Sydney Institute of Criminology
CrimNet is an electronic criminal justice information network, sponsored by the Sydney Institute of Criminology. It aims to fulfil the need for a means of regular and instant communication between criminal justice professionals, practitioners, academics and students in Australia and overseas.
ABC's Four Corners program reveals disturbing treatment of young boys in detention
The Northern Territory's juvenile justice system, particularly the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre near Darwin, attracted international attention this week following an episode of Four Corners which exposed footage of children incarcerated there being tear-gassed at close range, held in solitary confinement for weeks, physically attacked or threatened by staff, forcibly stripped, and mechanically restrained. These disturbing videos, along with the striking image of 17-year old boy Dylan Voller hooded and bound to a restraint chair, sparked outrage across the country, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announcing a Royal Commission into the abuses the very next day after the episode aired. The UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein has also expressed concern that the treatment of the boys could violate the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention Against Torture, both of which Australia is a party to.

Although the episode focused on the Northern Territory, where youth are incarcerated at triple the rate of other states, the following discussion has been national. Much of the community outrage following this program was to do with the lack of action following previous investigations that had already been carried out into this centre's management of young people. Following the investigation of this program, however, NT Corrections Minister John Elferink was almost almost immediately sacked. The program also inspired discussion around the necessity of incarceration, the use of CCTV, rates of Indigenous incarceration, and whether the extreme measures displayed in the videos can be defined as torture. Some have used the spotlight to also draw attention to poor treatment of young people in detention in other states. Concerns have also been raised about the promise of a Royal Commission, with its effectiveness being especially doubted given that since the Royal Commission Into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody in 1991, rates of Indigenous incarceration have worsened rather than improved. Indigenous journalist Stan Grant, in a passionate speech given at UNSW, called for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to fully expose the disadvantages and abuses experienced by Indigenous people in Australia.

Dylan Voller, who was featured in the viral image of the hooded boy in a restraint chair, has also taken the time to thank the community for their support through a letter given to his lawyers. He remains in custody.

The episode, entitled "Australia's Shame", can be viewed online here.
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Recent Publications
NSW Criminal Courts Statistics 2015
More people are appearing in NSW criminal courts despite falling crime rates and this is causing delays in the time taken to finalise criminal court cases and increases in the NSW prison population, according to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) annual Criminal Courts Report. BOCSAR’s report covers the five year period between 2011 and 2015. NSW criminal courts finalised charges against 131,226 defendants in 2015. That is 3,841 more defendants than were dealt with by the criminal courts back in 2011. The number of persons appearing the Local Court in 2015 was more than 5,000 higher than in 2011.The number appearing in the District Court in 2015 was nearly 500 more than it dealt with in 2011.

The total growth in persons facing criminal charges would have been even higher but for the fact that the NSW Children’s Court experienced a substantial fall in workload. The total number of young people appearing in the NSW Children’s Court fell by 21 per cent between 2011 and 2015.

The growth in arrests has resulted in more defendants being refused bail and more being sentenced to prison. The percentage refused bail increased only slightly (up 2.11 percentage points) but the increase in the number of people charged with serious criminal offences caused the number refused bail to increase substantially (up 35.9%; from 8,365 in 2011 to 11,368 in 2015).

The percentage of convicted offenders imprisoned increased only slightly (up 2.09 percentage points) but, as with bail, the growth in the number of persons appearing in court on criminal charges caused the number of persons sentenced to prison to rise substantially (up 33%; from 8,853 in 2011 to 11,771 in 2015).

The offences showing the largest increases in the NSW criminal courts were illicit drug offences (up 46.8%, from 18,646 in 2011 to 27,373 in 2015); offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations (up 41.9%, from 44,551 in 2011 to 63,223 in 2015); abduction, harassment and other offences against the person (up 35.9%, from 2,498 in 2011 to 3,396 in 2015 and  sexual assault and related offences (up 28.8%, from 4,395 in 2011 to 5,661 in 2015).

A full copy of the report can be found here.
NSW Custody Statistics: Quarterly Update June 2016
The NSW adult prison population grew by 6.5 per cent between July 2015 and June 2016, reaching 12,550 in June this year. This brings the total increase in the NSW adult prison population over the last two years to 21 per cent.

The increase is attributable to a growth in prisoners on remand (i.e. unconvicted prisoners awaiting trial or sentence). Between July 2015 and June 2016 the number of adult prisoners on remand grew by 14.8 per cent (from 3,633 to 4,170). Over the same period, the number of sentenced prisoners rose by 2.8 per cent (from 8,148 to 8,380).

Over the last 12 months, the number of remand prisoners received into custody grew by 6.1 per cent. The average length of stay by prisoners leaving remand during the first quarter of this year was 47 days. In the last quarter this increased to 55.2 days.

Receptions of sentenced prisoners actually fell by 12.4 per cent over the 12 months to June 2016. However the average length of stay by prisoners leaving sentenced custody increased from 193.7 days in the first quarter of 2016 to 235.7 days in the second quarter.

The periods spent in custody by sentenced prisoners leaving custody that began their custodial episode as remand prisoners have also increased. The average time in custody for this group during the first quarter of 2016 was 409.1 days. In the most recent quarter this increased to 421.3 days. 

Commenting on the findings, the Director of the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) said that BOCSAR expected further growth in the prisoner population over at least the next eight months. “Our current forecast is that the prison population will reach just under 13,500 in early 2017.”

The full report can be found here.
Tackling Correctional Corruption
By Andrew Goldsmith, Mark Halsey and Andrew Groves

Corruption is a problem in prisons about which we hear very little, except when there is an escape from custody or other scandal that makes the media. The closed nature of correctional institutions has made the activities that go on within them less visible to the outside world. While some persons might be inclined to dismiss correctional corruption as an issue, this view ignores the scale of criminality and misconduct that can go on in prison and the impact it can have upon not just the good order of the prison or the rights of prisoners but on the prospects for successful reintegration of ex-prisoners into society.

This book is the first to examine the phenomenon in any detail or to suggest what might be done to reduce its incidence and the harms that can arise from it. Andrew Goldsmith, Mark Halsey and Andrew Groves argue that it is not enough to tackle corruption alone. Rather there should be a broader attempt to promote what the authors call ‘correctional integrity’.

The book can be purchased here.
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Upcoming Events
Free Seminar: Pharmacotherapies and Crime: the impact of drugs on offending behaviour
Date: 9 August 2016, 6:00-8:00pm
Location: University of Sydney, NSW

This seminar brings together a number of experts to discuss the emerging evidence around pharmacological interventions and their impact on offending behaviour and recidivism.

How might drug treatments such as Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and anti-androgens interact with the criminal justice system? Do treatments like these mandate difficult actions on offenders, or do they enhance justice outcomes? How are they comparable to other well established treatments, such as opioid substitution therapies or cognitive behavioural therapy? And how do medical treatments engage with behavioural questions around offending? Are the side effects of such interventions mitigated by justice outcomes? What is the scope for coercive drug treatment? Criminal justice practice and historical theoretical thinking have long debated the biological aspects of offending and treatment.

This seminar will explore the evidence base for use of certain drugs and their individual impact on offending, including the critical ethical, moral and legal dimensions of their use.

Please join us for this first seminar of the 50th Anniversary 2016-2017 Corrective Services NSW Beyond Punishment seminar series, examining the possible futures of offender treatment.

Speakers include:Professor Tony Butler, Professor David Greenberg, Associate Professor Barbara Meyer, Associate Professor Mitch Byrne, Dr Sascha Callaghan and Dr Maggie Hall.

The evening will be chaired by Dr Allan McCay.

This is a free event but registration is essential. Please register here.
Decolonising Criminal Justice: Indigenous Perspectives on Social Harm
Date:24-25 November 2016
Location: University of Wollongong

The Forum on Indigenous Research Excellence (FIRE) invites staff, students and community members to attend its upcoming symposium: 'Decolonising Criminal Justice: Indigenous Perspectives on Social Harm'. Speakers include Biko Agozino, Moana Jackson, Virginia Marshall, Kanat Wano, Amand Porter, Chris Cunneen and Juan Tauri. Topics include Aboriginal justice practices, counter-colonial perspectives on justice, decolonising policing, mental health, and Indigenous criminology.

For further information, contact the convenor, Juan Tauri at juant@uow.edu.au or visit the organisation's website, where you can also register for the event.
2016 Tony Fitzgerald Lecture: The Decline of Human Rights in an Australian Democracy
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016, 6:00pm arrival and drinks for 7:00-8:00pm lecture
Location: State Library of Queensland, Stanley Place, South Brisbane 4101 

Griffith University's 2016 Fitzgerald Lecture will be presented by Professor Gillian Triggs, President of the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Professor Triggs will be presenting on 'The Decline of Human Rights in an Australian Democracy'. Proceeds from the ticket fees will go towards the Griffith University Tony Fitzgerald Scholarship Program which was established to contribute to our future democratic balance.

Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs is the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, with a five year appointment. She was Dean of the Faculty of Law and Challis Professor of International Law at the University of Sydney from 2007-12 and Director of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law from 2005-7. She is a former Barrister and a Governor of the College of Law.

Professor Triggs has combined an academic career with international commercial legal practice and has advised the Australian and other governments and international organisations on international legal and trade disputes. Her focus at the Commission is on the implementation in Australian law of the human rights treaties to which Australia is a party, and to work with nations in the Asia Pacific region on practical approaches to human rights.

Professor Triggs' is the author of many books and papers on international law, including International Law, Contemporary Principles and Practices (2nd Ed, 2011).

Tickets to the event cost $25 each and places can be booked here.
Smart Justice Symposium, Remaking Justice
Date: Thursday 25 August 2016, 10:30 am – 1 pm
Location: The Drill Hall, 26 Therry St, Melbourne  Vic

The Smart Justice Symposium, Remaking Justice, will bring together government, academic, legal and service sector leaders to explore opportunities for working together to ‘remake justice’ and improve the justice system in Victoria.

The Symposium will examine critical issues, including the recommendations in the Victorian Ombudsman’s landmark report, Investigation into the rehabilitation and reintegration of prisoners in Victoria and recent update.

The event will include keynote addresses from the Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass OBE and Rod Wise, Deputy Commissioner for Corrections Victoria. Those who attend will also hear from those with lived experience of prison and their reflections on systemic issues across the justice system. 

The symposium will also include an Expert Panel discussion and Q&A on how we can remake justice with: 

-Emeritus Professor Arie Freiberg, Monash University
-Heather Holst, Deputy CEO, Director of Services & Housing, Launch Housing
-David Moore PhD, President, Victorian Association for Restorative Justice and Principal Consultant at Primed Change Consulting
-Dr. Astrid Birgden, Consultant Forensic Psychologist, Just Forensic & Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor, Deakin University

Please click here to view the flyer and register. 
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Job Advertisements
Local Justice Worker - Melbourne, VIC
The primary purpose of the Local Justice Worker (LJW) role is to coordinate and implement the LJW Program in the local area.

The program aims to contribute to improved justice outcomes for Aboriginal offenders. This will be accomplished by achieving the following program objectives:
  • increasing the likelihood that Koori offenders sentenced to mandated Community Correction Orders (CCOs) successfully complete the orders
  • facilitating outcomes where Aboriginal offenders with outstanding fines meet their fine obligations
  • contributing to local efforts made by justice related agencies and business units to improve justice outcomes for Aboriginal offenders
  • provide community education regarding the justice systems, processes and obligations
  • enhance partnerships between government agencies and the Victorian Aboriginal community and
  • engage Respected Persons and Elders to provide cultural support to offenders.

For more information and to apply, please follow the link.

Victim Support Counsellor - Geraldton, WA
Chrysalis Support Services is the key leading agency in the Midwest with family and domestic violence and sexual assault. Chrysalis provides professional and confidential counselling, advocacy and support to empower individuals who are suffering the effects of family and domestic violence and recent or past sexual assault. Chrysalis House (Refuge) provides safe supported accommodation for women and children who are escaping family or domestic violence or are at risk of being homeless as a result of a crisis.

As a result of growth in services, Chrysalis Support Services now has an opportunity for a Counsellor to join their team in Geraldton, WA. Reporting to the Clinical Services Coordinator, the main aim of this position is to provide counselling and victim support to those affected by family and domestic violence.

To be successful, you will hold tertiary qualifications in Social Work, Psychology, Counselling, Behavioural/Social Sciences or a related discipline, or equivalent experience providing individual counselling and therapeutic support in the area of family and domestic violence. You will also need to be registered, or eligible for registration with a relevant professional body.

For more information and to apply, please follow the link.
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Worth a watch
Insight SBS - Fair Work, Fair Pay
When most people think of human trafficking or slavery, they might think of sex trafficking rather than exploitation in domestic work or businesses. However, last year, labour exploitation accounted for about a third of all human trafficking investigations conducted by the AFP. Also, complaints to the Fair Work Ombudsman from migrant workers have soared in recent years. Labour hire companies, which provide workers to some of Australia’s biggest companies, are among the biggest culprits when it comes to rorting foreign workers. In the last year, there have been three separate government inquiries into the industry.

When does exploitation become a criminal matter? Forced labour offences were only introduced in Australia in 2013, however have not yet been tested in the courts. Many workers aren’t fully aware of their employment rights and for most, speaking up about exploitation while on a temporary visa isn’t seen as an option.

But what happens when you do? Is anyone being held accountable? And are we all benefiting from these practices? 

Last week, Insight gathered a range of foreign workers, some now Australian citizens, who have experienced exploitation in many different industries. Also present in this forum-style discussion were legal staff, academics and representatives from anti-slavery organisations. The discussion was facilitated by Golden Walkley Award-winning journalist Jenny Brockie.

The episode can be watched in full on the SBS Insight website or on their official YouTube account.
Four Corners - Insult to Injury
Across Australia the number of police suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is growing, damaged by the extreme situations they're repeatedly exposed to. And untreated, they can be a danger not only to themselves but others.

But when they put their hand up for help, many of these police officers are being subjected to humiliating and harmful practices employed by insurers. Claims for compensation and psychiatric treatment are being met with scepticism, resistance and lengthy delays. And insurers are going to extraordinary lengths to avoid payouts.

Four Corners has spoken to police around the country who have been spied on, their privacy invaded on an astonishing scale, with both physical and electronic surveillance. For these police, the aggressive tactics exacerbate their mental illness, sometimes with awful consequences. And psychiatrists are calling on insurers to change their approach.

Insult to Injury, reported by Quentin McDermott and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 1st of August at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 2nd August at 10.00am and Wednesday 3rd at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.
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