keywords: Prisons

  • INTERNATIONAL

    A society that forgives wins

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 25 August 2016
    11 Comments

    Almost all public conversation quickly turns to transgressors. Olympic competitors growled about proven and suspect drug users. Many wanted people found to have used drugs shamed and shunned. This insistence that transgressors should definitively lose their good name and the right to participate is not confined to sport. If inflexibility and exclusion become the rule in dealing with aberrant speech or behaviour we find unacceptable, they will impose heavy burdens on individuals and society.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Don Dale abuse is a symptom of a sick justice culture

    • Julie Kimber
    • 27 July 2016
    13 Comments

    The 4 Corners report into the treatment of children in a NT juvenile justice facility is a stark and grotesque demonstration of state abuse of power. As a result John Elferink, NT Corrections Minister, has been sacked, and the Prime Minister has announced a royal commission into the actions at Don Dale. This is a good start, but there is much more to be done. We need to question a culture that willingly imprisons the most vulnerable, and puts up with a system where not all are equal before the law.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The bleeding obvious about homelessness

    • John Falzon
    • 30 March 2016
    11 Comments

    The Prime Minister wants us to be clever. Well how about we make sure everybody's got a place to call home? The problem of homelessness and the shortage of social and affordable housing is so huge that we need a massive solution and a massive financial commitment if we want to lay claim to being civilised and fair, let alone smart and innovative. This is why, among things such as reforms to negative gearing and capital gains tax, we need a $10 billion social and affordable housing fund.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Don't be disheartened by dismal Close the Gap reports

    • Myrna Tonkinson
    • 16 February 2016
    3 Comments

    Last week, Malcolm Turnbull presented the eighth annual Prime Minister's Report on the government's Close the Gap campaign. The Close the Gap Campaign steering committee also released its 2016 progress and priorities report. While the reports identify modest gains, overall the gaps remain wide the words 'target not met' recur throughout. The results are disheartening but should strengthen the resolve of all concerned to set realistic goals, with consultation at local levels.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Myanmar Mother Suu's moment in history

    • Amal Aung Zaw
    • 13 November 2015
    5 Comments

    The results resonate beyond the shores of Myanmar. The manner in which a fragile woman with the power of empty hands wrought a miracle, melting decades of totalitarian dominance, is the stuff of history. The world savours this moment as its own. This is the Gandhi moment, the Mandela moment of the 21st Century. In an era of ISIL killings and chronic violent wars in the middle east for 'democracy', a woman from the east has once again affirmed the moral superiority of non violence.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Before they were monsters they were us

    • Michael Walter
    • 11 November 2015
    10 Comments

    This photo is quite ordinary. It seems as though the men have just arrived somewhere, and have awkwardly posed for a camera. What is so haunting about this photo is the story of what these men would do. The man on the left is Pol Pot, leader of the Khmer Rouge. The man in the middle is Comrade Duch, the meticulous chief of Tuol Sleng Prison. In 50 years' time, what stories will be embedded in the ordinary photographs of today? What stories will be attached to ordinary photos of us?

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The amazing grace of Joan Baez

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 10 September 2015
    4 Comments

    Folk legend and renowned human rights activist Joan Baez's fire hasn't dimmed. Today she rages at the 'disgusting' state of race relations in America — 'police violence, mass arrests of people of colour, torture in prisons' — half a century on from the Selma civil rights marches, in which she took part. Yet amid these horrors, Baez still finds herself able to be moved by examples of 'amazing grace'.

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  • EDUCATION

    Neither blame nor thank the Jesuits for Abbott and co.

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 06 August 2015
    56 Comments

    It seems absurd to hold schools responsible for the way Shorten, Abbott, Joyce, Pyne and Hockey behave. Schools have influenced them in good and bad ways, but ultimately they are their own men. So we Jesuits have no call to apologise, nor to take pride. We are not responsible for them. But we are responsible to them, as we are responsible to all our alumni, even if they languish in public life or public prisons.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The spider web of disadvantage

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 23 July 2015
    9 Comments

    It's like being trapped. Dropping out of school will be magnified if your parents are unemployed and you have come under the juvenile justice system. If you live in particular areas you will find it difficult to overcome the effects of disadvantage. The report Dropping off the Edge 2015 stresses the importance of examining the interlocking of the aspects of disadvantage.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Australia's low road to the Security State

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 30 April 2015
    33 Comments

    Only extremists regard Muslims as enemies. But if a populist and incompetent government were to scapegoat them and declare them to be enemies, as was done to asylum seekers, it would be a short step to build on the laws already introduced with further discriminatory legislation. That in turn would lessen the protections under the law that other groups would enjoy. Of course, this could never happen in Australia. But that is what they once said in Germany, Chile and South Africa.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The wisdom of humane prison design

    • Mathew Drogemuller
    • 24 April 2015
    5 Comments

    The tougher the prison is, the tougher the prisoners will get, just to survive. Then, when they are released, all they know is crime and the only people they know are criminals with no money. But it doesn't have to be that way, as Norway's 'no bars' Halden facility demonstrates with its ensuites and flat screen TVs that mirror life 'on the outside' as far as possible.

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  • The questionable good that our public policy serves

    • Elenie Poulos
    • 02 April 2015
    4 Comments

    Humans have always pursued wealth and the power it affords, but only relatively recently has the world itself become organised around the service of that wealth. The systems and structures which define the way our world works are financial, geared to the making of profit. They are global and buoyed by governments whose domestic and foreign policies ensure their support. ‘Social good’ and the ‘common good’ are assumed to be economic neoliberalism, and what’s in the ‘public interest’ is whatever advances the neoliberal economic agenda.  

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