dungfungus said :

I wouldn’t put much faith in the suggestion that crime is abating in Canberra.

Why not? I have at least *some* evidence to back up that position…

rubaiyat 10:47 am 14 Apr 15

John Hargreaves said :

The issue is preventing crime before an offence takes place. In this sense, the police and governments, along with NGOs and businesses, have a bit of work to do.

And how do you propose to do that without Tom Cruise and the officers of PreCrime’s excellent but fictional involvement?

John Hargreaves 10:36 am 14 Apr 15

dungfungus said :

I would be interested to know how many are career repeat offenders.
Apparently drug addicts are comfortable about being there because the supply of drugs is assured.

Spoken like someone who hasn’t been inside the AMC nor has personal experience with the corrective services system. I respect that there has been some incidents, nasty ones no doubt, and experience with policing, but the comments about the AMC smack of ignorance and prejudice.

Ice is indeed a major issue here, but because of the low population here, with the attendant low number of incidents, the issue has not the media attention it has in the States.

The issue is preventing crime before an offence takes place. In this sense, the police and governments, along with NGOs and businesses, have a bit of work to do.

rubaiyat 8:51 am 14 Apr 15

Actually it is over 2 and a quarter million people in prison in the U.S.A. with almost 5 million on probation or parole at any one time. The vast majority of whom are black or Latino. In fact you can almost hold up a skin tone chart to determine the eligibility of an American for a prison sentence and the harshness of the prison they get sent to.

The vicious prison system in the U.S.A. was part of the Jim Crow laws which replaced slavery with a form of judicial slavery snaring mostly black Americans for minor crimes or just on a local sheriff’s say so and putting them on work gangs for the benefit of the State or local businesses. These days the system got a revamp, with huge amounts of government money sucked up by private companies building and running the prisons. Companies which now operate in Australia.

That aside, society does need to take some people and lock them up where they can do less harm. Hopes of reform are mostly just that. Everyone will have met people who are, more or less, totally self-centred and see the world as a dog eat dog regime, with them as top dog. We concentrate on detaining the most violent or blatant of these but are not so good at doing something about the more subtle white collar criminals who seem to have the sympathy of both politicians and the judiciary who sometimes benefit from them.

We learn about the “Well Known Sydney Businessmen” and politicians like “Sir” Robin Askin after their deaths when the laws cease to protect them. Nobody got sentenced over the Wollongong developer/planner corruption scandals and it looks the Eddie Obeid “investigation” is going to go on forever. Even where they finally get jailed like Alan Bond, it just seems like a minor slap on the hand for a very lucrative return, often in gentlemen’s resort prisons like Bernie Madoff was sentenced to or Jordan Belfort, the Wolf of Wall Street. Famously no-one responsible for the GFC ever went to prison.

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